By Ashraf Padana/Thiruvananthapuram
The SmartCity Kochi (SCK) will feature India’s tallest building for software firms, officials said yesterday.
Mohamed al-Gergawi, cabinet affairs minister of the United Arab Emirates and head of the Dubai Holding, the parent company, will open the first phase of SCK on February 20.
Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy, Industry Minister P K Kunhalikutty and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the state’s dream project.
“The first building of 650,000 sq ft is ready for opening. We have made all arrangements for making it a memorable occasion,” Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson said after a review meeting in Kochi.
“It will also see the groundbreaking of seven information technology blocks adding another 4.7mn sq ft and an international school with a capacity of 3,400 students.”
SCK is the second offshore hub of the knowledge-based industries of Dubai’s Tecom Investments after SmartCity Malta. It envisages 8.8mn sq ft when completed, and 90,000 software professionals will work there.
“So far we have leased out 75% of the built-up space to 27 firms and (the remaining) one floor is reserved for a major company. They will be operational in three months,” SmartCity managing director Baju George said.
“All of them are multinational companies already operational in India. At least 5,500 professionals can work in one shift now, and the number of jobs can go up if the companies utilise the excess capacity and introduce more shifts.”
Sands Infrabuild, promoted by the UAE-based non-resident Indian (NRI) businessman Yusuffali M A, is building a 30-storey twin tower, the tallest, while another NRI, Sunny Varkey, is setting up the international school under his GEMS brand which has a presence in 14 countries.
Both will be completed in 30 months, authorities said. The twin tower coming up in 12.74 acres will have a 1.8mn sq ft built-up space, with a two-level parking at the basement.
The second phase will also bring in an investment of Rs19bn.
Another co-developer, MATT Projects, will build 300,000 sq ft of office space and supporting facilities such as café, food court, recreational facilities, fitness facilities, fitness centre and a business centre for IT, BPO and other knowledge companies to be set up in the special economic zone.
“(The inaugural) function will be a spectacle unseen before in the state,” Thomson said.
“Ahmad bin Byat, vice-chairman and MD of Dubai Holding, Yusuffali, Sunny Varkey and Jaber Bin Hafez, vice-chairman of SmartCity Kochi, among others, will attend the ceremony.”
Thomson said almost all of the pending issues pertaining to the Phase 1 were solved except a couple of land-encroachment issues, ranging from four to six cents, which are in court. A direct, broad, road will be built to SmartCity from Seaport-Airport Road considerably reducing distance to the city centre.
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