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RCGC Altair Open Championship 2019

from left to right –  RCGC Vice Capt Navin de Silva,Pradeep Moraes -Dir Indocean Developers, Winner Anura Rohana, 01st Runner-Up N. Thangaraja, 02nd Runner-Up Mithun Perera, RCGC Captain Shiran Fernando, Mumtaz Niyasdeen-Head of Business Development Indocean Developers, RCGC President Sanjiv Vairavanathan.

The RCGC Altair Open Championship was contested by 60 golfers from all over the Country with
M.Dharma from India, being the sole overseas entry from overseas.

It was the 03 rd consecutive year that Altair sponsored this prestigious tournament which was
resurrected in 2017 by them after 11 years.

Sri Lanka’s top 03 professional Golfers – Anura Rohana, Mithun Perera and N. Thangaraja
fought a hard battle to the end on tough windy conditional with Anura Rohana emerging as a
comfortable Winner beating Thangaraja to 02 nd place by 04 shots defending champion Mithun
Perera finished 03 rd .

This was the 8 th time that Anura Rohana has made a victory in the RCGC Open Championship.
25 Golfers made the cut and a total of 01 Million Rupees was distributed as gift money.

RCGC Altair Open Championship 2019 – Day 03

The RCGC Altair Open Championship 2019 is a 04 day play which commenced on 30 July and the aggregate scoring after 03 days of play today was led by Anura Rohana (207) whilst Mithun Perera  and N.Thangaraja were both a tie scoring (210).

Altair resurrected this event with RCGC one of only two open golf tournaments conducted in Sri Lanka after 11 years in 2017 and has been the event’s Principal Sponsor for the third consecutive year.

Anura Rohana

 

N.Thangaraja

 

Mithun Perera

 

Altair development progress – August 2019

 

Here’s a glimpse of the progress of Altair from August 2019. As Altair nears completion,  Individual apartments are taking shape.  We are building Sri Lanka’s most sought after condominiums.

 

 

“Altair will define Colombo’s skyline”: Shapoorji Pallonji CEO

“Cities must have iconic buildings and structures; this is key to a city’s uniqueness and character,” says Mohandas Saini, Managing Director and CEO of Shapoorji Pallonji International. Akin to how Manhattan is defined by the Empire State Building, Kuala Lumpur by the Petronas Towers and Dubai by the Burj Khalifa. Saini made these remarks on one of his periodic visits to Colombo to review Altair’s progress, scheduled to complete in end-2019.

S & P CEO Mohandas Saini

Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd., regarded as one of India’s most valuable private companies with a legacy spanning over 150 years, is no stranger to such iconic construction projects. The company was the main contractor of the tallest residential development in India, the 60-story ‘Imperial Towers’ in Toledo Mumbai, completed in 2010. Other iconic projects by global construction giant include the palace of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said of Oman, Park Towers Dubai, Taj International Hotel Mumbai and the Hilton Riyadh.

Altair, adjudged the best condo in Asia for architectural design at the 2018 Asia Property Awards, was designed by Moshe Safdie, a pre-eminent architect of our time. Safdie’s works can be found across the globe and have become revered regional and national landmarks, including Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City; United States Institute of Peace Headquarters, Washington DC; and Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, Singapore.

The unique design of Altair incorporates a 63-story inclined tower connected to the 69-story vertical tower via a strong outrigger at the 39th level. At the height of 240m, the vertical tower is now the tallest residential building in Sri Lanka

The inclined tower utilises structural steel diagonal grids on the exterior of the building giving a permeable surface for expansive floor to ceiling windows as well as acting as a load bearing membrane, minimising the use of interior columns. According to Mohandas Saini, these unique design features led to a particularly complex project from a construction standpoint due to the high degree of precision work required to maintain uniformity that cannot be achieved through traditional fast-tracked methodologies that are commonplace now in high-rise construction in Sri Lanka. Despite the challenges, the superstructure construction work was carried out at a commendable speed with ‘one floor added almost every week’, notes the CEO.

Commenting on the outcome of the superstructure works Saini remarks, “The entire weight distribution was so well engineered, and the workmanship is of such good quality that the level of deviation from original specifications were substantially lower than allowable structural engineering tolerances.”

Structural engineers to this project have been Dubai based Predag Eror of Derby Design, and well known Sri Lankan structural engineer, Deepal Wickremesinghe. Structural elements of the building were independently verified by the University of Moratuwa.

