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Government eager to kick-start mammoth tower development

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Artistic rendition of Thai Boon Rong Commercial Tower and Phnom Penh. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Government eager to kick-start mammoth tower development

As new details emerge surrounding the monumental 133-twin storey, billion-dollar development – now dubbed Thai Boon Rong Commercial Tower as a namesake of the co-developer – to replace Dreamland, with a groundbreaking event to be held today, real estate experts and officials are still at crossroads over the credibility of this gigantic project.

Tous Saphoeun, deputy secretary-general of Pannasastra University’s architecture faculty, said that Phnom Penh Municipal Governor Pa Socheatvong will be attending this groundbreaking event, to be held at the exhibition hall across from the Chinese Embassy.

According to Saphoeun, the project’s construction is slated to begin in the middle of 2016, with the developing company allowing a timeframe of four to five months for the recently shut-down Dreamland Amusement Park to completely quash their rides and vacate the land.

Standing at a staggering 500 metres, with the exclusion of an extra 25 metre tall antenna, he said, “this tower will consist of a 6-star hotel, apartments, high-standard office spaces, and a mall,” adding that the construction of a tower of this scale will go down in history as the Kingdom’s most ambitious project by being the highest tower in Asia. As a result, the development is tipped to be a major drawcard for tourists visiting Phnom Penh.

With the project on track to meet its completion date of the end of 2019, the Thai Boon Rong Commercial Tower – a joint-venture between Thai Boon Rong Group and Chinese property developer Sun Kian Ip Group – will sit on about five hectares of land, with a combined aesthetics of modern architecture and traditional Khmer design, according to Saphoeun.

Despite this official news of the event, spokesperson Seng Lot of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) said that the ministry had neither received any sort of application request for the construction of the tower nor granted permission for it to be built.

On the contrary, Long Dimanche, spokesperson for City Hall, stated that relevant industry experts are still conducting analyses while policies are underway to be submitted to the government before the submission of an official proposal to the MLMUPC.

Real estate experts continue to embrace and applaud the ambitious project, projected to cost more than $1 billion, with Chrek Soknim, CEO of Century 21 Mekong, saying, “if Cambodia has this tower, it will not only be the best reputation boost for this country, where people can have a 360-degree view of the capital city, but also increase our potential of attracting more investors.”

However, he also said that to have a 133-storey, 500-metre tall tower completed by 2019 seems to be an unrealistic construction timetable. However, at the same time he believes that the developers may be using state-of-the-art technology to finish the tower by the earmarked timeframe.

Ann Thida, senior vice-president of CBRE Cambodia, said it would be a big triumph if the project was finished, but the developers and construction company must conduct accurate market research to conclude whether or not the construction of a tower of such scale is necessary for the Kingdom’s real estate market.

“The fame of this tower isn’t going to be just about having it being completed on time, but will be more about how useful it is going to be, and what it can be used for. So, what is important now is how well the constructors can finish the tower,” Thida said.

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