100 year-old Gafoor building reconstruction underway

The changing landscape of Colombo Fort by renovating and reconstructing some 40 old buildings including the over 100 year old Gafoor building is now underway to bring a complete new outlook in the metropolis, official sources said.

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) has recently issued a directive to expedite the reconstruction and renovation of Gafoor Building which will be developed as a city hotel, with 63 rooms, a senior official of the UDA said.

He said that UDA Chairman Nimal Perera and Director General Harshan de Silva visited the area recently and directed those in charge of work to expedite the reconstruction being carried out by the engineering regiment of Sri Lanka army.

The Fort area, full of buildings from the Dutch era, will be opened up for commercial establishments, restaurants, museums and other public facilities. Ancient places of religious worship such as temples, kovils, mosques and churches in the area will also be renovated, he added

The UDA plans to renovate all these old buildings preserving the ancient heritage, he said adding that Gafoor Building will be renovated without changing its original appearance and architecture

This building, built in 1907, oversees one of the 15 historic Dutch canals and a bridge built in the period of British colonisation.
Senerath Dissanayake, Director General of the Archeological Department, said that the Gafoor Building is a Protected Monument under the Antiquities Ordinance due to its historical value. Such buildings represent an era and form part of the rich national heritage of a country.

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