By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera
While construction of the US$820 million -worth Beira lakeside development project by John Keells Holdings’ (JKH) is on track, the group is hoping the controversy relating to casinos would be resolved as soon as possible, a company official said.
“We have started building the Waterfront project,” he told the Business Times, adding that they are talking to two international gaming operators to run the intended casino but progress has been stalled by unclear laws.
Last month, local casino operator Ravi Wijeratne said he was in discussions with JKH to use his licence while earlier it was reported that the conglomerate was discussing the use of businessman Dhammika Perera’s casino licence. Eventually when the casino takes off it would be a tripartite agreement between JKH, the local licence holder and the foreign casino operator.
JKH, the largest private land owner in Colombo with 25 acres of free-hold land at prime locations in the city and more than 120 acres (excluding existing hotel lands) outside Colombo, will focus on completing its Beira waterfront project this year and in 2015, the official said.
“We want to concentrate on our core business areas,” he said noting that the company won’t launch any new projects relating to property in the near term. Revenues from the apartment project, ‘7th Sense’ and part of the ‘OnThree20’ apartment sales will add to the bottomline of the company for this year. The former is due to be completed by April 2015 while the latter in March.