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Northbridge opens housing-plex

An upscale gated community offering housing, schooling, recreational activities and other conveniences is taking shape in Phnom Penh.

Northbridge Communities, located off Pochentong Road between the city center and the airport, launched the first phase of its residential units at a June 2 ceremony. Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Chea Sophara, who presided over the ribbon-cutting, commented that the Northbridge Communities location was ideal given the city's growth patterns.

"Much of the development of Phnom Penh will be occurring on the west side," Sophara said.

The community is being developed by the Thai-based American firm Northbridge and Cambodia's Khao Chuly Development Co. Ltd.

The first phase of the residential development features 18 furnished apartments and 26 single-family homes which will be ready for occupancy in September. Rent for the two and three bedroom apartments ranges from $1,300 to $2,700 per month, said Robert Brewitt, managing director of Northbridge. Single family homes are available for rent for $3,400 to $4,600 per month or for sale for $190,000 to $260,000.

Half of the 18 apartment units have been reserved already and nine of the 14 house lots have been sold to both foreign and Khmer families, Brewitt said. Construction on an additional 18 apartments will likely begin in August, Brewitt said.

Community facilities include "The Club", which features a pool, jacuzzi, fitness center, tennis courts, athletic fields, a gymnasium and children's activities. Membership is free to residents and is available for a fee to non-residents.

In addition, a supermarket, bookstore, travel agent and beauty salon are expected to open at Northbridge in about a year, Brewitt said.

One of the community's main attractions is its international school, which offers an American/international curriculum with classes taught in English. The school, which opened in 1997 with nine students, is expected to have more than 150 students by this fall.

Sophara noted that having an international school in Phnom Penh saves money for families who would otherwise send their children abroad to study.

"If we send our children abroad, we have to spend a lot of money visiting them and returning them [to Cambodia]," Sophara said. "You'd spend at least $2,000 - not including shopping."

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