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Farewell to the White Building

Built as an experiment in low-cost social housing for the capital, the White Building has been sitting in the heart of Phnom Penh since the 1960s.

Despite, or perhaps because of, its dilapidated appearance, it has developed a reputation as an iconic sight in the city, and is home to businesses and an art gallery as well as hundreds of families.

But the first of those residents started to move out of their apartments this week in exchange for compensation packages, marking the start of a process that will see the structure torn down and replaced with a new 21-storey building built by Japanese firm Arakawa Co.

Those who are holding out will be given another week to reconsider their decision, after which officials say they will use the “law” to force them to leave the state-owned property.

The Post visited the White Building as the first families started to leave, while ministry officials swarmed the building trying to verify residents leaving, and second-hand dealers bought up possessions families did not want to take with them.

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