Investor Bala Kamallakharan, who is originally from India, intends to build up tourism at the piece of land Skálabrekka in the rural area Þingvallasveit* in southwest Iceland. As an Icelandic citizen, Bala does not require permission from the Ministry of the Interior.
The lake Þingvallavatn. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Bala, who is married to an Icelandic woman, acquired the majority in the real estate company Fasteignafélagið Skálabrekka one year ago as part of an agreement between, Hallgrímur Hólmsteinsson, one of the company’s owners, and Landsbanki on the settlement of his debt and Bala has since worked on development plans for the land, Morgunblaðið reports.
Hallgrímur now holds a minority share in the company. “The idea is to build up tourism there. […] He has experience and knowledge of this field and I believe it will come to excellent use,” Hallgrímur said of Bala.
“We want to work in collaboration with the people and nature and will take full consideration for environmental aspects. It won’t be large-scale but ambitious and suitable for the area,” Hallgrímur added.
Skálabrekka is approximately 500 hectares in size and Fasteignafélagið Skálabrekka holds 50 percent of the land. It is located by the banks of the lake Þingvallavatn at the periphery of Þingvellir National Park.
No sketches or planning schemes have been submitted to the district council of the Bláskógabyggð* municipality yet as the plans are in the initial stages, but the investors have presented their ideas to the council in a letter, including a hotel and golf course.
Chairperson of the Bláskógabyggð district council Drífa Kristjánsdóttir told Morgunblaðið that they haven’t taken a position on these ideas yet; whether development of tourism in the area is permitted depends on how these developments will be carried through.
Bala and his Indian associates run seven hotels in India. He is also involved with Auro Investment Partners who invested in the high-tech startup company CLARA last year. The company was founded by four University of Iceland students three years ago and Bala is now chairman of its board.
Bala has lived in Iceland since 2005 and used to work for the now defunct bank Glitnir. He was supposed to lead the bank’s invasion of the Indian market when the state took over the bank’s operations and closed its office in India.
Click here to read about a Chinese investor whose request to acquire a piece of land in northeast Iceland was recently rejected by the Ministry of the Interior.
* The Icelandic letter þ is pronounced like th in thunder.
The Icelandic letter ð is pronounced like th in that.