The CEO also says that Shapoorji Pallonji has earned their global reputation not only for their expertise in construction, but for their enduring commitment for the projects they undertake. “We believe in long-term value-added relationships with all stakeholders, often investing our own money in projects we undertake, as we have done so in Altair.” The main shareholder of this $ 250 million project is Kolkata based South City Group, a consortium of firms which has collectively delivered over 150 real estate projects consisting of more than 15 million square feet.

Along with Altair, Shapoorji Pallonji is involved in four other projects in Sri Lanka, including an office building and a water supply project. The CEO remarked that his company is considering engaging in a public-private partnership with the Government with regards to another key project and are open for further investment opportunities in the country.

Speaking of his experience of working in Sri Lanka, Saini says that local engineers have excellent skills and expertise. However, the company had to resort to employing a large foreign workforce due to the shortage of skilled labourers and specialised technicians in the domestic market.

Taken from Daily FT

Altair at Night (April 2019)

 

While the painting of the Altair structure continues the fixation of glass windows also continues while the 63rd floor infinity pool and the sky garden are taking shape.

Click to enlarge

Development Progress – April 2019

 

While the painting of the Altair structure continues the fixation of glass windows also continues while the 63rd floor infinity pool and the sky garden are taking shape.

Altair Sponsors Quintessentially Ceylon’s Supercar Sundowner

 

 

 

Condominium Developers Association makes the case against the newly Imposed VAT

 

– Association says ongoing projects should be exempt from VAT

– Welcomes 30% reduction of Cess but benefit marginal for projects nearing completion

The Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka (CDASL) is lobbying for ongoing projects to be granted an exemption from the newly introduced output Value Added Tax (VAT) on apartment sales.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, CDASL Chairman Pradeep Moraes stated that many of the ongoing big projects in the country have neared the completion of construction work and imposing VAT on these apartments is unreasonable.

“Projects for which permits have been obtained already and work is ongoing should be exempt from output VAT as all their contracts and pricing has been based on previously existing tariffs. Each development will be affected in different degrees depending on how much they have spent on the project and how much inventory is left.”

Under the Budget 2019, 15% VAT has been imposed on apartment sales with effect from 1 April 2019.

“All the agreements that have been signed will continue to be exempt from output VAT. We have contracted with the clients also on the basis of certain conditions.”

Speaking further, he stated that providing a 30% cess reduction on imported construction material is most welcome but this would be of marginal benefit for developers who are nearing completion.

“Altair has spent more than 85% of the total project cost and there is 30% inventory to be sold. Therefore there is a disproportionate percentage of VAT that cannot be claimed and many other developers are in the same predicament,” said Moraes, who is also Director of Altair.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, Sector Head of the Property Group at John Keells Holdings Nayana Mawilmada stated that even Cinnamon Life has completed most of its structural work and would therefore not benefit significantly from the cess reduction. 93% of construction work at Cinnamon Life has been completed while as at early March, 64% of its apartments were sold.

In another measure to offset the negative impact of the VAT impositions, the Budget 2019 also proposed the granting of residential visas for three years to foreign nationals who invest Rs. 70 million or more in condominiums. This process will be implemented this year. However, this residential visa will not be valid when the foreigner exits from this investment.

As appeared on The Sunday Morning

 

Altair reaffirms potential of Sri Lanka’s real estate sector at investor forum in Maldives

 

The growth of tourism and Sri Lanka’s probable emergence as the main commercial and financial centre between Singapore and Dubai with the rise of the Colombo Port City, augur well for the country’s condominium market, a business leader in the sector said recently.

Altair Director Pradeep Moraes told a Real Estate Investor Forum in the Maldives that in locations such as Phuket, where tourism is not solely resort-driven, it is an accepted fact that increased tourism is strongly linked to real estate development and the same applies to Sri Lanka.

Investment in real estate is also far less fickle and volatile than investments in other instruments such as stocks and bonds, and this was amply demonstrated when Sri Lanka experienced political instability a few months ago which led to a substantial flight of foreign capital invested in stocks and bonds but no known or seen impact on real estate holdings, Mr Moraes said, disclosing that this fact has been articulated to policymakers as a justification for greater support to the industry.

