Good times: Port Grand finally makes a grand opening

Published: May 29, 2011
The Port Grand, a space for cultural activities aimed at promoting the city’s heritage, was inaugurated on Saturday. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The Port Grand, a space for cultural activities aimed at promoting the city’s heritage, was inaugurated on Saturday. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The Port Grand, a space for cultural activities aimed at promoting the city’s heritage, was inaugurated on Saturday. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS The Port Grand, a space for cultural activities aimed at promoting the city’s heritage, was inaugurated on Saturday. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The whiff of putrid sea air that hits you as you near the entrance of the highly anticipated Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex is forgotten once you step inside the metal gate. The newest addition to Karachi’s nightlife promises to offer visitors a world of its own in an enclosed area cut off from the craziness of city life.

“A lot of people thought this was going to be another Burns Road, but this is a different cup of tea all together,” said Managing Director Shahid Firoz of Grand Leisure Corporation. “We hope this project will lend a bit of positivism to this city and country.”

Port Grand formally opened on Saturday in a festive mood with Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad as the chief guest.

Port Grand expects to attract 4,000 to 5,000 people daily. Currently, 40 outlets are up and running and more are expected to open soon. The first thing you notice once inside is the shopping mall that houses a number of brands, including shops for gifts, clothes and accessories and books.

Towards the left of the mall was the much-talked about Napier’s Tavern. With its historic architecture and fine dining, the lodge is expected to serve as a setting for the city’s corporate crowd. The lodge was built right under a one-hundred-year-old banyan tree where Charles Napier is believed to have built a tavern. The builders used the same stones and wood extracted from the demolished bridge to salvage the heritage.

Further left, stretches the food enclave for a kilometre. Men, women and children were strolling about the concrete path along the 19th century Native Jetty bridge that connects the Karachi Port Trust to Keamari. Live cartoon characters were waiting to start their act to entertain the young visitors and loud music blared across the food street as organisers, waiters and construction workers added some of the finishing touches to the outlets and stalls — that offered a wide array from fast food and desi food to Thai cusine. Unfortunately, many of them were still being set up. The organisers announced that the complex would open for the public from Sunday evening.

The food enclave runs along the port where you can view the sea while sitting on green benches lined across the fresh green turf. The three spaced-apart metal barriers from the water could, however, be tempting for adventurous children. You can even see the cargo being loaded and unloaded from the ships that arrive from all over the world. The food street ends close to a point where you can see ships harboured at the KPT Boat Wharf.  The land for the project was leased by the KPT for 30 years on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement. Work on the billion-rupee project started in 2005 and it was expected that it would be completed by 2009. However, Grand Leisure Corporation claimed that the delay was caused by the need to completely revamp the Native Jetty bridge which was in bad shape. This caused expenses to shoot up. “Better late than never,” said Firoz. “If we wish to do things the right way there might be a delay but the end product will be something positive.”

KPT has provided double fencing around the complex for security and privacy and KPT guards also patrol the bridge. Entry has been made secure and security personnel have been put in place from the PNC building. KPT Acting Chairman Iqbal Umer said that the corporation was providing for most of the security itself.

“We have provided state of the art security,” said Nazneed Shahid, Firoz’s daughter, who has been involved in the project. “The area is no more unsafe than any other place like Boat Basin, for instance.”

Phase two includes a food court with more traditional foods like paani puri, bhel puri, shawarma, etc. “We hope to make this place a cultural hub,” said Nazneen.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2011.


Watch a slideshow of pictures from Port Grand here.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Fahad Naveed
    May 29, 2011 - 2:01PM

    This is exciting!Recommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Imma visit this soooon =DRecommend

    May 29, 2011 - 6:12PM

    Very good for all Pakistani’s.!

    God bless Karachi and Pakistan!Recommend

  • S
    May 29, 2011 - 6:59PM

    Karachi is grand, Karachi is beautiful, Karachi is vibrant…..Live Long KarachiRecommend

  • Nurmomad
    May 29, 2011 - 9:22PM

    Good news …. next time I am in Karachi, am not going to miss this Recommend

  • Aleem Bayar
    May 30, 2011 - 1:17AM

    m going straight to Port Grand with my buds as soon as i reach Pak…yayeeeRecommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 8:45AM

    This is a dream when I was going to school now I am just cross my 90’s. I have vision that Pakistan will not have much trade so we can use the same ports for the public food street. The Next target will be on gawadar port which my grand son will complete.


  • RAZA
    May 30, 2011 - 9:07AM

    Good going Karachi, Good going Pakistan………………..We all love you.Recommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 9:47AM

    Nice job.Recommend

  • Shajee
    May 30, 2011 - 11:46AM

    @Sultan ul Arfeen:

    Dear, be positive. if you cant help enlighntment, please dont spread the darkness.
    These ports are assets of our country and they will be functional and lively forever, insha ALLAH.Recommend

  • farhan
    May 30, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Excellent job but the entrence fee is Rs 300/person and the coupons provided have very limited option to spend.Recommend

  • jawad
    May 30, 2011 - 1:25PM


    That was on first day. From Monday all the outlets should be able to collect coupons. Recommend

  • arsalan Shahid
    May 30, 2011 - 1:27PM

    Where is this?Recommend

  • Salman Raza
    May 31, 2011 - 1:17AM

    lets wait very soon a parchee will come to the port grande visitors and owners from the liyari criminalsRecommend

  • sidrah roghay
    May 31, 2011 - 8:04PM

    nicely written naureenRecommend

  • Jun 2, 2011 - 9:22PM

    Karachi food street is one of best spot in Pakistan for tourism , surely karachi food street make good image of Pakistan in worldRecommend

  • Sohail
    Jun 5, 2011 - 9:22AM

    Its gud but still need to add more food options. Recommend

  • Faisal Sadiq
    Jun 5, 2011 - 1:29PM

    aoa! a must visit for people. I have seen the building process since 2005 and till to date. Its beautiful and very attractive.Recommend

  • farhan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:28AM

    karachi food street is very beautiful.Our karachi is a very beautiful place we should visit this place inshallah and this story was very nicely written !!!Recommend

  • farhan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:30AM

    thats great!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sal
    Jun 7, 2011 - 7:31PM

    If I am depressed or wanted to think something or maybe something to write or just wanted to visit to watch the beautiful sight of Karachi port lights from Jinnah Bridge… i cant anymore.. first i have to have 300 rupees in my pocket just to look at something and need a companion which has to be a female. its the beginning of a great discrimination by corporates. i know u all think i m going very negative here but what can i do, when i crossed the bridge i found it very boring and dead. i don’t have a right to watch the port anymore.Recommend

    Jun 28, 2011 - 5:24PM

    Port Grand is something of Karachi standard we are proud of this beautiful place , this is worth spending RS. 300 ENTERY FEE.
    I beg to all of our Pakistani people please ensure its cleanline and should not SHOULD NOT through wast in SEA or in this Beautiful placeRecommend

  • Sarah Bilal Kashif
    Jul 2, 2011 - 4:19AM

    Pakistan zindabad!!Port Grand zindabad!!Recommend

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