Emerging from its former image of a highly congested area with large underserved communities, Colombo 10 is currently in the process of enjoying a complete transformation that is starting to have a significant impact on its real estate market. Taking into account the developments in and around the area, it’s only a matter of time before we witness land prices taking off in this commercial hub of Colombo.
Colombo 10 is located at the heart of Colombo, in close proximity to the upcoming Lotus Tower and many heritage buildings including the Elphinstone Theatre, Maradana Technical College, Tower Hall and Maradana railway station. It’s also within close proximity to the Beira Lake.
Currently, the area of Colombo 10, made up of Maradana and Panchikawatte, is surrounded by a scattering of small dwellings and low-rise buildings.
However, new developments in this locality make Colombo 10 an exciting prospect in terms of an emerging residential and commercial area in Colombo. The future development of the Central Cinema Land area along with the forthcoming Lotus Tower, Trace Expert City and Galle Face Development is set to increase the economic value of Colombo 10 significantly.
Social and economic infrastructure
With reference to the City of Colombo Zoning Plan 2020, Colombo 10 is located in an area that has been designated as a ‘Concentrated Development Zone’. This plan envisages concentrated development to focus around the Colombo Port, which will border commercial, mixed use, sea-front and port-related zones.
Maradana is home to one of the primary railway hubs in Sri Lanka, serving both intercity and commuter rail. It’s a highly commercialised area and has many listed buildings including a Technical College, the Colombo Dutch Museum, Tower Hall and Elphinstone Theatre. A generous sprinkling of cinema halls is also a characteristic of this area.
There are three prominent schools in and around Maradana with a combined student population of around 15,000:
- Zahira College
- St. Joseph’s College
- Ananda College
At the centre of Maradana Road is a recently completed IT park known as Trace City. The concept behind Trace City was to address the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon that affects Sri Lanka and results in the loss of many professionals. When the Trace team approached the government with their concept, they were met with good support and were asked to find a suitable location to set up Trace City. Having considered a few sites, the Trace team decided to proceed with its current location in Colombo 10, formally referred to as the ‘Trippoli Market’.
At the onset, the project site was nothing more than 14 acres of abandoned buildings bordering the railway line according to the founders. Today, following much hard work on the part of the Urban Development Authority (UDA), around nine acres have been completely rehabilitated. Currently, there are around 540 employees working at the site under five different IT companies.
Under the previous political regime, there was a plan to construct a 35 floor high-rise building on the vacant land that is at the front end (Maradana Road) of Trace City. However, it is not certain that this will take place under the new political leadership. The low-rise buildings from the old Trippoli Market that have been rehabilitated are certain to remain as they are today due to their cultural and historic value.
Outlook for Colombo 10
In recent city beatification initiatives made by the government, Maradana has emerged from a ‘concrete jungle’ into a modern suburb that is green, pedestrianized and endowed with classic architecture that has been rehabilitated.
Another key feature of Maradana is that the entire traffic system has been converted into a one-way flow. This has served to facilitate smooth traffic flow in the area at all times except for the peak rush-hour in the evening.
Given the centrality of this location being in close proximity to the central bus stand and the railway hub, the achievement of smooth traffic flow in the new traffic system is a major achievement according to the Police Traffic OIC.
At present there are several thousand IT and ICT professionals working in the area. Some of these firms are BPO and KPO operations. Very recently, some of the railway buildings have been converted into IT office space. With the expansion in Trace City and new IT, BPO and KPOs entering, the number of IT professionals in this immediate area will grow significantly. Given these developments, RIU expects land prices to increase for both commercial and residential use.
(Real Estate Intelligence Unit (RIU), the pioneer in real estate research in Sri Lanka with decades of experience in expertise provides unparalleled market updates, insights and analyses on the real estate market. The research and advisory arm of RIU is the knowledge and intelligence behind many of the new and upcoming developments
in Sri Lank)