The recently announced World Trade Centre Phnom Penh is the first project by a Japanese construction company in the capital’s Tuol Tompong neighbourhood.
Tuol Tompong might seem an unusual choice of location for an ambitiously-named World Trade Center, but a Japanese developer is confident its planned $65 million multi-purpose building will transform the sleepy residential neighbourhood into a vibrant hub of commercial life.
Construction on the World Trade Center Phnom Penh (WTCPP) is set to begin in April, with the 23-storey multi-use building expected to open in 2021. Designed and constructed by a Japanese firm and URATA SE respectively, the new complex will include office space, retail outlets and a hotel. The project will occupy a 3,375 square metre footprint, with a total floor area of 43,724 square metres.
URATA. Co., Ltd and Japanese developers are investing in WTCPP MANAGEMENT Co Ltd, the company behind the project.
Kazuya Urata, CEO of WTCPP Management, told The Post that when he first arrived in Phnom Penh his only objective was to train Cambodians on how to build high-rise buildings that meet international standards. He soon realised that despite many Japanese expats living in Cambodia, the country did not yet have a Japanese-style international commercial centre.
He said WTCPP aims to promote cross-cultural relations between Japan and Cambodia, and the retail and office space will be primarily marketed to Japanese companies operating in the Kingdom, though it will also serve local businesses.
“My biggest goal remains my passion to help the Cambodian people build top-quality high-rise buildings on their own,” he said. “World Trade Center Phnom Penh will be built in accordance to Japanese national standards, and the architecture will be a mix between Japanese and Khmer styles.”
According to the project’s blueprints, the first three floors of WTCPP will include retail shops and a cross-cultural space to promote Japanese and Cambodian cultures. Offices and shared office space will occupy the fourth through 11th floor, while the upper 10 storeys will be a high-end Japanese hotel with 220 rooms, a pool and a sky bar. A four-level basement will be used for parking.
Urata said the project site on Street 430 in Tuol Tompong was chosen because it is a high-density residential area packed with apartments, condominiums and shops, yet lacks an international-standard commercial centre. WTCPP will be the first project by a Japanese construction company in this area of the capital.
Thach Channy, founder and CEO of Mekong Property Management, explained that Tuol Tompong is one of the capital’s main residential areas on account of its significantly lower property and rental prices than nearby BKK1 and BKK 2. He said land for rental properties in Tuol Tompong can be leased for $12 or $13 lower than similar places in BKK1, where prices start at $18 per square metre.
Channy expressed confidence that a Japanese-built commercial complex would succeed, adding that its construction should also drive up property prices in the area.
“The project that the Japanese company has invested in this area will increase the attractiveness of the area and act like a big magnet that will raise the value of this area,” he said. “If we look at Sen Sok district, without Aeon Mall 2 and Makro, the area wouldn’t be as desirable as it is now.”
According to Urata, Cambodia has a highly favourable investment climate and his company’s decision to develop property here was based on a number of positive factors.
“The reason that I decided to invest in Cambodia is because Cambodia uses US dollars as currency, which is a great basis to capture the trust of investors,” he said. “Secondly, sending cash from Cambodia to other countries is convenient, and thirdly, Cambodia grants foreign investors 100 percent ownership of their companies here.”
Chea Sophara, Minister of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, said the $65-million WTCPP project will help boost economic development in Cambodia. It will also strengthen economic and cultural ties between Cambodia and Japan, and most importantly, provide more job opportunities for Cambodian youth.