Japan’s Belluna may pull out of D.R. Wijewardena Mw project

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Belluna Co. Ltd, a Tokyo Stock Exchange – First Section listed company, and a significant player in the global real estate industry, is likely to pull out of its proposed multimillion dollar Mixed Development Project in Colombo 1, D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha (Opposite Lake House).

The company, together with its local business partner Asia Capital, which has already taken possession of land for the project, which was inaugurated a few years ago, is now facing a cash crunch amid the prevailing economic downturn.

Speaking exclusively to Finance Today, visiting Belluna Co. President and CEO Kiyoshi Yasuno said Belluna Co. was unlikely to go ahead with the project, as the project cost is not within its affordable range. The company was exploring the option of seeking additional investment, but was more in favour of pulling out of it by selling the land lease rights to an interested party, he added.

Belluna Co., together with Asia Capital, invested Rs 4 billion to acquire the land from the Urban Development Authority and its previous lease holder Ravi Wijeratne-owned Rank Holdings.

Yasuno said Belluna has invested about US$ 200 million in Sri Lanka since 2014, while providing over 200 local employment opportunities.

Since 2014 it has launched the super-luxury resort, Le Grand in Galle together with local investment bank, Asia Capital PLC and also the luxury condominium ‘447 Luna Tower.’ Its newest venture is US$ 60 million worth Granbell Hotel in Colombo 3. Its other hotel chain includes 17 properties in Japan, 1 in Hawaii, and 1 in the Maldives.

He said Sri Lanka is a hospitable Nation and its taste of tea encouraged the company to invest in Sri Lanka and would continue to do so as soon as the country’s economy improved.

It is planned to launch another star class tourist hotel project in Kandy in the near future.

“Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange crisis is affecting us deeply. We are also working to attract tourists to our hotel projects through India and the Middle East,” he said.

Belluna Co. Ltd is a mail order company with over 3,000 employees in Japan offering clothing, household goods, and hobby goods through catalogs. The Company also provides financing services.

Beyond Tokyo, Belluna’s investments in real estate span the rest of the globe from Myanmar to the US, including projects in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and now, Sri Lanka.

“If you take into consideration today’s context, the investment made by Belluna Co. in Sri Lanka is almost equal to the investment made in the US, which is a direct indication of Sri Lanka’s potential,” Yasuno said.

By Ishara Gamage