Sihanoukville’s first shopping complex is set to open early next month, according to its project manager Tous Saphoeun.
Construction on the US$10 million, two-storey Mittapheap Shopping Centre is nearly complete, with developers aiming to let out some 800 shops to merchants, he confirmed.
“We are the first shopping mall in Sihanoukville,” he said.
“We will attract clients to come here because of the prime location.”
Owned by prominent businessman Khaou Sambath, managing director of Thai Boon Roong Company and son of Theng Bunma, a well-known tycoon, it is part of the Pearl City Asia development.
It sits on 62 hectares in Mittapheap district in front of Sokha beach, with parking for 1,500 vehicles.
The roof for the complex cost $2 million alone, said Tous Saphoeun.
“We are nearly complete, and we will open doors for our clients in February.”
Although opening is one month away, Tous Saphoeun claimed the cost to rent one of the 800 shops had not been set.
Shop rental prices would be unveiled at the grand opening, he said.
Ministry of Tourism director general Tith Chantha said he welcomed the project, adding hopes it would attract local and international tourists to the coastal regions.
“This will play a part in developing tourism and boosting the sector,” he said.
“We really support this project, and hope it can attract more and more tourists in the future.”
Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction official Lao Tip Seiha said Tuesday that the project’s licence was first approved in 2009.
The world economic crisis had hit the domestic construction sector, but some developers were continuing with projects, he said.
“We’re proud to have a new shopping mall in Sihanoukville,” he said, adding the area had plenty of room to expand.
Local tourism officials said the beachfront city was increasing becoming a destination for tourists.
“We’ve noted an increase in tourist visits here every year because there lots of good hotels and guesthouse, and potential for more,” said Som Chenda, director of the tourism department of Preah Sihanouk province.
Some 47 hotels and 115 guesthouses are presently in operation in Sihanoukville, and three more hotels are under construction, he confirmed.
Thai Boong Roong Company is also building a 17 storey five-storey Mittapheap hotel in Sihanoukville.
Work on the $40 million “luxury hotel” began on the first of January, according to Tous Saphoeun.
However, last year some Sihanoukville developers expressed concerns over the future of the town’s tourist industry due to the lack of flights running to the province’s airport.
In October, a representative from the private sector called the absence of a Sihanoukville flights “possibly the single most critical issue affecting tourism”.