LAHORE: Foodies have something to look forward to once the Greater Iqbal Park is complete as at least seven companies have expressed their interest in handling the food court at the recreational facility.
Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Director General Mian Shakeel Ahmad says the authority has opened technical bids of interested parties, including the University of Lahore, Asa Associates, Food Centre Karachi, Dera Restaurant, Allied & Co, Yasir Broast and Decasa, for evaluation. Once the evaluation is completed, the PHA will take a look at the financial proposals of qualified food vendors.
PHA invited bids to lease out operations and management control of two food courts covering 15,000 square feet each. The authority will auction operations for five years.
Earlier, the PHA failed to attract reputable food vendors as the park was in middle of its development and had to cancel the tender.
Ahmad adds the authority wants to outsource the food courts to renowned vendors who can offer a variety of cuisines such as local specialties of all four provinces and some fast food. He claims some serious players have shown interest this time around.
The facility will be the first theme park in the country and the architecture tips its hat to the independence movement and Mughal buildings.
Four national memorial monuments have been built and as many gates have been constructed to showcase the culture of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir through different architectural design elements.
The park will also have a National History Museum and amphitheater, which are at an advanced stage of their development. The facility will serve as a great attraction for history buffs as artifacts from the Pakistan movement and other eras of the subcontinent will be on display. The museum will also have a digital achieve to attract today’s generation.
Those looking out for a little adventure will find it through buggy, soft wheel train or golf cart rides. Cybernetic (dancing) fountains are also among the attractions, while the PHA has completed detailed horticulture works by using colourful flowering species in different sections.
The Greater Iqbal Park project was originally envisioned in 2013-14, but work did not start due to the scarcity of funds.
The project kicked off in the last fiscal year and the government fixed June 30, 2016 as the deadline for completion.
The Greater Iqbal Park will be constructed on an area of 127 acres. Within the area will be a circular garden and access road on about 26 acres, while the Greater Iqbal Park/Guddi Park will cover 45 acres and 56 acres will be around Minar-e-Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2016.