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
#8, Hunupitiya Road
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.
Also the statement implies that other trades / industries are free from any payback difficulties.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s contemporary architectural masterpiece Altair has beaten condominium developments in 15 countries in Asia including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Australia, to win the ‘Best Condo Architectural Design Award’at the 2018 Asia Real Estate Summit (ARES) hosted by PropertyGuru Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.
The only Sri Lankan high-rise ever to be adjudged the best in Asia, Altair was honoured at PropertyGuru’s ‘Best of the Best’ awards, at which individual winners selected at country award events throughout the year, were contenders.
Markets from Sri Lanka to China competed at the largest Grand Final event to date of the 13 year old Asia Property Awards, attended by more than 500 guests, with developers from Japan and Australia making their debut at the ceremony. The countries that competed for awards were Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Australia, Japan, Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia.
“We are justifiably elated at winning this award, which is a tribute to the architectural genius of Moshe Safdie and the vision and courage of the promoters of the project, who had confidence, not only in their ability to build Altair, but also in the market’s potential to do justice to such a remarkable edifice,” Mr Moraes commented. “The word icon is sadly overused today, but by winning this award we have emphatically shown why Altair richly deserves that adjective.’
Among the condominium developments that competed for the ‘BestCondo Architectural Desing in Asia award were ‘8St Thomas’by Bukit Sembawang Estates Limited, Singapore; ‘Alpha City’ by Alpha King, Vietnam; ‘Glorious Mansion’ by Long For Group Holdings Limited, China; ‘Mount Pavilia’ by New World Development Company Limited, Hong Kong; ‘Scenia.Bay’ by Nam Tien Lao Cai Jsc. Co,, Vietnam; ‘Sunplay The Heights Bangsaray’ by Sunplay Asia Limited, Thailand; ‘stirling Residences’ by LN Development (Stirling) Pte Ltd., Singapore; ‘Taman Anggrek Residences’by Agung Sedayu Group, lndonesia; ‘TheCUVEE’by Chaopraya Mahanakorn Public Company Limited, Thailand; ‘The Smith’ by Triniti Land, Indonesia and The Vales’by Anchorvale Residences Pte Ltd., Singapore.
Speaking at the awards event, Terry Blackburn, Managing Director, Asia Property Awards and Property Report of Property Guru noted that “Today, Asia has the fastest growing economies and most exciting real estate markets in the world, and the majority of award winners are Asian developers selling to Asian buyers and are helping millions achieve the dream of home ownership.” He also expressed the hope that the years the Asia Property Awards have spent promoting Sustainable Development, Green Buildings and Corporate Social Responsibility, have in some small way, contributed to the conversation on what the best Asia should look like in the future.
The region’s biggest and most prestigious real estate awards series, the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards are recognised as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence in the Asian property sector. Headquartered in Singapore, the PropertyGuru Group is Asia’s foremost online property company and has been voted ‘Asia’s Most lnfluential Brand for Online Property Search’by consumers. PropertyGuru helps over 16 million people find their dream home every month.
At the 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards in Colombo, a precursor to the Grand Finale in Bangkok, Altair took the major honours winning the Overall Award for ‘Best Condominium Development’and the awards for ‘Best Luxury Condo Development (Colombo)’and ‘Best Luxury Condo Architectural Design (Colombo)’while its only Sri Lankan Director Mr Pradeep Moraes was named ‘Real Estate Personality of the Year.’
Sri Lanka’s most distinctive and instantly recognised high-rise, Altair is a one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience. With structural construction completed and 70 per cent of its apartments sold, Altair is scheduled to commence the handing over of apartments to buyers in March 2019.
The building 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. The development’s 1.5 million square feet of high-end eco-friendly living space is supported by 40,000 square feet of up-market retail space.
August 2, 2018
Altair was awarded four prestigious awards at the recently concluded Asia Property awards (Sri Lanka) by Property Guru. The awards include ‘Best Luxury Condo Development (Colombo)’, ‘Best Luxury Condo Architectural Design’, ‘Best Condo Development (Sri Lanka)’. And Pradeep Moraes, Director, Indocean Developers of Altair was also awarded for the first time ever ‘Sri Lanka Real Estate Personality of the Year’.
July 10, 2018
The PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Sri Lanka) competition, which is being held for the very first time in Colombo on 12 July 2018, has chosen its first-ever Sri Lanka Real Estate Personality of the Year.
Pradeep Moraes, director at Indocean Developers – the company behind the twin tower Altair, designed by celebrated architect Moshe Safdie – has been selected to receive the prestigious honour by the editors of PropertyGuru Property Report magazine.
“We are recognising Pradeep Moraes’s contributions to raise standards in the local real estate sector as well as his work as chairman of the Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka,” the magazine said.
