A Cambodian-American-Thai partnership has bought a 60 hectare site along Highway
4 near Pochentong airport where it intends to build an international school and landscaped
luxury housing development for 600 families.
The $94 million Northbridge Estates project, which also includes a hospital, shopping
center and recreational facilities, was announced last week by Northbridge-KC Development
Co. - a joint venture between Cambodian contractor Khaou Chuly, developer Northbridge
Communities, and Finansa Thai, a financing company.
"It's a huge project for us and there isn't anything like it in Camboda,"
said Khaou "Peck" Phallaboth.
Northbridge developed two international schools in Thailand, the International School
of Bangkok, and the Eastern Seaboard International School near Pattaya.
He said Khaou Chuly has a 10 percent stake in the project, and Northbridge and Finansa
hold the rest, but they are bringing in other equity partners to help with the financing.
The joint venture has already spent $4 million to purchase the site, located three
km from the airport and six km from the city center. "Four million dollars for
us is a lot of money," Peck said.
Northbridge is finalizing the financing terms for the $15 million first phase of
construction, Peck said. He said Siam City Bank, the Export Bank of Thailand and
two securities firms - Moore Capital and Nomura Jafco - have agreed to finance the
project with a combination of loans and equity investments.
"It's not easy for our partner to raise the funds because Cambodia is still
considered a high risk country," he said. He said he doesn't think Phnom Penh
is ready for widescale real estate development yet, but this project can succeed
because demand exists for a good private school. "Our project will be viable
because of the school," he said.
He said they are now filling and leveling the site and he expects construction to
begin in January. The American International School of Cambodia is scheduled to open
in August 1997 for 300 students. Phase one also includes three-story apartment buildings
and a hospital.
After that, they plan to build single family homes, a shopping center and recreation
club and sports facilities. He said he expects the project to take five years to
develop. The school has been designed for expansion to 1,000 students in12 grades.
Peck said the housing will probably rent from $1,500 and up.
Khaou Chuly has recently worked on the Pochentong Airport construction with the Japanese
company Maeda Corp. They were introduced to Northbridge officials five months ago
by Maeda, said Peck.
Finansa Thai was formed in 1991 as an investment company. It has investments in Myanmar,
Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.