Image of the
abandoned Ceylinco Celestial Residencies under construction Hyatt via Skyscraper City
The Sunday Times was full of stories about government business dodginess. The most disturbing was a story about the new Hyatt. “Construction on the Government-backed Hyatt Regency Hotel project was officially launched on Thursday with much fanfare, amidst allegations that the former Ceylinco property had been sold for a song – Rs 4.2 billion against an official valuation of Rs 9.2 billion and a pending offer of Rs 7.8 billion!” (Sunday Times).
For some backstory, this ‘new’ Hyatt is actually the old Ceylinco Celestial Residencies, that forever under construction building on Galle Road. When that company collapsed people who’d pre-ordered apartments were left in the lurch and the government took the land under the highly controversial Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act. That act allowed them to take over private property under some sorta vague conditions. The government has historically publicized [sic] a variety of companies and assets and it seemed obvious that this act would include the failed Ceylinco tower.
This was all done dubiously, but some of the stuff really was rotting and if the government can make things better, so be it. But what intrepid reporter Bandula Sirimanna has found is dubious in the execution.
In the Supreme Court on the same day (Thursday) it was disclosed that a sale offer of US$ 60 million (Rs 7.8 billion) had been received for this property and that this amount was sufficient to repay depositors of the failed Ceylinco Shriram which owned the property.
Despite this offer on the table, the land was sold for around 50% less. So I’m not even sure if the depositors even get paid out properly. Perhaps there’s reasons, but it doesn’t look right at all. You may remember Sirimanna from his breaking of the dubious hotel across from Galle Face Green story. In that case there was a public outcry and the deal got reshuffled. In this case the deal has already gone through. But it don’t look right.