The career of Moraes spans more than four decades and covers a wide range of industries, including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), aviation, advertising, automobiles, industrial marketing, communications and broadcasting, security, and property development.
After 10 years heading the sales and marketing division of John Keells Development, Moraes joined Indocean Developers (Pvt) Ltd as president of sales and marketing in 2013 and was appointed to the board as its sole Sri Lankan director two years later.
One of the biggest and most ambitious projects of his career is Altair, which has been conceptualised to be one of the tallest residential towers in Sri Lanka. The project is up for Best Luxury Condo Development (Colombo) and Best Luxury Condo Architectural Design at the 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Sri Lanka) competition.
Bringing Colombo to the forefront of global architectural excellence
“Euphoric is the best description of how I feel at being chosen as the first Sri Lankan to be bestowed with this award, more so in light of the exalted company of previous winners from the region,” Moraes said of his selection.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the promoters of Altair for giving me the opportunity and the exposure, and for bringing Colombo to the forefront of global architectural excellence with the iconic edifice that is Altair.”
Moraes believes that Sri Lankan real estate has witnessed “vibrant and sustainable growth,” propelled by consistent capital appreciation and rental yields, changing lifestyles of consumers, and confidence shown by foreign investors.
“I would go a step further and also dedicate my award to all the foreign developers, who, with their investments, declared and demonstrated their faith in Sri Lanka’s real estate industry,” he said.
Among elite company
The award puts Pradeep Moraes among the top leaders of the global real estate industry.
Previous winners of this elite award for the Asia Pacific region include former Philippine senate president Manny Villar of Vista Land Group, Thailand’s richest woman Supaluck Umpujh of The Mall Group, American-born Thai magnate William “Bill” E. Heinecke of Minor Hotels, British-Asian billionaire Gulu Lalvani, formerly of Royal Phuket Marina, Indonesian tycoon Candra Ciputra of PT Ciputra Development Tbk, Malaysian entrepreneur Dato’ Seri Abd Wahab Maskan of Sime Darby Property, Myanmar’s top businessman Serge Pun of SPA Group of Companies, Cambodian tycoon Rithy Sear of Worldbridge Cambodia, and Hong Kong’s Dr Allan Zeman, father of Lan Kwai Fong.
Using CSR to promote interracial and inter-religious amity
In addition to Moraes’s work at Altair, he has also pushed to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the country.
Among Altair’s ongoing CSR projects include supporting Gangarama Temple initiatives and providing daily meals for the last four years now to 150 religious inmates and staff of the Little Sisters of the Poor (a home for the aged run by Catholic nuns catering to inmates of any religion). Altair also spearheaded the erection of a Hindu shrine in the heart of Colombo, on land belonging to a Buddhist temple, for interracial and inter-religious amity.
The Sri Lanka Real Estate Personality of the Year award will be presented by PropertyGuru’s chief operating officer Jeremy Williams during an exclusive, black-tie gala dinner on 12 July 2018 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo ballroom. Sri Lanka’s Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka has been confirmed to deliver the keynote address.
More than a dozen companies have been shortlisted for the industry’s highest honours to celebrate excellence in the vibrant Sri Lankan real estate sector. Around 300 guests and select members of the press are attending the historic ceremony.
January 16, 2018
Altair, Colombo’s most distinctive luxury living marque, was the sponsor of the 146th Annual General Meeting and gala dinner of the Colombo Club, one of the oldest and most exclusive social clubs in Asia.
As part of its support to this elegant event, Altair sponsored two Business Class return tickets to Singapore and several other prizes presented to the winners of a raffle draw for members of the club. This was the second consecutive year that Altair was associated with this prestigious organisation as the sponsor of its AGM.
Taken from dailymirror.lk
December 12, 2017
Altair, the 68-storey luxury residential apartment complex which fronts the Beira Lake in Colombo, recently celebrated its ‘topping out’ to mark the completion of structural work, an important milestone.
Going back to ancient times, the topping out ceremony marks the placement of the last structural steel beam at the final roof height. This important moment also celebrates the accomplishment of the structural construction crews and the transition to interior construction.
“We are now focussed on the façades and the interiors,” said Architect Charu Kokate, Principal at Safdie Architects, which is overseeing the project. Designed by acclaimed international architect Moshe Safdie, Altair is composed of two slender tower blocks which are oriented to the movement of the sun to harness the tropical breezes. The units offer 270-degree breath-taking views of the Beira Lake and the Indian Ocean.
“It is very exciting to see the completed building form tapering elegantly towards the sky. The diagrid structure visually accentuates the slope of the inclined stepped tower. The unique combination of a straight and a sloping stepped tower gives the building a very distinctive appearance and has become a landmark for locals and tourists,” says Kokate, who visits the site regularly to ensure that Moshe Safdie’s design vision is fulfilled in all aspects.
