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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 10ha site for mall, hotel development

10ha site for mall, hotel development

Aten hectare site adjacent to Phnom Penh's Russian Boulevard, south-west of Boeung

Kak Lake, will be developed into a shopping mall and hotels.

About 500 families living on the land will be relocated to a site 15 kilometers outside

the city along Route 4.

Most residents the Post spoke to were unaware of the project until the company fenced

in the perimeter and starting pouring land fill last month.

A CPP MP, Osman Hassan, told the Post that his company will develop the site in a

joint venture with other companies from several Asian nations.

Hassan, who is president of Hassan Cambodia Development Company (HCD), said he had

rented the site for 70 years.

"This will ensure Phnom Penh has new and beautiful buildings rather than keeping

this part as a squatter area," Hassan said. "People should understand that

this is about beautifying the city."

He said the venture involved investors from China, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand

and Japan, but declined to discuss the finances or the project's cost. HCD started

filling the low-lying land with soil early last month, and construction is set to

begin mid-2003.

Hassan said HCD signed a deal to rent the land from the government in 1998, but the

economic crisis and problems with squatters, some of whom have lived there since

1980, delayed the project.

"The investors wanted to be sure that we could relocate the people, and were

also waiting for the land fill to begin," said Hassan. "If we had not started

now, the government would have revoked the contract."

He said the company purchased land four kilometers the other side of Pochentong Airport

to relocate the families. However as some have not agreed to leave, he said, negotiations

were still underway. The company, said Hassan, had offered some building materials

for the new site.

Many are not happy at the thought of leaving Phnom Penh.

Ngy Ny, a 45-year-old housewife and mother of four, said the new land was simply

too far from the school of her children and the workplaces of two others. She said

her family arrived in 1993 and paid around $8,000 for their land.

"[The new site] is too far from their school, and from the market and my family's

workplaces," she said. "I will not move there."

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