Expressing confidence in the ability of the country to bounce back soon, the first FDI in the country’s tourism sector after the recent incidents was signed by the founders of Sundara (Pvt) Ltd., Dale Rennie and Sabrina Van Cleef Ault at the Board of Investment (BOI) office in Colombo last week.
The agreement with the BOI is to build a luxury resort valued at over US $ 4.5 million. The project known as the Plantation Luxury Villas to be built in Koggala, is considered a strong vote of confidence in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector by a foreign investor and developer known for internationally renowned luxury resort projects.
“Sri Lanka is our home now and despite the recent events we have always felt absolutely safe and looked after here. We want our investors and visitors to feel the same way. The country’s natural beauty is stunning and our property in Koggala perfectly encapsulates the mini treasure stove of wonders you can find here in Sri Lanka,” Dale and Sabrina said.
The project is due to be completed next year and land has been already allocated. We have received amazing support from the authorities and this is a key in our ultra luxury markets within the environment ethos. We have a number of projects in several countries including Bali in Indonesia and Philippines which are environment- friendly, Rennie said.
“We look at the country and try to understand the key natural environment. We were impressed by the environment in Koggala. We will be using sophisticated construction methods. For instance, water purification will be similar to that of Singapore. We will engage in green initiatives to promote and educate people. We have a long term view on Sri Lanka and the recent incidents did not alter our plans in the country. We want to be a part of the solution and it is about the whole eco system,” he said.
The investors will also build a second property at Ahangama considering the surfing capabilities and a café and a restaurant in the Fort for the dinners to enjoy.
With this investment, founders Rennie and Van Cleef Ault are complementing a portfolio of successful developments around the world. Dale, following a 26-year career in the entertainment industry, has the award-winning ultra-luxury cliff front property Villa Anugrah in Bali, Indonesia to his name while his wife and business-partner Sabrina has 15 years of experience in entertainment and F&B.
Sabrina is the original co-founder and Creative Director of the iconic uber luxury nightclub brand Panagaea, the highest earning property of its kind in the world.
The first phase of The Plantation’s construction is expected to be completed within 18 months. Property developer Sundara (Pvt) Ltd is the name behind The Heritage Café and Bistro at the Galle Fort.
The investment reflects a strong and steady increase in investment for one of Sri Lanka’s most promising sectors, Chairman BOI Mangala Yapa said.
“Tourism has been thriving for the last decade – there is no other way to describe it.
The sector is certainly strong enough to bounce back from setbacks, and we are very pleased to have the confidence of two seasoned investors and developers such Dale and Sabrina. They have our full support – Sri Lanka remains as ready and open to investment as ever,” he said.
The BOI is continuing to work to attract FDIs and is engaged in a confidence building process by communicating through the investment pipeline.
There is no dramatic reduction of expected FDIs or cancellations as such due to the recent incidents, he said. The villas, once completed, may be purchased for private use or placed in the resort rental program for guaranteed 7% per annum returns. Over 50% of the property has already been snapped up by investors, said Dale and Sabrina.