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Vattanac readies for series of openings with ‘surprises’

Neil Brown and Gayle Hockin in their brand-new office in Vattanac Tower, which is welcoming more tenants in the coming weeks.
Neil Brown and Gayle Hockin in their brand-new office in Vattanac Tower, which is welcoming more tenants in the coming weeks. CHRIS TAYLOR

Vattanac readies for series of openings with ‘surprises’

The office space at Vattanac Capital Tower – Phnom Penh’s “iconic”, dragon-backed, glass skyscraper – is finally open for business, and the first retail outlets in the mezzanine Tower 2 are due to open at the end of next month.

“It’s our second week now, and we’re the first tenants in the building,” says Gayle Hockin, PR and marketing coordinator for Vattanac Capital. She says the office has finally shifted to Vattanac Tower to test its facilities ahead of the arrival of other businesses in the coming weeks.

The 240-square-metre office space – occupied by Vattanac Properties – includes the entire Vattanac team, from asset management to engineers and the operations team, which is “overseeing everything from pest control to cleaning”, Hockin says.

“We run the building, basically, and so we were first in to ensure that everything is working properly, that the lifts function as they should and security is functioning the way it’s supposed to,” she says.

Vattanac Properties occupies the third floor of Tower 1, and Vattanac Bank will soon occupy the second floor.

Vattanac Capital property services manager Neil Brown says: “The next tenant will be Qatar Airways, who are moving in in the next two weeks, and then One Asia Capital are coming in, as well as Arup [Associates].”

Brown adds that Switzerland’s Schindler Elevator is also poised to take office space in Tower 1, which he notes is good news for the Kingdom’s most sophisticated elevator system – it guarantees a wait of no more than 35 seconds for a speedy (four metres per second) ascent to any of the building’s floors.

Schindler operates all the elevators in the 188-metre TFP Farrells- designed Vattanac Tower – Phnom Penh’s tallest. According to Brown, who previously worked in property services in cooperation with Schindler in Ho Chi Minh City in partnership with Schindler, the elevators are cutting edge in terms of getting people where they need to be in a building with the least inconvenience.

Furthermore, though declining to mention names, Hockin says that the three floors of retail in Tower 2 – the Monivong dragon’s back – will feature some surprises, with outlets for luxury brands that have yet to make an appearance in Cambodia.

She adds that Vattanac is allowing the mezzanine retail space to develop in what she describes as a “drip-feed” of openings, starting from the end of next month and slowly building up to a retail-tower grand opening in six months. In the meantime, Hockin says the upper floors of Tower 2 will be home to a state-of-the-art cinema complex, international medical services, education services and a boutique food court.

Hockin says to expect a series of surprises while that is under way.

“We’ll be having grand openings for every name brand that opens their doors as we go along,” she says.

Hockin also notes that the upper floors of the 39-storey Tower 1 have been handed over to Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, following an agreement signed in November last year.

The Rosewood will open in 2015 and will offer 148 rooms and suites, as well as 27 luxury, serviced apartments, a 120-seat bistro, two restaurants, and a sky bar on a cantilevered terrace that provides a bird’s-eye view of Phnom Penh.

The locally financed tower has already received awards, including best commercial property in Southeast Asia at the South East Asia Property Awards in Singapore in 2012.

Hockin notes the building is already LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certified, but is aiming for Gold certification, which would place it among a relatively small number of office retail spaces globally that meet the stringent environmental LEED building standards overseen by the United States Green Building Council.

Standing on the 37th floor, cantilevered sky-bar terrace, Brown says of Phnom Penh’s boulevards and the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers below, the city’s landmarks all clearly visible in the early dry-season haze: “It’s a good way of getting a sense of the layout of the city.”

But when the Rosewood-managed sky bar opens in 2015, it will also offer something besides just another luxury food and drinks venue with a view – a high-altitude wining-and dining experience in a city uncluttered with competing sky-scraping structures.

“We’re in now, and it’s all happening” says Brown.

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