Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cambodia aims high with record-breaking skyscraper

Wed Sep 1, 2010

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia is aiming for the record books with an ambitious plan to construct Asia's tallest building, a 555-metre skyscraper worth $200 million (£130 million), Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday.

The building would be five times taller than the country's present highest structure, the new, 32-storey Canadia Bank Tower, which dominates the Phnom Penh skyline, where buildings of more than five floors stand out.

If the project goes ahead, it would top the Taipei 101 Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Centre and Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers -- the world's three tallest buildings after the 828-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

"It will be shorter than the one in Dubai and taller than any buildings in Asia, and I think we can do it," Hun Sen announced during a university graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

"We don't have to be too conservative and we also don't need to be too outdated," Hun Sen added, brushing off criticism from cultural groups concerned that a construction boom was threatening the city's French colonial architecture.

Hun Sen said the proposal had been made to the country's Land Management Ministry and local lender Canadia Bank would be involved in the project.

However, real estate companies questioned whether there was much demand for a building half a kilometre high in the capital of one of Asia's poorest countries.

"Where would the investors come from?" said Sung Bonna, CEO of Bonna Real Estate Group in Phnom Penh.

"We are concerned about the shortage of demand and occupancy rates so we need time, but we hope this dream comes true."

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Martin Petty)

Cambodia boasts plans for Asia's tallest building [-We may not have anything to eat, but we'll have the tallest building in Asia!]

Posted: 01 Sep 2010 08:38 AM PDT

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Impoverished Cambodia plans to build a 1,820-foot (555-meter) skyscraper, its prime minister said Wednesday, a feat that would give one of the region's least-developed capitals the tallest building in Asia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said he had approved a master plan for the skyscraper, which would be located about half a mile (one kilometer) from the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh — a dusty city of colonial villas, slums and one standout skyscraper, the recently completed Canadia Tower that is about 377 feet (115 meters) high.

Hun Sen did not say when construction would start, how much it would cost or give any other details, except that it would be built by a Cambodian company, Overseas Cambodia Investment Corp., owned by tycoon Pung Khiav Se.

The company's project manager, Touch Samnang, said preliminary estimates suggest the building would cost $200 million, but the project was being studied by experts and government ministries. He said it would include a shopping mall, hotel, apartments and an entertainment center.

That figure is dwarfed by the sum for what is currently Asia's tallest building, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Rising 1,667 feet (508 meters), it cost about $1.6 billion. It had been the world's tallest since 2004 but was overtaken in January when Dubai unveiled the Burj Khalifa, which rises 2,717 feet (828 meters) from the desert.

Cambodia, whose commerce is tiny by international standards, has been experiencing a real estate bubble for the past few years, but several ambitious construction projects have been delayed or suspended.

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