On a clear day, it’s difficult to miss the yet to be completed Lotus Tower dominating Colombo’s skyline. Although the project has been mired in controversy (and not the Freudian sort), and perhaps because of it, most people seem unsure as to what purpose the Tower will serve. We all know the basics of how the Lotus Tower will be the tallest tower in South Asia – but here’s a list of things about the Lotus Tower which you probably didn’t know, but should know (because let’s face it, whether you like it or not, it’s definitely here to stay).
1. Currently, 292.2 metres (958 feet) of the Lotus Tower, up to the concrete mast, has been completed. The metal mast and the petals are yet to be finished.
2. The entire project is to be completed by October 2017 and the tower will be declared open towards the end of 2017.
3. Once completed, and with the lightning tower in place, the tower will stand at a total of 350 metres.
4. The Lotus Tower, on completion, will act as a transmission tower for TV and radio. The Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) informed Roar that the rationale behind the Lotus Tower acting as a single transmission hub is to equalise the quality of transmission and ensure that all consumers have equal access to quality broadcast. This will also ensure that the operations cost of digital transmissions by the current service providers will reduce.
5. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) will act as the independent operator, taking over the responsibility to transmit.
6. The first and second floors of the Tower House, at approximately 215 metres and 219.8 metres (705 and 721 feet), are for TV and radio transmissions respectively.
7. The Lotus Tower, however, isn’t solely for transmissions. It will be a multifunctional building. Its three storied tower base will house various shopping centres (mostly high end), food courts, and possibly even a walk-through museum. The tower itself will house banquet halls and an observation deck.
8. According to the TRC, the cost of the tower is covered by a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. This loan will be paid back with the revenue earned from renting out space.
9. There will be two banquet halls which will accommodate 450 people each. They will be on the third and fourth floors of the Tower House at a height of 224.6 metres and 224.6 metres (721 and 737 feet).
10. At 234.2 metres (768 feet), there will be a restaurant with a revolving floor for fine dining.
11. There will also be suites for state guests on the seventh floor, at 244 metres (784 feet).
12. The TRC estimates that by August this year, the ‘petals’ of the tower will be in place.
13. The framework of the petals will be in steel, while the petals will be made of glass. The petals will be illuminated with LED lights of changeable colours.
14. During festivities (like Christmas, Avurudu and Eid), the tower will have appropriate decoration displays.
15. The TRC also has plans of building an interactive app to improve visitor experience to the tower. This app will enable users to, for instance, check the availability of seats for a movie and make immediate bookings, or remotely reserve seats at a restaurant. The app will keep the visitor updated about events and attractions taking place at the tower.
16. An entrance ticket will be required to enter the Lotus Tower. Concessions may be granted to school children and families.
17. The outdoor viewing deck, or the observation deck, will be on the eighth floor of the Tower House at a height of 248.2 metres (814 feet). There will also be viewing telescopes.
18. There will be eight elevators in the Tower. Three elevators in the tower will be high speed elevators, two will travel at a medium pace, while the three slower elevators will be mostly for service usage. With the high speed elevators, it will be possible to reach the observation deck from the tower base in less than a minute.
19. While the petals will be illuminated with LED lights, the trunk will be illuminated using flood lights. This will mean that the tower will be seen even at night, from a considerable distance.
20. There are plans for a Phase II, which will be built in the same locality as the Lotus Tower. It will house underground parking for 2,000 vehicles (and will also include parking for daily commuters), a shopping arcade (to cater to all income groups), gyms, swimming facilities, and theatres.
With all these plans in the pipeline, the Lotus Tower certainly appears to promise a change in Colombo’s skyline – here’s hoping it will be a change for the better.