Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Olympia City project poised to shed a few storeys



Olympia City project poised to shed a few storeys

Motorists pass one of Olympia City’s newly completed condominium towers.
Motorists pass one of Olympia City’s newly completed condominium towers.

Olympia City project poised to shed a few storeys

Construction crews are preparing to break ground on the tallest tower of the Olympia City project, but could end up paring down the herculean 65-storey skyscraper that was once tipped to be the tallest residential building in the country.

Meng Chamroeun, chief engineer for Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC), which is developing the mixed-use project on 11 hectares north of the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, said 20 floors could be trimmed from the planned 65-storey tower due to weaker market projections.

He said OCIC management was reviewing the project’s master plan and would consider how the market has changed since construction began five years ago.

“Olympia City’s marketing staff recommended that the company should not invest funds into a building with 65 floors,” he said. “Now the company’s top management is deciding whether to reduce its size to 45 floors or stick with the original 65-storey plan.”

The master plan of the Olympia City complex envisions a total of 13 buildings including hotels, condominiums, offices and a multi-level shopping mall. OCIC has sunk over $500 million into construction to date and expects to complete the massive project by 2019.

Meng said about 70 percent of the overall construction is finished, and tenants have already begun moving into four 20-storey buildings completed during the project’s first phase. Olympia Plaza, a seven-storey shopping mall with 100,000 square metres of retail space, is due to open its doors in the third quarter of 2018.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A promotional illustration of the Olympia City complex. Photo Supplied

Groundwork has been completed on over half of the buildings in the Olympia City complex. The next phase will see construction of the high-rise towers including Olympia Tower, which combines condominiums, a hotel and office units.

OCIC is also considering revising the blueprints for an adjacent office tower and trimming up to seven floors off its original 45-storey design.

The towers are due to come online amid a growing oversupply of residential and office space in the capital.

According to Ann Sothida, director of CBRE Cambodia, the occupancy rate of apartments and condominium units is currently about 80 percent, but can be expected to fall as several large-scale projects come online in short succession.

“Occupancy rates will drop as the market must absorb an additional 13,000 units in 2018,” she said, adding that office space is also expected to grow significantly this year and dilute demand.

So far, there have been no signs of a slowdown in demand at Olympia City, according to Tak Sophy, the project’s real estate operations manager. She said all units have been sold in the four 20-storey buildings and about 20 percent of the condo and shophouse owners have already moved in.

“I think once the shopping mall is finished, there will be more owners moving in,” she said. “I’m not quite sure of how many residential units and houses there are in the Olympia City project, but these four buildings alone have a total occupancy of 1,588 units.”

Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), said Olympia City is an enormous project, though it cannot compare in scale to projects seen in Malaysia and Singapore. He said the initial unit prices were exceptionally lowgiven the complex’s central location, but prices have now doubled.

“The success of a project is not determined by how much of theconstruction is completed, but rather by achieving more than 50 percent occupancy,” he said.

When asked whether he feltthe current market conditions would support a 65-storey skyscraper, Heang said the height of the building – whether 45 or 65 floors – was less important than selecting a good location to tap into future growth.

“If the company has enough funds to complete the project without relying on the sale revenuethen I think it should aim for 65 floors,” he said.

He added that while the local market currently might not support the skyscraper, “in the next five years a 65-storey building won’t face any market issues.”

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.