Astoria by now, is synonymous with every Sri Lankan who is aware of the upcoming skyscraping projects that are currently taking place in Colombo. However, not only the locals but foreign investors are also eyeing up the Astoria that is gradually making its way to the top, grazing the Colombo skies in all her glory. Astoria by AVIC is a very special project to Sri Lanka and will no doubt go down in history as one of the most influential projects to have had taken place in Sri Lanka, due to its construction magnitude, leading-edge expertise and foreign labour simply to ensure that Sri Lanka gets the best of the best from the professionals themselves. To get more insight into how the Astoria came to be and to find out more about the current progress, we sat down with AVIC Astoria Project Director, Mr. Zhang Bo for a chat. The following are excerpts from the interview:
Q1. Recently, Astoria launched its final two phases to the Sri Lankan public. How is the progress with the mixed development so far?
A1. Progress is moving very swiftly and we are proud of how far we have come since we commenced operations here in Sri Lanka. Initially, in early 2016, Astoria launched Phase 1, which comprised of Towers 1 & 2. Then, before the end of 2017, we again launched the remaining two towers. So, now there is so much more to be anticipated along with the inclusion of 470 residences and a 15 floor office tower. Luxury homeowners of Astoria will be able to revel in it. We consider Astoria as the best thing that happened to Colombo. Prospective homeowners and investors can look forward to a life of comfort and convenience and can also opt to own or work in the same property grounds if they so wish. This is simply going to be a magnificent entity showcasing the best of everything you can ever wish for, under one roof. So, this mixed development will also turn into a commercially viable centre right in the heart of Colombo.
Q2. There are countless other projects emerging in Colombo and the suburbs and a number of foreign investments that had made through to the country this way. Why should Astoria be the preferred choice when it comes to luxury living in Colombo?
A2. Sri Lanka, right after the end of the civil war that raged for nearly 30 years, became inundated with foreign investments after noticing the economic change that the country went through. Sri Lanka continues to dominate that sphere when it comes to the real estate sector especially from within the
region. Sri Lanka has turned out to become a hotbed for new and innovative infrastructure, technology and knowledge sharing, maritime and many other major developments that is taking place. During a recent event we had conducted, one of our Chief Guests had described Sri Lanka as a destination that will go through major change in the next ten years thanks to the on-going improvements in investment policies and other similar initiations. Therefore, long-term macroeconomic trends in ASEAN-South Asia are definitely looking optimistic for this country. Speaking of Astoria, AVIC, who is the instigator behind this project is a Global 500 company and its subsidiary company is the AVIC International Hotels Lanka Limited that oversees local operations in Sri Lanka. AVIC, which stands for the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has been instrumental in undertaking world renowned projects of high caliber and successfully completing them using cutting-edge technology, material and manpower from China and ensuring swift implementation. Not only that but AVIC is a Chinese state owned enterprise and joins hands with the likes of main contractors, China
State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) to see through major projects such as Astoria.
Q3. How do you view the future of the real estate sector in Sri Lanka?
A3. Sri Lanka’s economic growth trajectory has been forecasted to make a leap in 2018 and increase to upto 5% by the end of 2018. As for the real estate sector, Sri Lanka is booming with investments of this kind and by offering solutions that would cater to future homeowners, especially Sri Lankans living abroad to invest in their own country and embrace the property ladder, we at AVIC believe that the future is bright for Sri Lankan real estate to flourish.
Q4. What makes Astoria so popular among the masses who look towards owning an address in Colombo? What would define AVIC’s success?
A4. Latest figures placed AVIC International in 162 nd position on the Fortune Global 500 list, making it one of the most stable and reliable companies that had emerged from China and followed in the quest of offering infrastructure support globally. Even though AVIC has made public the high-profile rise of the Astoria that is being scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, AVIC had succeeded in playing a key role in developing Sri Lanka’s position towards the completion of major projects that had been taking place over the past few years.
Q5. Apart from mixed development related projects, what other instigations has AVIC dealt with?
A5. Even though AVIC regard themselves as mainly focused towards the Aviation sector, they also serve customers across value chains spanning from R&D to manufacturing and finance. AVIC continues to instigate urban development not only in China but also in many other countries across the world. The corporation had undertaken similar concepts but also covered many other aspects in dynamic fields. AVIC had lent their valued expertise towards summing up the extent of infrastructure development and had come forward to support a country such as Sri Lanka in many ways. One of the most recent developments which AVIC was part of, other than Astoria, was their successful completion of the runway overlay project at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). Construction work was undertaken in association with the China National Aero Technology International Engineering Corporation (CATIC-ENG) which is also a partner company with AVIC International. Along with CATIC, AVIC was also instrumental in completing the renovation process for the A9 Highway project in 2013.
Q6. What has been the response with regards to the ongoing project?
A6. From the moment we embarked on this project in Sri Lanka and until now, we have had favourable and positive feedback aligned with the fact that people are excited to witness the completion of this project unfold. From our existing clients, to our investors and people who look forward to explore the world of Astoria and check out what is in store for them, everyone is excited about how the project would look like after completion and this being one of the most influential projects in terms of mixed developments to have had been introduced to Sri Lanka, we have only good vibes about the entire project. Currently, we have already sold over 50% of the luxury apartments. We recently also held a launch of Phase 2, which comprises of Towers 3 & 4. Our loyal clients and homeowners witnessed the new project model and are anticipating that big day.
Q7. What type of CSR projects has AVIC been a part of?
A7. AVIC has been instrumental in extending support to social initiatives through sponsorships and participation. Some of these events included support for the Sri Lanka Design Festival 2016, Facets Sri Lanka 2016 as well as having held seminars such as the ‘Programme on the Promoting of Housing Loans Agenda’ to name a few. Apart from initiatives of this stature, another significant occurrence that was held dear to AVIC’s vision towards extending a helping hand to those in need has been the organization’s annual offering of donations to Lawri’s Girls Home in Colombo. Essential resources such
as food, educational stationary, cooking and electrical items categorized some of the physical donations that were offered by AVIC and company representatives. AVIC continues to engage to provide support of this nature and bring a level of change through CSR activities.
Q8. Do you have a message you would like to share to prospective homeowners?
A8. We will no doubt have many messages to share with the people of Sri Lanka and the world! If you are someone who looks for the good life, aspires to own his or her dream home intermingled with the best things in life, at the best location and even better, at a home that has been designed using world class, leading-edge technology, then you will know that AVIC would ensure to provide all that just for you. You will be guaranteed the best experience life will ever give you. Astoria has been designed to fulfill just that. So, look no further, do not hesitate and simply, drop by for a viewing of a mock apartment to give you a taste of what you would be getting. Those who acquire good taste and an excellent investment, will understand what AVIC Astoria is all about! For further information about the AVIC Astoria or to check out a mock apartment, drop by at their office: AVIC International Hotels Lanka Limited, No. 9, Deal Place, Colombo 03. You can also visit their website at www.astoria.lk