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Massive Chinese development shares space with open sewer canal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An area of the Boeung Trabek open sewer, where garbage spilling over into the canal is a normal occurrence. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Massive Chinese development shares space with open sewer canal

Currently under construction opposite Boeung Trabek Plaza is a 217,000 square metre development that will include residential and office buildings, a shopping mall, restaurants, a movie theatre, and a five-star hotel.

Sino Plaza – as it is named – is also partly being built right alongside Chamkarmon district’s Boeung Trabek open sewer canal, which Post Property previously reported needs to be left open to alleviate flooding in the area during the rainy season.

Not to be undermined by other developments of equivalent gigantic scale, Sino Plaza comprises four buildings; two 42-storey serviced apartments buildings, one 36-storey for a five-star hotel and cinema complex, and one 43-storey building for offices and condominium units.

Its peculiar location, however, falls short when compared to many other HOPSCA – hotels, offices, parks, shopping, convention centres, and apartments – or mixed-use developments that are peppering the capital now.

The whole length of one of Sino Plaza’s four temporary enclosed structures is built right at the Boeung Trabek open sewer canal, which, although emits a strong stench and is filled with rubbish and sewage, is home to a stretch of mobile phone shops, beer gardens, and food stalls.

At an initial visit to the showroom of Natural Lucky Real Estate, the Chinese real estate investor of Sino Plaza, its salespeople reluctantly said, “We have submitted our plans to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) to cover the canal that affects our development.”

While no further details were given, former City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche previously said that he, or the ministry, was not certain which specific government body the proposal had been submitted to.

Although part of the canal that is linked to Sino Plaza is sporadically covered by concrete slabs, the inconsistency of the overlay does little to alleviate the smell that may inadvertently affect the development’s “Luxurious, High-end, Attractive” tagline.

During a second visit to Sino Plaza’s showroom, the head of the development’s management – who declined to be named – said, “Our construction team put those concrete slabs over the canal, and our proposal to the MLMUPC to cover part of the canal is still ongoing.”

A visit to the construction site itself yielded a different response when Hui, an on-site translator for the Chinese constructors, said that the construction team had never touched or taken part in placing the concrete slabs over the canal; they already existed when Sino Plaza first broke ground in mid-2015.

Prom Somkhan, district chief of Chamkarmon district, echoed Hui’s statement, saying that he had not noticed any new canal developments and that those slabs had been there for the past five years. “The construction team of Sino Plaza has not done anything new to it, and I believe that the company would not do anything without permission from City Hall.”

As stated in Post Property’s previous report, Dimanche said there is no present plan to cover or further rehabilitate the canal, as “the canal was built open to alleviate the problem of severe floods in Boeung Trabek.”

Sino Plaza is slated for completion in 2018, and only then would it be evident whether or not the Chinese developers are successful in their proposal to cover the part of the open sewer canal that clashes with its luxurious $250 million development.

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