The anticipation of many avid food lovers finally came to an end, as the massive food and entertainment enclave at Port Grand was inaugurated on Saturday by Governor Sindh Dr Ishratull Ebad.
Port Grand will officially be open to the general public today (Sunday evening). Ranging from several kinds of shops to a comprehensive food court that boasts of both local and foreign cuisine, the 10-kilometres-long food extravaganza is expected to attract around 4,000 to 5,000 people each day from across the country.
While only half of the project was ready, the rest is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year. Nearly 40 outlets are currently operational and the entry fee is Rs 300 per person, out of which Rs. 200 can be redeemed through purchases at different food outlets or shops within the vicinity.
Chief Executive Officer of Port Grand Limited Shahid Firoz revealed that Port Grand was inspired by world famous sea front projects in the United States such as Pier 39 in San Francisco, Quincy Market in Boston and 3rd Street Los Angeles. He added that it is built to accommodate the comfort and needs of pedestrians.
According to Firoz, the project began in 2005 and was meant to be complete in 2009, but that was not possible due to delays caused by the dismal state of the old Native Jetty Bridge. He added that reconstruction took an additional two years.
Port grand is a unique example of ushering in the new while simultaneously restoring the old. In the process of this venture, the ancient Hindu temple that falls within its premises has also been restored.
“Despite all the challenges faced while working on this project, we are pleased to share that the old temple has been restored as well. Also the community is delighted with the way we have handled the case,” said Firoz proudly.
Firoz expressed that by visiting Port Grand, people will have the opportunity to learn about port-related activities. During the inauguration ceremony Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babur Khan Ghauri appreciated the venture and said it was a bold initiative that succeeded despite political uncertainties in the country.
Terming it a gift for Karachiites, Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad predicted that Port Grand Project would serve as a catalyst for other mega entertainment projects within the city. He added that the project not only facilitated the people who were starved of recreation, it also gave them a reason to be proud of their country.
He also appreciated the efforts of the Grand Leisure Corporation for restoring the heritage site of the 19th century Native Jetty Bridge that now stands as a world class tourist attraction that is expected to attract millions of people from all over the world.
An observer at the event, Amer Zahid, said that the inauguration of this recreational and historic endeavor marked the restoration of Karachi’s grandeur which was lost in 1970s and 1980s.
“It feels great to have it back,” said Zahid. Another guest at the ceremony and a frequent visitor of the port as well as the project site, Shahida Batlay, greatly admired the work of Shahid Firoz.
“The project has turned out to be great, beyond my expectations and imagination,” she said. Daughter of Shahid Firoz, Nazneen, shared the company’s vision of adding art and culture to the project in the future.
While commenting on security concerns, she said that they had no intention of blocking the view of the onlookers. “The idea was to create wonderful landmark for all Karachiites,” she explained; adding that they had only blocked the view for the purpose of the event.
On the occasion Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Port Grand Limited Shahid Firoz extended his company’s appreciation of Senator Babar Khan’s support in the completion of the project.