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White Building residents want cash up front

Chea Sophara speaks to journalists while visiting the White Building yesterday
Chea Sophara speaks to journalists while visiting the White Building yesterday. Hong Menea

White Building residents want cash up front

On a visit yesterday to Phnom Penh’s iconic White Building, Ministry of Land Management officials once again urged residents to wait until the site had been redeveloped before selling their homes, though many residents remained sceptical that the promised return on investment would ever materialise.

“It seems like they have decided to sell because they do not believe the government,” deputy director of the ministry’s housing department Hue Chenda said.

“They are afraid that if they move out for a while, it will be difficult for them to return.”

After years of hinting that it would renovate the dilapidated landmark, the Land Management Ministry in October announced an ambitious plan to erect a 21-storey multi-use tower. Current flat owners will be entitled to new apartments in the tower estimated yesterday by Chenda to be worth $200,000, provided they wait out a four-year construction period in temporary accommodation.

Speaking to The Post yesterday, residents were inclined to take cash payment up front rather than wait. “We are afraid that if we move out we will not come back here again,” Bun Thun, 50, said.

“We know that when the building is developed, the price will go up; but we don’t want that, we just want to get money to find another place.”

Similarly, 57-year-old Chhum Sok Kern said she would rather have cash now than gamble on the planned development.

“We are old now, we don’t want to wait four or five years,” Kern said. “We have relatives and we want the money now to divide among them.”

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