Investors from Singapore will invest $300 million to build a twin-towered commercial building called The Bridge in downtown Phnom Penh this year.
The Bridge is a joint venture between Singapore Oxley Holdings and Cambodia World Bridge Land.
Oxley Holdings general manager Chinh Chiat Kwong said that his company would start building the twin towers, both of which will have 45 floors, in April. The buildings are expected to take three to four years to complete.
Close to the Australian embassy, The Bridge will be constructed in Tonle Bassac commune. It will feature a four-story supermarket, 700 apartment units and small offices, and 900 “home offices”, which Oxley describes as units that can be used for residential living and which also have office working space and facilities.
Sales of residential and office space in the 154-metre-tall project will get under way in March this year at an average cost of $3,000 per square metre.
“I came here to work for charity, and when I arrived in Phnom Penh, I could see that Cambodia’s infrastructure had improved. Cambodia has both a long history and a rich culture, and I think it will continue to grow because it has a youthful population,” Kwong said.
Kwong added that he initially raised the idea of the project with Sea Rithy, director of World Bridge Land, by pointing out that Cambodia’s population and living standards are both on the up, and there was room for the development of modern downtown apartments.
Oxley Holdings has successfully constructed 13 resort and commercial developments in Singapore. Kwong said he now wants to bring that success to Cambodia. In November last year, the company acquired Royal Wharf in London. Oxley plans to transform London’s Royal Wharf area, creating a whole new district and developing the entire 16 hectares into around 3,400 residential and commercial units. The project will also entail retail, leisure and educational facilities.
Sea Rithy, director of World Bridge Land, said that his company owned the land and that Oxley Holdings would be the developer. He added that he was confident the ambitious project would be a success because Oxley Holdings is listed in Singapore and has a solid financial base.
According to Kwong, The Bridge will also bring wider benefits to Cambodia.
“I want to bring something new to Cambodia in order, to improve people’s lifestyles, and to help modernise the country,” he said.
Speaking to the Post late last year, Kim Heang, president of Khmer Real Estate, said that the twin skyscraper development will serve as a welcoming point for tourists and investors coming to Cambodia after ASEAN integration in 2015.
Meanwhile, amid concerns in some quarters that too many large-scale property projects are under way, Oxley Holdings’ Kwong said he was not concerned about competition. According to Kwong, the principle issue was building to Singaporean construction standards while incorporating traditional Khmer architectural themes.
On the issue of Cambodia’s politics, Chinh agreed that it was a concern for investors, however he said that his outlook was basically positive.
“For the last 20 years, the Cambodian people have been developing their country. They know what happened in the past, and I don’t think they will let the past return,” he said.
Rithy concurred with Kwong’s outlook.
“Political issues haven’t affected this project so far, and I don’t think they will,” he said. “I’ve been doing business [in Cambodia] for more than 20 years, and with more than 20 companies. I’ve never overseen a failed project because I always have a clear plan, and in this case I have a strategy for selling this project successfully.”
Rithy added that he sees a strong future for modern, downtown apartments, particularly given that many people cannot afford a house or a villa in central Phnom Penh. Buying cheaper properties on the outskirts of town can also lead to commuting issues, he said.
“If they live on the outskirts of the city, commuting back and forth to work can be an issue, which is why I think people will make the move to comfortable, modern condominiums.”