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An Eden between two rivers

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Chbar Ampov is proving popular with residents looking to live in more natural surrounds. Heng Chivoan

An Eden between two rivers

From something of a backwater less than a decade ago Chbar Ampov has become a residential area with a focus on leisure

JUST across the Bassac River, but not far from the city centre, Chbar Ampov district is fast becoming one of the most popular residential areas in the capital as Phnom Penh’s urban sprawl continues.

Despite the need to further develop services and infrastructure, the area is nevertheless attracting developers and private builders keen to take advantage of the relatively cheap land rates and abundant greenery.

“It is an area with great natural advantage including the Bassac and Mekong rivers and many trees,” said Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA). “The natural surroundings are healthy and make people want to live there.”

Located along National Road 1, Chbar Ampov is sub-divided into eight “sangkats” – Prek Pra, Chbar Ampov 1, Chbar Ampov 2, Nirouth, Kbal Koh, Prek Eng, Prek Thmei and Veal Sbov – and now home to some 140,000 people.

A decade ago the area was very much considered a rural district – albeit neighboring the capital – but interest picked up after the launch of the first borey projects.

Since then several other developers have already started or announced plans to build in the area – not least Oxley-Worldbridge, who last week unveiled their design for the luxury The Palm project, complete with a marina, canals and an artificial beach.

“A lot of residential borey projects in Chbar Ampov such as Borey Heng Meanchey, Borey Sambath Meanheng and Borey Hi-Tech Luxury have been very successful,” said Yim Socheat, CEO of CDN Property. “In general, the area sees more residential than commercial projects.”

One recent home buyer is Tob Sreymeng, an accountant, who recently moved into a house in Borey Penh Huoth, Sangkat Nirouth.

“My husband and I decided on that location because it has lots of fresh air from the two rivers, making my family feel comfortable,” she said. “Also, Chbar Ampov does not have many industries or factories causing pollution.”

A lack of infrastructure has kept industries from moving in, but planned improvements should help the area become a fully-fledged multipurpose district.

“In terms of development, we have a clear plan to repair the roads in the district and implement infrastructure projects,” said Huot Huy, Director of Chbar Ampov district’s administration.

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A villa in Borey Peng Huoth in Chbar Ampov district. The area is gaining in popularity among foreigners and Cambodians. Moeun Nhean

“The district has implemented a three-year development program that costs about 5 billion riel [$1.2 million] per year from City Hall. The money will be spent on programs that cover issues such as roads, building restoration and rehabilitation and new sewage lines”

Met Meas Pheakdey, the City Hall spokesman, said the plan would focus on the development of bridges, roads and sewage systems to fully integrate the area into greater Phnom Penh.

“City Hall plans to build a sky bridge at the intersection near Monivong Boulevard. This should further promote the city’s infrastructure development and boost economic activity,” he said.

Although Chbar Ampov is attracting more residential projects, stakeholders say land prices in the area have not risen as remarkably as elsewhere in the city.

Residential land prices range from $100 to $300 per square metre while commercial land along the National Road 1 from Borey Peng Huoth to Chbar Ampov Bridge is going from $1,500 to $2,500, according to CDN Property’s Socheat.

“The price is under $1,500 per square metre the further the property is from the main road,” he added.

“Prices are not rising as much compared to other districts since there are not many big international brands or international schools. Also, there are not many big roads except for National Road 1, therefore it will be a while before land prices rise.”

District Administrator Director Huy explained further: “Property in Sangkat Chbar Ampov 1 and Chbar Ampov 2 is relatively higher based on the annual property tax charged by the two sangkats. Chbar Ampov 1 and Chbar Ampov 2 are more expensive than other Sangkats since they closer to the city.”

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