The proposed US $ 25 million, Sheraton Hotel chain project in Colombo has been called off.
Despite Cabinet approval for the project having been obtained by September 6, joint promoters Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc of USA and Universal Enterprises of Maldives, said they were pulling out as they were disillusioned with the delays caused by the Urban Development Authority. The project which was expected to generate over 450 local direct jobs and 45 foreign jobs will now be located elsewhere in the region. The hotel was to be situated at D.R Wijewardene Mawatha on land belonging to the Railway Department.
On September 12, Starwood Hotels and resorts Worldwide Incorporated, senior vice president Thomas J. Monahan in a communiqué to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Anura Bandaranaike said: ?The Starwood and Universal group have been in discussions and negotiations with the UDA over the last year to secure leasehold right to land situated at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha to develop a five star Sheraton branded hotel. The potential joint venture partners have exchanged a number of drafts of Memorandums of Understanding with the UDA over this period. A meeting was held in Colombo with Minister Dinesh Gunawardena where we raised concerns pertaining to the terms of the MoU.
We were advised that the UDA would send us the revised MoU for our review as well as to initiate the land value process. To date we have yet to receive a revised MoU on a valuation.
The project applicant was Universal Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd of Male, Maldives, who are the promoters of this project which was to be operated under the Sheraton brand name.
Sheraton Hotels was named the Best Hotel Chain for Business Worldwide for the thirteenth consecutive year by ?Business Traveller? Magazine of the United Kingdom.