Mixed-use development hits financial wall, seeks foreign investor

Mixed-use development hits financial wall, seeks foreign investor

The developer behind a $50 million mixed-use retail, residential and leisure complex near the Happiness City housing development on Phnom Penh's Chroy Changvar peninsula is seeking foreign capital to complete the project.

Young's Commercial Centre and Resort administration manager Ngin Pok said the global credit crunch and the related bottoming-out of the local real estate market had hit the development hard.

"Recently we are working hard to find foreign partners who are interested to cooperate with us on this huge capital investment project because we are struggling with financial issues," Ngin Pok said. "We aren't choosy about our partners; if someone wants to cooperate with us, we welcome them."

We aren't choosy about our partners; if someone wants to cooperate with us, we welcome them.

The first phase of the two-phase development was originally due to be completed in April 2010 but has only been 40-percent completed, Ngin Pok said. Construction began in January 2008.
"Although we haven't found a partner, I am optimistic that we still try our best to complete the first phase of construction," he said.

"We are gathering other financial resources for this first phase, and we plan to sell other property to support the project as well. If we don't meet the deadline, we will feel the wrath of customers who have signed a rental contract."

He said that around 60 customers had already signed a contract to rent retail space in the development.

Young's Commercial Centre and Resort has a multilevel design featuring 123 four-storey shophouses arranged in a horseshoe shape at its base. A further 26 five-storey shophouses provide a frontage to the complex.

A three-storey shopping mall ànd two two-storey arcade malls will be built immediately on top of the shophouses, containing 45,000 square metres of retail space.

The resort, which will be located on the roof of the shopping mall, features 30 stand-alone motel units scattered throughout a landscaped terrace garden.

It was designed by Vietnam-based firm Real Architecture.

It is the final phase of development in the Happiness City site, which was built on reclaimed swampland 600 metres along National Road 6A from the Cambodia-Japanese Friendship Bridge.

Saturation point
Phnom Penh already has a large number of "one-stop" shopping destinations, including the city's first major mall, Sorya Shopping Centre, which opened for business in 2002, Sydney Mall, Paragon Cambodia, Sovanna and BS Department Store.

BS marketing office assistant Men Phirom said he was concerned about more shopping centres being built in an already highly competitive city. "I think that when there are new city malls, sales will be affected because the customers will have more choices to buy products at other shopping centers," he said. "However, we will improve our services and products and create something new to impress those customers."

Sorya Shopping Centre General Manager Lam Ratana said the economic crisis had hit the shopping habits of Cambodians, but that the retail sector would survive. "Purchasing power has dropped, but that does not means customers have stopped coming to my shopping centre; they cut down their expenses since the crisis occurred, but the number of buyers is still the same."

He said he was upgrading products, services and the building itself to compete with other new shopping centers. He planned to also introduce a flower shop, bar, 24-hour coffee shops and new parking lots to attract customers. "My new services and products will be launched this year to compete with new city malls," he said.

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