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Skyscrapers miss another construction start date

Reserved space of 4.97 hectares for Cambodia’s – and Southeast Asia’s – tallest skyscraper.
Reserved space of 4.97 hectares for Cambodia’s – and Southeast Asia’s – tallest skyscraper. Moeun Nhean

Skyscrapers miss another construction start date

Construction of Southeast Asia’s supposedly tallest building hasn’t even started, yet troubles have already dogged Thai Boon Roong’s Twin Trade Center as it was revealed that the timeframe for work to begin on the project had again been pushed back.

Construction on the altitudinous building was initially tipped to start last September, and then earlier this year the project’s start date was delayed to mid-2017.

Now it seems that target has been missed, with Tous Sapheoun, deputy secretary general of Board of Architects Cambodia (BAC) and one of the architects currently working on the twin towers’ design, stating that construction work had yet to begin as the technical team was still working on improving the quality of the building. According to Sapheoun, the buildings technical risk was under review, however he assured the task was close to completion. Sapheoun did not indicate a new deadline for construction to kick off.

The 500 metre-high commercial building, which is to be built on the former amusement park Dreamland’s 4.97-hectare complex near NagaWorld Casino, is understood to cost an eye-watering $5.1 billion to develop. Earlier this year, a consortium led by China’s Sino Great Wall International Engineering Co. Ltd. won the bid to build the twin towers.

Despite the delay in construction work starting, Sapheoun didn’t foresee any budget issues, stating “there is already enough capital for this project.”

“When this project is finished, it will change the face of Phnom Penh, and internationally famous companies will come to base themselves in this building,” he added.

Chhayleang Nguon, CEO of Ratanaka Realty, said it was normal for there to be delays when technical reviews were taking place on a large-scale building.

“For me, whether a building is tall or short isn’t really important. However, it’s important that the building brings value to the economy after its completion,” he added.

The 133-storey twin skyscrapers, if developed, will house a shopping mall, office space, an apartment, hotel and a range of eateries.

With backing from the Cambodian government, the project looks almost certain to proceed. However, real estate and business professionals have voiced doubt over the projects viability, while eyebrows have also been raised over the project’s ties to financial backer Ng Lap Seng.

Earlier this year, Stephen Higgins, managing partner of Phnom Penh-based investment firm Mekong Strategic Partners, expressed skepticism over the large-scale nature of the towers.

“I suspect that the basic laws of economics will ensure that the Twin Trade Center building will never be built, at least in the current configuration,” he said.

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