De Castle Diamond bucks talk of property sector slump

De Castle Diamond bucks talk of property sector slump

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A model shows the De Castle Diamond condominium project being built in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district.

South Korean developer plans to open Phnom Penh's largest condominium development around the New Year, targeting Khmers and Korean expats

Despite talk of some projects being put on hold, Tuol Kork district is still seeing brisk development.

When the 18-storey De Castle Diamond is finished, expected around the end of this year or beginning of next, it will be the largest condominium complex in the capital, with 178 units set on 2,500 square metres of land.

Located on the west side of Tuol Kork, on Street 315 just north of Russian Boulevard, the complex is situated within easy access of the new Rattanak Hospital as well as several new schools and is only 15 minutes from the airport.

Growing stable
This is the third De Castle project by Technology Innovation Construction Co Ltd (TIC) of South Korea, which is partnering with two of its own subsidiaries on the development: project-management firm Hi Sun Group and main contractor CNKC.

The people running TIC are not new to big investment projects in Phnom Penh. Its chairman, Kim Byung Hak, was the first chairman of the Camko City satellite city developed by fellow South Korean firm World City, and he also oversaw the building of De Castle's first two projects. He said he expects the third and largest to be finished on schedule.

Begun in 2007, the condominium complex is marketed primarily to the Cambodian middle class and South Korean expats.

The building offers four layouts: The basic one-bedroom, one-bathroom model covers 109 square metres and is going for between US$87,000 and $89,000; three-bedroom, three-bathroom units go for $170,000 for the 212-square-metre option and $200,000 for the 243-square-metre option; and the 270 square-metre four-bedroom, four-bathroom units cost around $220,000. There are still 25 units available, TIC said.

Added value
Every condo will come with cable TV and Internet access, and will be furnished with whiteware.

"Most of the materials we use here are imported from Germany and South Korea, like the dishwashers and stoves," said Chuck Villar, the sales and marketing director of the De Castle Diamond project. Also imported are the double-pane, sound-proof windows that help to cut down on outside noise.

The designer's plan was to have amenities right inside the building to provide added value for residents. The third floor houses a swimming pool, indoor driving range, spa, fitness centre, business centre and children's play area. On the rooftop is a garden area for relaxing or entertaining.

There are also quarters for 36 staff members on the mezzanine between the second and third floors for the residents' maids, cooks and drivers. The 6-square-metre rooms have shared bathroom facilities.

Four storeys of parking spaces reach from the basement up to the second floor, each housing unit having its own parking space. As the city fills up, secure reserved parking is becoming a welcome luxury.

Villar said TIC would retain ownership of the land and manage the property. "We're looking at having a 24-hour maintenance staff of cleaners, engineers, electricians and plumbers on call. This would be included in the package."

The staff on hand will fix any problem a resident might run into, whether it's an electrical or plumbing issue, or simply that they have run out of gas and need a new tank. Management fees will be charged by the size of each unit, but it is expected they will run between $0.40 and $0.90 per square metre per month.

There has also been a focus on security. Along with the 24-hour security guards, there is a closed-circuit television system throughout, and each unit has a security camera watching the front door.

"Once you have the reputation, people are more interested in working with you, and De Castle 1 is already a landmark," Villar said, referring to the company's first completed project, also on Street 315.

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