“The diagrid structure is highly rationalised and allows for naturally ventilated and beautifully lit units. The units are very private and with their special entrances are like little houses in the sky,” Kokate explained.
The staggered stepped form of the leaning tower allows for large terraces, which provide prime city and direct ocean views.
At the ground level, an arcade of retail outlets on the west side facing the Beira Lake sets the standard for future lakefront development along the planned pedestrian promenade. Restaurants on a mezzanine level overlook the promenade onto the Lake.
Altair Director Pradeep Sureka said a generous allocation of space for public areas, a feature of high-end buildings, is even more evident in this building. Of Altair’s 1.5 million square feet of space, 828,000 square feet or 55% is residential space. Of the balance, 36,000 square feet is allocated for retail while 636,000 square feet, or 42.5% is public space.
“With the focus moving to the completion of these interior spaces, Altair’s promise of redefining luxury high-rise living in Sri Lanka will soon take physical shape,” Sureka said. He added that Altair has already pleasantly surprised apartment buyers with numerous value additions including Italian Botticino marble flooring, extensive home automation, chilled water air conditioning, double-glazed windows, Duravit sanitary ware from the Philippe Starck designer range, a concierge-serviced reception,central-hot water and state-of-the-art high-speed fibre connectivity solutions.
A one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience, Altair offers its 400 apartments spectacular views of the Beira Lake, the Indian Ocean and the city of Colombo. The building is scheduled for completion in July 2018 and is already 70% sold.
July 28, 2016
Indocean Developers, the promoter of the Altair twin tower high rise, has announced the appointment effective July 15, of Jay Dias as Head of Sales and Marketing.
Dias was till recently Head of Sales for City Hotels at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and was previously the Director Sales and Marketing at the John Keells Subsidiary Asian Hotels & Properties PLC (Cinnamon Grand Colombo).
Announcing the appointment, Indocean Developers Director Jaideep Halwasiya said it signifies the company’s long-term commitment to Sri Lanka and its interest in further investments beyond Altair.
“Jay has developed an impressive contact base in the high net worth segment, has interacted extensively with individuals in this segment and understands the high-end property market,” Indocean Developers Director Pradeep Moraes said. “While significantly strengthening our sales and Marketing team, his presence will enhance our capacity to explore new opportunities in Sri Lanka.”
Educated at Royal College, Colombo and the holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of London, Jay Dias has also acquired professional training in Change Management from Harvard Business Publishing and in Conceptual Selling and Strategic Selling from Miller Heiman.
At John Keells, he led sales and marketing activities for the Group’s city sector properties Cinnamon Grand, Cinnamon Lakeside and Cinnamon Red, and was a member of John Keells’ General Management Committee where all strategic decisions are made with regard to the Group’s Leisure sector.
Prior to John Keells, Dias was attached to the apparel sector with Avery Dennison (A fortune 500 Company) in the capacity of Global Account Manager.
“Altair is by far the most exciting and game-changing property development in Sri Lanka today, and I am delighted to be part of it,” Dias said. “It represents a defining benchmark in luxury high rise living not just for Sri Lanka, but for the South Asian region, and is a dream product to market and sell.”
Designed to be a new echelon in contemporary living in Sri Lanka, Altair will also bring a new dimension in aesthetics to Colombo’s skyline. It is intended to be a one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience.
Indocean Developers is a venture of the six conglomerates that make up the South City Group, which brings together over 150 years of cumulative development experience. The constituent partners of the Group have completed 50 million square feet of real estate development and currently have another 20 million square feet of space under construction.
Extracted from Daily NewsOctober 30, 2015
Extracted from The Daily Mirror
Indocean Developers, the promoter of Sri Lanka’s architecturally-unique twin-tower high rise development Altair, has reported significant buyer interest in Japan, following the company’s participation as the sole real estate sector entity at the recent Sri Lanka Business Forum in Tokyo.
One of just a handful of Sri Lanka based companies to make presentations to a representative audience of more than 300 Japanese investors at this forum also attended by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Indocean Developers highlighted the investment potential and tax benefits of the luxury apartments the project offers. “The response from Japanese investors who already have investments in Sri Lanka, as well as investors who are assessing the country’s potential has been extremely encouraging,” said Pradeep Moraes, Director of Indocean Developers.
“The enquiries we are receiving reaffirm our belief that the property development sector could be influential in the country’s efforts to attract FDI.”
He said the current high rental yields of 8 – 10 percent, capital gains of over 15 per cent recorded in the luxury apartment sector, the fact that capital gains on resale of apartments are tax free for foreign nationals, and the opportunity to be part of an iconic structure that will forever alter the Colombo skyline, were among the key elements attracting Japanese interest in Altair.