The Real Estate Investor Forum was hosted by Research Intelligence Unit (RIU) and had as its Chief Guest the Minister of Infrastructure of the Maldives, Hon. Mohamed Aslam. This was the second forum in the Maldives within the past three months at which Altair was a participant, following its presence at Maldives Living Expo 2019, which it supported both as an exhibitor and a co-sponsor.

Mr Moraes reiterated that Sri Lanka’s real estate sector has a demonstrated potential of generating over US $ 750 million per annum in foreign direct investment, and that condominium growth in particular is fuelled merely by aspirational lifestyle or upward mobility but by the very basic fundamental of need.

“Land banks are fast diminishing and high-rise condominiums can deliver 20 times more efficiency than conventional housing,” he said, pointing out that economies of scale render apartments more affordable than smaller-sized conventional dwellings, and the plethora of approvals required for construction can often lead to protracted delays in building individual houses.

Another factor in support of condominiums is that Colombo does not have the luxury of an urban spread as the already overloaded road network doesn’t allow for extended commutes, and even the proposed Light Rail would probably only play catch up, Mr Moraes said.

Sri Lanka’s most distinctive and instantly recognised high-rise, and already 70 per cent sold, Altair is a one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience. The building designed by celebrity architect Moshe Safdie comprises of two tower blocks, a 63-storey sloping tower which leans in to a taller, 68-storey vertical tower. Acknowledged as a new paradigm in contemporary living in Sri Lanka, the Altair building has already brought a new dimension in aesthetics to Colombo’s skyline and offers its 400 apartments spectacular views of the Beira Lake, the Indian Ocean and the city of Colombo.

Photo caption – (Left) Altair Director Pradeep Moraes addressing the RIU Real Estate Investor Forum in the Maldives, and the Altair team at the event.

Taken from Ada Derana Biz

 

Chairman of the Condominium Developers Association refutes inaccurate media article under Right of Reply

Mr Pradeep Moraes in his capacity as the Chairman of the condominium developers association of Sri Lanka has issued a statement refuting the damaging Sunday Times article under Right of Reply.  The letter in full is produced below.

21st February 2019
Mr. Feizal Samath
Editor- Sunday BusinessTimes
Wijeya Newspapers
#8, Hunupitiya Road
Colombo -02

Dear Sir

We are compelled to request for the traditional right of reply to an article published in your newspaper last week which is malignant, misinformed and overwhelmingly incorrect and kindly request you to afford our reply equal prominence and positioning. We would also kindly request you to publish this rebuttal in its’ entirety.

This article quotes or misquotes (as the case may be) a gentlemen named as Mr. Ravi Abeysuriya said to be the Group Director of a Group called Candor.

We were shocked, angered and dismayed on reading through this article which was titled “Uncertainty in Sri Lankan Property Market” at the gross untruths, irrelevancies, insinuations and innuendoes which comprised almost the entire body of quotes attributed to him and rendered the article false, misleading and malicious in almost its entirety.

The tone of the article seems to seek to cause damage and wreak destruction on the Real Estate Industry.

The motives behind this unsubstantiated and untrue tirade we are unable to understand nor is it our business to try.

It may be an individual’s or company’s misguided belief, real or imagined grouse or vendetta. It could also be the belief that damaging one industry is the best means of propping up another or a case of complete ignorance combined with the presumption of knowledge.

It could also that Mr. Abeysuriya has been roundly misquoted in which case he joins all Real Estate stakeholders as being common victims of this article, and shares our empathy in the damage to reputation.

Let us do an elementary Fact Check.

  1. “Property Developers finding it difficult to pay back Loans”  – maybe true in a few instances, however this is made as a sweeping statement indicating that ALL Developers are in this predicament which is grossly untrue. Several of the larger developers are promoted by hugely rich international consortia, and many of the local developers lead the private sector in strength, broad base and profitability.

Also the statement implies that other trades / industries are free from any payback difficulties.

  1. “Most of the construction projects are on hold” – So hugely exaggerated as to be deemed “FALSE.” To our knowledge there is just one project of any significance to be temporarily stalled, not even coming close to damaging an industry average.
  2. “Enough and more property developers have gone bankrupt – again overwhelmingly untrue.
  3. “Real Estate market had 100% return and is gradually decreasing.” – This is an untruth of a different make up and is wonderfully vague, 100% in how long? It never had a 100% return in a year – perhaps across the board 100% in 5 years on a modest assessment of 15% year-on-year which has been evidenced and proven with some properties doing much better.

