Sokha Hotel Group has begun work on a 127km long road that will connect its multimillion-dollar development in Kampot province’s Bokor town to the two-lane National Road 4.
The development, which covers 300sq km in Bokor National Park west of Kampot town, has had between $400-500 million already invested in infrastructure that includes hotels, casinos, and hiking paths.
Sokha Hotel Group president Sok Kong told The Post last week that after receiving approval from the government to have land leased to Sokha Hotel for development until August 31, 2109, his company has “worked hard” to develop Bokor town into a multi-attraction entertainment destination, and has been eyeing investment particularly for its several planned accommodation sites.
But he singled out the road project, connecting the development with the main thoroughfare, in particular as having a timeline that is still uncertain and subject to available funding. “Currently, over 8km of the road has been cleared, but it is not yet known when it will be completed. It depends on the capital available to the company,” he said.
He added: “This road will facilitate travel and national economic growth for people in the region – especially for those who want to visit Bokor town, as they will be able to travel through National Road 4. Currently, they can travel to Bokor town only through National Road 3.”
Kong said that the large size and construction time of the project meant more funding might be necessary beyond its estimated $10-20 billion capital to keep it to schedule. The company announced plans to open up the project to investment from local and foreign investors – as well as the authorities – to “help the project reach the goals set out in its master plan”.
He issued a plea to investors for more financial aid, touting the project’s potential to contribute to an increase in Cambodia’s economic growth. “We are building this new city to boost national economic development, but the huge cost [overruns] have meant the initial capital investment is not enough, so we urge the government and the private sector to continue to support it so that the company is able to expand its investment even faster,” he said.
Pov Vantha, chief engineer of the road project, conceded that construction has been plagued with problems as the plans demand cutting through a number of mountains and large boulders, and will require a significant amount of time and financing to complete.
Emerging from the Bokor town development project, the road will be split in two directions: one to National Road 4 – through the palm oil plantations owned by Mong Rithy Group – and another to the Pich Nil (Yeay Mao) hill.
“This new road is very important as it will facilitate the movement of people from National Road 4 to Bokor town and enhance livelihoods and the general economy of the area,” he said, echoing Kong’s views.
Beyond the sprawling road project, Sokha Hotel also set out plans to build a reservoir that can hold up to one million cubic metres of water. It is also investing in infrastructural projects and other residential buildings in the area.
Sokha Real Estate Company marketing director Sir Chanra said that it is also investing in three nearby borey gated communities: ‘Amret Thansur’, spanning an area of more than 80ha, ‘Emerald Paradise’, within an area of 88ha, and ‘Crown Real Estate’, encompassing 590ha.
The houses in the three projects have been “almost 100 per cent” purchased, according to Chanra.
“Due to the favorable weather conditions in the area as well as its prime location, the project has attracted many foreign buyers, including from the US, France, Singapore, China and Vietnam,” she said.
Bokor National Park covers an area of about 140,000ha, but only 30,000ha has been set aside by authorities for development.
Some 1,075m above sea level, the mountain is famed for its lush natural forest and year round cool weather, and benefits from spectacular views of the provincial capital of Kampot and its nearby beaches and islands.
The government issued a sub-decree on March 16 last year to establish Bokor town in the western reaches of the province, adjacent to the western edge of Kampot town and comprised of three communes formerly in Teuk Chhou district – Prek Tnort, Koh Touch and Boeung Touk from west to east.