Foreign nationals are permitted to purchase apartments above the fourth floor and have no capital gains tax on the sale of property. Capital and capital gains can be freely repatriated. Income tax is only payable on rent at the maximum effective rate of 18 percent depending on the total income in Sri Lanka.
Projected to be a benchmark for contemporary living in Sri Lanka, Altair, designed by the architectural genius Moshe Safdie, will bring a new dimension in aesthetics to Colombo’s skyline. It is intended to be a one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience. Comprising of two tower blocks, one of 63 storeys which leans in to a taller, 68-storey tower, Altair will offer its 400 apartments spectacular views of the Beira Lake, the Indian Ocean and the city of Colombo. The development’s 1.5 million square feet of high-end eco-friendly living space will be supported by 40,000 square feet of supportive up-market retail space. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Indocean Developers is a joint venture of the six conglomerates that makes up the South City Group, which brings together over 150 years of cumulative development experience. One partner alone has a market capitalisation is excess of US$ 5 billion, and the constituent partners of the Group have completed 50 million square feet of real estate development and currently have another 20 million square feet of space under construction.January 23, 2015
Altair, Sri Lanka’s trend-defining luxury residential development, has announced an exclusive partnership with Quintessentially Lifestyle, the global private members club and concierge service, to offer an onsite concierge service that will provide its residents with access to services and benefits around the world.
Owners of the residential properties in Sri Lanka will have access to the services of a dedicated Quintessentially Lifestyle concierge desk located on site – a first in Sri Lanka.
From finding a suitable car service, reservation at an acclaimed restaurant, accessing tickets to world class shows and events; to arranging children’s birthday parties and gifts, to helping create the ultimate proposal or once in a lifetime honeymoon; Quintessentially Lifestyle will be on hand to help, however extraordinary or ordinary the request may be.
Since its inception in Soho, London in 2000, Quintessentially Lifestyle has been providing Members with award-winning concierge services. From giving specialist advice and exclusive benefits to unparalleled access to the world’s most exclusive, and elusive, luxury brands; Quintessentially Lifestyle continues to redefine the luxury lifestyle, by consistently improving its service offering and raising the bar for the luxury industry.
The global concierge service unique to Quintessentially Lifestyle will be available to residents of Altair to enrich their travel and lifestyle experiences with the expertise of the company’s team of 1,500 concierge experts speaking over 25 languages around the world.
“From concept stage onwards, Altair has distinguished itself as a benchmark for luxury living, rather than a generic high rise condominium,” said Pradeep Moraes, Director of Indocean Developers. “Our exclusive partnership with Quintessentially Lifestyle is an additional facet to Altair’s special brand of luxury living and serves as yet another example of Indocean’s determination to continuously exceed customer expectations.”
“The inclusion of an exclusive and accomplished Concierge Service will further enhance the appeal that Altair holds out to international buyers, which is a part of the message we will take to our audiences in Singapore and Dubai through roadshows scheduled for February,” he added.
Niro Cooke, Director Quintessentially Lifestyle, said: “Altair is the very first real estate developer in Sri Lanka to adopt world class services such as Quintessentially Lifestyle in to its product offering. It is an extremely positive sign for the real estate industry, and we look forward to working with Altair over the coming years. Ultimately, our relationships are about time and access, that is what partnering with us means. Residents of Altair will have access to the core of Quintessentially Group’s specialists who work tirelessly to source ideas and offer local ‘insider’ recommendations for where to travel, what to eat, buy, and do around the world. Our Lifestyle Managers arrange it all.”
In a description of Quintessentially Lifestyle, the New York Times has stated that “The company that transformed the idea of concierge services into ‘lifestyle management’ is Quintessentially Lifestyle.”
Altair is intended to be a one-of-its-kind development in South Asia in terms of architectural design, structural engineering, and living experience. It is projected to be a game changer in contemporary living that will bring a new dimension in aesthetics to Colombo’s skyline.
Comprising of two tower blocks, one of 63 storeys which leans in to a taller, 68-storey tower, located at Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Colombo 2 (the former Colombo Commercial Co. property), Altair will offer its 400 apartments spectacular views of the Beira Lake, the Indian Ocean and the city of Colombo.
Designed by the globally-recognised celebrity architect Moshe Safdie, the development’s 1.5 million square feet of high-end eco-friendly living space, will be supported by 40,000 square feet of supportive up-market retail space. The building is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Altair developer Indocean is a joint venture of the six conglomerates that make up the South City Group, which brings together over 150 years of cumulative development experience. One company in the Group alone has a market capitalisation of over $ 3 billion. The constituent partners of the Group have completed 50 million square feet of real estate development and currently have another 20 million square feet of space under construction.