Making a landmark in Sri Lanka

Landmark Developers, an innovative, new property developer in Sri Lanka, is making headlines with its relatively young team and one-stop shop solution

The talented, young team at Landmark Developers is taking on the longstanding property sector with innovative concepts and ideas for modern homes. The company aims to provide end-to-end services to clients in a collaborative environment to meet the business objectives and marketing requirements of every customer. Landmark Developers’ dynamic Managing Director Eksith Hapangama tells Echelon of the young company’s big plans for the future.

Landmark Developers has entered an industry that may be already crowded and competitive. What does your firm offer in terms of differentiation and value addition?
People might ask why we came into the game so late, but we took a risk because we believe the economy is heading towards a brighter future with the port development and many foreign investors coming into the market. Unlike my competitors, who are very traditional, my advantage is our young team. My quantity surveyors, architects, partners, marketing guys, HR people and even my brokers, who I treat as my grassroot representatives, are all young, and the way they think is different. We put together our custom-designed office in 10 days, and everything was built in Sri Lanka.

Back in the day, people bought property according to square footage. The new generation wants space to socialize, so it’s less about the square footage and more about its beauty and aesthetics. I want to cater to this market. Many people have also moved from timber into aluminum, and it’s all automated now. You can control everything in your home from your mobile phone, while at office. You have to move with technology. That’s where Landmark comes in. We want to offer all this in one package. We also have legal consultants onboard, as well as financial and banking consultants.

Landmark is going to change the demographics of property, and we are here to stay. We might be small, but it’s not about the quantity but the quality. My mother is the chairperson of the company, but I run the show with my team, and all these guys are my friends. That’s what also makes a business successful. As long as your employees are happy, the customers will be happy and then the management can be happy as well.

Will Landmark Developers be getting into the construction of apartments or merely facilitating the process between buyers and sellers?
We will be constructing. Park Residencies, our ongoing project, has about 15-20 super luxury apartments. Our advantage is the walking path directly opposite it. We are trying to give over 1,500 sq. ft. at an affordable price, with modern contemporary designs and architecture. We are a custom-build company and will sell all apartments fully furnished. We also help Sri Lankans living overseas who want an investment property or a holiday home here. We have partners in Australia to sell properties there and here to Sri Lankans living abroad. Our aim is to go into Dubai, the US, Australia, Maldives and Malaysia in the near future.

We have seven pillars of Landmark. The first is condominium projects and commercial buildings, where everything from maintenance and property rent facilities, to management will be taken care of. The second pillar is property development and sales of those properties. We will identify the property, develop it and make it available to customers. During this process, we will also give them legal consultation and run background checks, and we have banks already onboard for loan facilities. We work with private commercial banks to offer benefits like special interest rates.

DESIRE WILL DEFINITELY WIN! THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL GROW, BUT LAND WILL NOT GROW, AND EVERYBODY NEEDS A SHELTER, SO THERE WILL BE A DEMAND

The next pillar is design and build. We have identified four housing categories: luxury, upper mid-level, mid-level and low cost, starting from Rs1 million up to Rs35 million plus for luxury housing. Luxury is 4,000+ sq. ft. 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom houses on a 15 or 20 perch land. The upper-mid level is luxury homes at an affordable price, anywhere between Rs10 million and Rs15 million, sometimes even with a swimming pool. Low-cost houses are also called prefabricated homes. Introduced from the US, and made in China, these houses can be put up in three days and are built using prefabricated polycarbonate sheets. It will cost only Rs1.3 million for a 2-bedroom house. We trying to introduce this to the government for emergency services. And, it will last a lifetime, we can guarantee it.

The fourth pillar would be interior solutions. The fifth is feasibility reports for investing customers. The sixth is assisting overseas customers with investment opportunities here, and the seventh pillar is nano homes. They are for the next generation. If you come from outstation and work in Colombo, and you don’t have a house, a nano home will be the perfect solution.

Is there any foreign collaboration?
We currently have a partnership in the US, focusing on California and Texas. We work with a few agents and brokers under MOUs. We are also moving into Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane in Australia, where we have a few partners. But transferring funds is a small hiccup at the moment, but it will be sorted in the future.

Are you also looking at the commercial space market, and what do you think is the opportunity here?
Yes. For example, there is prime demand for warehousing in places like Kandana, Ja-Ela, Biyagama and Katunayake, as well as down south, wherever there is a highway. Warehousing is a good way to make money, and it’s faster and cheaper than building a house. Everyone needs warehouse space to stock up, so it’s a big commercial investment. We are also applying for a tender to build in the Diyatha Uyana area in Battaramulla.

We are trying to make our own team with aluminum fabricators, electricians, carpet guys and furniture makers to work with exclusively, because we trust them.

How does the firm plan to leverage the opportunity in the market at present, and where do you see the market heading in the near future?
Desire will definitely win! You can quote me on that. As long as there is desire, we will always win and the government is heading in the right direction. We see a future here, and there is going to be demand. The number of people will grow, but land will not grow, and everybody needs a shelter, so there will be a demand. People say this is a bubble that will burst at some time, but the Central Bank is monitoring it and so are we. There are new trends and ideas coming out, and there should be somebody to harvest them and deliver.