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Khmer king of real estate

Khmer king of real estate

W ITH about 20 million square meters of land in and around Phnom Penh, the Suor Srun Holdings Company Ltd. has some of the country's prime property and some big plans to exploit its potential.

Thirty-six-year-old chairman Suor Pheng has returned from France to take the responsibility of running this large real estate development company from his father, Oknha Suor Srun, who died a year ago.

The showpiece property of the company is the prominent Hong Kong Center, a five-storey business-commercial complex on the capital's Sothearos Boulevard. The 7,500 square meter property is now ready to be leased out to interested businessmen for offices, shops and restaurants. "Each floor will be rented out to one person, who will use it for whatever purpose he wants," Pheng said.

Pheng, who says he is still looking over all the paperwork left by his late father, has several projects in the pipeline. A 100 hectare piece of land on the river front, south of the Cambodiana hotel and now occupied by squatters, will be built up into a 'Harbor City' if Pheng's plans bear fruit.

"The city will have a harbor and also residential areas, it will be modeled on Macao," Pheng said. He says he is now negotiating details with the government.

Another project in the pipeline is "Cambol Villa", a group of high-quality villas to be built off Route 4 near Kompong Speu, which will be sold or rented out as residences. The company also owns two other 100 hectare pieces of land off Route 4.

Plans are also on the anvil for a gas factory in the city, and a cement factory is already in operation. Pheng also owns the 180-room Phnom Penh Hotel near Wat Phnom, besides other prime real estate in the capital. "I plan to put up villas, apartment buildings, supermarkets, restaurants and factories over the next five years," Pheng said.

Pheng's father, who used to live in Hong Kong and was a close associate of King Sihanouk (he was awarded the title 'Oknha' or 'nobleman' by the King) returned in 1989 and bought all the property. Pheng will not reveal how much it is all worth, except to say that its value has increased greatly since his father bought it.

But Pheng admits he is new to the job and has some problems administering the large properties in the capital. "Without my father there are difficulties and problems in running the business, but business so far has been good and is moving forward slowly," he said.

Suor Pheng has a younger sister, Suor Sok Kheng, who is vice chairperson of the company, while younger brother Suor Ty is a director. His wife and three daughters live in France.

He makes frequent business trips to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, UK, Belgium and China and owns some property abroad.

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