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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital's tallest building on track

Capital's tallest building on track

Developer says skyscraper is scheduled for completion by June, despite property slump

AT 111.75 metres tall, Canadia Tower is set to become in June Phnom Penh's tallest structure, developers Canadia Bank and Mega Asset Management told the Post. The company says that the development is secure from the financial crisis that has stalled or brought down so many other projects.

The company building the tower - WEN Construction Holding Co Ltd of Thailand - has 500 workers and 100 technicians working until late at night, project manager Chea Vuthy told the Post.

"Our project hasn't been delayed or stopped by the world financial crisis. We have enough money ... so, we must complete on deadline," he said.

On June 9, Canadia Bank is scheduled to relocate to its new high-rise headquarters on the corner of Ang Duong Street and Monivong Boulevard. Office and retail space is priced at an average US$30 per square metre.

It's a project that has been welcomed by the Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh Mann Chhoeun as a sign of Phnom Penh's move towards modernisation. Once completed, the tower will comfortably overtake the five-star, 15-storey InterContinental hotel, currently the tallest building in the city.

However, with the property market slowing and similar high-rise developments hitting financial problems, Canadia Tower is nearing completion at a time when property demand has weakened.

Conceived in 2004, the project was originally scheduled to cost US$15 million until the developer decided to increase the building size from 24 to 29 storeys, thereby doubling the estimated cost to $30 million.

Su Si, director of Mega Asset Management Co, says Canadia Tower is aimed at the top end of the market. Featuring serviced apartments, a penthouse, high-end shopping units and a rooftop helipad, the lowest-priced office space will be $27 per square metre.

"Many companies and NGOs are interested in renting office space and shopping units," Su Si said.

In the developer's favour is undoubtedly the iconic status the building will enjoy as the tallest in the capital. But as Mann Chhoeun points out, as Phnom Penh develops, Canadia Tower may not remain the tallest for long.

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