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ITC Hotels, Dubai Chain Show Interest In Port Land On Willingdon Island
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Courtesy: Rajesh Abraham | News Source:

KOCHI: Indian hotel chain ITC Hotels and a Dubai-based hospitality company have evinced interest in bidding for Cochin Port Trust’s (CPT) 55-acre land on Willingdon Island after the Port invited tenders for the development of the area into a hospitality and business hub.

The CPT is leasing the land for 60 years and has fixed the minimum bid price at Rs 377 crore. The port wants to turn the area, which is located at the southern end of Willingdon Island with waterfront on three sides and connectivity to the important locations in Ernakulam city and the airport, for the development of five-star hotels, convention centres, malls, and commercial complexes.

Sources said a team from ITC Hotels visited the area and sought more details. ITC Hotels, which has presence in 21 important destinations in the country including Mumbai, Shimla, Aurangabad, Chandigarh, Mussoorie and Agra, has no properties in Kerala. “This could be a good opportunity for ITC Hotels to enter Kerala,” said sources. ITC Hotels could be not contacted for comments. Other big local players including Tata’s Taj Group, and most other international brands may also be interested in the property, sources said.

Last time the CPT leased out a big chunk of its land was in 2011 when Yusuffali M A’s EMKE Group took over 25 acres of land on Bolgatty Island for its convention centre for Rs 71.37 crore. The land, which now houses the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Convention Centre, has been leased for 30 years.

The port sources said the first tender was invited in June, when the lease period was set for 30 years. Following requests from hospitality players, a second tender was floated extending the lease period to 60 years. “The tenders will be open for another couple of months. We will know about the bidders only after February,” said the source.

The CPT wants to develop the 55 acres for building five-star hotels, convention centres, malls, and commercial complexes. NH 966B passes through the northern boundary of the plot and Kundannoor Junction on the NH 66 is only 2.5km away.

100 acres for the logistics park
Sources said the CPT has another 100 acres, which it plans to lease out for the setting up of a logistics park. The Kerala government had made some enquiries about the land, but no further follow-up steps were taken, sources added.

“The state government has available land resources of its own. So, we are not sure if it wants to take over our land,” said the port source. During his visit to the UAE in 2018, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met the top management of DP World in Dubai and had explored the possibility of setting up various projects, including a logistics park, in Kochi. The DP World-operated International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam here is functioning exceedingly well, leading DP World to propose the setting up of a logistics and industrial park in Kochi to the visiting Chief Minister.

Hospitality hub

Land: 55 acres
Where: Willingdon Island
Price: Rs 377 crore
Lease: 60 years
Interested players : ITC Hotels and Dubai hospitality chain

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