Conversely if the 100% referred to is over a shorter period and the rate is “gradually decreasing” then the sector is still doing wonderfully well and where is the problem?

  1. ” Rental income is coming down” – Yes and No. KPMG in their much lauded Report on “Paradise Island Luxury Living in the Tropics” published last year showed rental returns on condominia as between 5% to 9%, This remains broadly unchanged across the sector, and one must remember that this is in addition to capital gains which have been referred to above and which in combination yields (and have proven to yield) more than most other investments.
  2. Mr. Abeysuriya is quoted as saying that “there is a bubble in the market” and later saying “not yet in Sri Lanka” – so no real need to comment on this.
  3. “Close to 90% of 65% of sold apartments are bought by expatriate Sri Lankans” – this is completely false. Luxury apartments show 25% to 30% purchases by expat Sri Lankans, and the figures for mid-range and lower range apartments are much less.

This type of colossal inexactitude would be hilarious if not relating to such a serious subject.

Anyone disbelieving our outright rejection of this colossal untruth can cite right to information and check the statistics at the Land Registry.

  1. ” Sri Lanka is not able to attract foreign investment” – Again false, Sri Lanka attracted its highest ever FDIs in 2017, and figures in 2018 are expected to be close if not better.
  2. “15% VAT is a poor strategy to the Sri Lankan Property Market” – At last we are able to agree with Mr. Abeysuriya, and thank you Sir for providing us with this platform.

We respectfully submit to the Government and it advisors that a re-imposition of output VAT on apartment sales will not serve its intended purpose i.e increased tax revenue. It will shrink the sector to a size that yields far far less taxes than if allowed to grow to its natural, organic potential.

The industry has suffered over the last one and a half years or thereabouts as a result of ill-advised and perhaps irresponsible, and certainly baseless conjecture, surmise and speculation about its viability expressed by certain Govt., Public Service and Bank officials – again either quoted or misquoted within or without context.

This unfortunately fueled the typical Sri Lankan negativity and rumour mongering that sadly affected the momentum of the Real Estate Industry which was vibrant at the time.

The litmus test that the industry has passed though, the gauntlet that it has successfully run, is that despite the recriminations, and despite the prophets of doom, real estate in Sri Lanka has not succumbed to fear mongering.

The fundamentals of Sri Lanka condominia are extremely robust, and it has the demonstrated and proven capacity to (in very modest terms) generate at least $ 750 M / year in FDIs if even mildly supported to so do.

  1. The article goes on to state that there is no “independent data on the actual sales of luxury apartments ” – this is not only false but is an indictment on respected entities such as the Central Bank, KPMG ,Jones Lang Lassale and RIU ( Research Intelligence Unit) which have researched and distributed studies on the subject.
  2. “The data obtained by the Central Bank is based on the Land Index survey” – Again False. The Central Bank engages with our Association and its stakeholders in obtaining a report on activity on a quarterly basis, and I might add is very diligent and rigorous in ensuring that feedback is timely.
  3. “Buyers tend to pay full amount at once ” – False, most apartments commence selling from the time of the drawing board and obtaining  of preliminary approvals,  and payments in almost all instances are progress milestone based.
  4. ” Any approvals can be got by bribing officials at Govt. Institutions related to Land and Property” – we are not qualified to comment on experiences that Mr. Abeysuriya or the company he represents may have had (in fact we would be very interested to know whether they are in any  way connected with the Property sector, commenting with authority as they are), but we roundly condemn this statement as being an unfair, unjust and unwarranted vilification of  hundreds of Govt. Officials who discharge their duties without fear, favour or inducement.
  5. “Even if an Apartment complex starts building next door you have no say” – True, but that is the cost of reality, of development. Do we need to re-examine zoning laws, perhaps yes. But we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater and say no to condominia, which is the only way out for Colombo (especially) to continue growing.

Overall we believe that it is way overdue for us to get together, within industries, and across industries, and promote Sri Lanka as a holistically appealing and viable commercial entity, because our equitable share of an expanded cake will be far bigger and far more wholesome than a slice we fight for at the cost of another.        

Regards,
Pradeep Moraes
Chairman
Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka