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The unfinished Gold Tower 42 looms over Sihanouk Boulevard. Heng Chivoan

Gold Tower 42 reaches investor agreement

A decade-long wait and a number of dishonoured promises after, some good news has finally emerged from the cracks of Gold Tower 42’s long-suspended construction.

The developers of the dormant condo, office and retail project – Korean company Yon Woo Co. Ltd. – have given their word, for the fourth time, to pick up their scraps and continue building the skyscraper in February of next year.

A lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, who had bought a $220,000 unit in the second floor of the mixed-use project stated that recently, a law firm named HBS – which represents Gold Tower 42’s investors – had invited all buyers of the doomed development, including him, to a meeting in order to discuss the status of their property.

These representatives had informed the buyers that their two options were to either keep their respective properties or sell them back to the investment company.

The lawyer said that he had decided to keep his unit because he believed in the reputation and reliability of the development company, adding, “Even though I decided to keep my unit, the others seem to want to sell their condos and properties back to the company.”

Questioned on whether selling the property back to the company would profit the latter, and whether customers were still paying their instalment plans, he only replied that to date, he has paid up about $80,000 on his Gold Tower 42 unit, declining to comment on the company’s profit and loss issue or on all the other buyers’ instalment plans.

Director of HBS law firm, Lee Taiseng, also declined to speak.

Peng Serey, general manager of Angkor Real Estate Company, welcomed the good news regarding the restarting of the project. However, he advised the investors of the properties in the building to exercise caution as the Gold Tower 42 project has thus far been a bitter experience.

Serey added that it was best to be as well-informed as possible about the investment capital and legal ethics of an investment company before purchasing.

“Investment companies should have honesty and they shouldn’t start a project without capital. They should at least have 70 percent share out of the total amount of investment capital.”

Lao Tip Seiha, under-secretary of state of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction (MLMUPC), said last week that senior minister of MLMUPC, Chea Sophara, had recently instructed the general department of construction to send an official letter to the investors of Gold Tower 42. This was an order to confirm the plan of continuing the construction of the building. In response to the ministry’s orders, the company’s board of directors said it intended to finish up the remaining ten storeys of the building starting in February 2017.

“The fact that the company promised to continue constructing the building is [in itself] great news,” said Seiha.

Asked if the promise was authentic, seeing that the project owners had emptily promised reconstruction on many occasions without a positive outcome, he replied, “I don’t know what ought to be said, but we did receive a confirmation letter from the project owners stating the reconstruction plan.”

Thida Ann, senior associate director of CBRE Cambodia, said the project had let down many of its buyers, adding that the company would have to finish construction first to have any hope of regaining its customers’ trust.

“If the project owners put the properties up for sale as soon as they announce the reopening of the construction, it will prove difficult since the project investors have already lost the trust of the people,” Ann said.

“The location of the project is full of potential because it’s situated on the intersection of both boulevards of Monivong and Sihanouk; once the project is completed and is priced with reasonable value suited to the market, there will be no problem at all.”

Meanwhile, Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), said however, if the project is ever completed, he believes its location will still be its most attractive selling point.

“If the units are placed at the value of between $2,500 and $3,000 per square metre, it won’t be difficult to sell because they are certainly situated on the number one location,” he said.

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