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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Residents willing to relocate if developer makes right offer

Residents willing to relocate if developer makes right offer

Real estate developer with eyes on prime Phnom Penh location finds residents are holding out for a good price for their land

MORE than 300 families who have lived in the T85 area of Tonle Bassac commune since the early 1990s said that they are willing to leave their prime real estate if the Khov Sambath company, which announced plans to develop the land in 2009, offers them acceptable compensation.

Ay Sokun Thoeun, 50, who has lived since 1993 on her 40-square-metre block in the T85 area - which is just off Phnom Penh's Sothearos Boulevard - said that since the price of land started skyrocketing a few years ago, at least two companies have either tried to buy her land or have claimed ownership over it.

I just want a sufficient amount of money to buy a new house.

"I want US$1,000 per square metre," Ay Sokun Thoeun said. "I don't want to resist leaving my home. I just want a sufficient amount of money to buy a new house in Phnom Penh, and land is expensive now."
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema told the Post that he had met with representatives of the companies that wish to develop the land in a closed-door meeting Monday.

"The meeting was held to confirm that Khov Sambath company purchased the T85 area in 1991 from the Ministry of Defence and that other companies could not compete with Khov Sambath to buy land from the villagers," Chuktema said.

Sim Vey, chief of Village 8 in the T85 area, confirmed that there are currently two development companies vying with the Khov Sambath company to obtain the land and said that the area's residents were squatters.

"The land belongs to Khov Sambath,"  he said.

Their final offer?

Khun Bun Soeun, Khov Sambath's general manager for the T85 area, told the Post Monday that the company is prepared to pay villagers up to $550 per square metre in compensation for the land.

WHOSE LAND IS IT?

The Khov Sambath company bought over four hectares of land in T85 in 1991 from the Ministry of Defence, which had used it as a military base, says Khun Bun Soeun, general manager of the Khov Sambath company’s T85 development.

"It is the current market price for the land in the area, and we will not be offering more money to the villagers in the future," Khun Bun Soeun said, adding that half the villagers have sold their houses to the company for $300 per square metre.

Khun Bun Soeun said that he did not know when the company would start to develop the land but added that the villagers would probably have to leave the area within the next six months.

Bonna Realty Group President Sung Bonna said that the price of land in the T85 area was currently $550-$600 per square metre for public or government land and $1,000-$2,000 per square-metre for private land.

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