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Luxury housing plan for 600 families

A Cambodian-American-Thai partnership has bought a 60 hectare site along Highway

4 near Pochentong airport where it intends to build an international school and landscaped

luxury housing development for 600 families.

The $94 million Northbridge Estates project, which also includes a hospital, shopping

center and recreational facilities, was announced last week by Northbridge-KC Development

Co. - a joint venture between Cambodian contractor Khaou Chuly, developer Northbridge

Communities, and Finansa Thai, a financing company.

"It's a huge project for us and there isn't anything like it in Camboda,"

said Khaou "Peck" Phallaboth.

Northbridge developed two international schools in Thailand, the International School

of Bangkok, and the Eastern Seaboard International School near Pattaya.

He said Khaou Chuly has a 10 percent stake in the project, and Northbridge and Finansa

hold the rest, but they are bringing in other equity partners to help with the financing.

The joint venture has already spent $4 million to purchase the site, located three

km from the airport and six km from the city center. "Four million dollars for

us is a lot of money," Peck said.

Northbridge is finalizing the financing terms for the $15 million first phase of

construction, Peck said. He said Siam City Bank, the Export Bank of Thailand and

two securities firms - Moore Capital and Nomura Jafco - have agreed to finance the

project with a combination of loans and equity investments.

"It's not easy for our partner to raise the funds because Cambodia is still

considered a high risk country," he said. He said he doesn't think Phnom Penh

is ready for widescale real estate development yet, but this project can succeed

because demand exists for a good private school. "Our project will be viable

because of the school," he said.

He said they are now filling and leveling the site and he expects construction to

begin in January. The American International School of Cambodia is scheduled to open

in August 1997 for 300 students. Phase one also includes three-story apartment buildings

and a hospital.

After that, they plan to build single family homes, a shopping center and recreation

club and sports facilities. He said he expects the project to take five years to

develop. The school has been designed for expansion to 1,000 students in12 grades.

Peck said the housing will probably rent from $1,500 and up.

Khaou Chuly has recently worked on the Pochentong Airport construction with the Japanese

company Maeda Corp. They were introduced to Northbridge officials five months ago

by Maeda, said Peck.

Finansa Thai was formed in 1991 as an investment company. It has investments in Myanmar,

Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

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