Thursday, January 17, 2008

Skyscrapers galore!

The skyline of Phnom Penh is changing fast these days, and in the next few years it will change beyond all recognition. The 12-storey building above is a mere minnow in the face of three projects that are either in the throes of building already or under development. The Gold Tower 42 is due for completion in 2011 at the corner of Sihanouk and Monivong Boulevards, will cost $2.4 billion and as the name suggests, will be 42 storeys high. It's gonna be a whopper. However, a Korean developer has announced plans for a 52-storey residential and office monstrosity near the Russian Embassy, costing $1.1 billion and completion set for 2012. The other biggy in the works is a 30-storey, $20 million project near the Railway Station, which will complete next year. Everywhere I look in my own area of the city, Boeung Keng Kang 1, my view is obstructed by green netting surrounding constructions like the one above. They are literally everywhere, most of them are new residential apartment blocks available only to the wealthy - so that's me out of the equation. Someone once told me it's a sign of progress - but as a long-time lover of the 'good old days' in Cambodia, it's extremely painful to my 1 eye!


Anonymous said...

What about the other eye?

Sophat said...

Thanks for sharing the picture. I'm a native of BKK1 currently residing in IN, and wondered what my neighborhood looks like now. I really dislike the fact that even mainly residential areas like BKK1 find no escape from the monstrous buildings! Certainly, urban planners also have to give in to "power is might."

Andy said...

My comment about my 1 eye wasn't meant to be taken literally - I was indicating that when i look at the Cambodia I love I look through just 1 eye, ie. I don't have wide vision, instead I have tunnel vision and don't want to see any change to the Cambodia I first saw many years ago. Of course that's not possible, so my comment was tongue-in-cheek.
I think it would be sensible to have a development plan for a buisness center/area of Phnom Penh where high-rise buildings would be confined to rather than the proliferation of them that will undoubtedly take place over the next few years. The 12-15 storey buildings going up in BKK1 are an eye-sore simply because of the existing low level of construction. I am sure we will all get used to them over time, especially people like me who are used to them in their own country, but it just seems a shame. There I go again, with my 1 eye!!!

Andy said...

Sophat, what street do you come from? - I will pay it a visit and post a photo if you like, of what I find. Let me know.

Andy said...

Sophat, I visited your street, 334 in BKK1, and I'm pleased to report there are no high-rise buildings under construction. But what I did find was a lot of very expensive-looking villas behind high walls!

Jon Hoff said...

Hey Andy, I have loads of posts relating to the development in Saigon on my site. I'm sure that PP will follow suit. The industry has been criticised recently, the dearth of serviced apartments are unaffordable to most. The price of land in popular city locations is astronomical, way more than in places like Thailand. Some houses are being sold for European prices. There is a huge gap in the market for mid-range housing and this is what the city desperately needs, but developers and speculators are only interested in the high end market for now. I can think of at least 10 huge projects under construction currently here, and every courner has a new building going up.
It brings with it other problems, mainly particulate pollution (dust) from the sites.
If the rate of change in HCMC is anything to go by, then PP will change just as quickly -- you can see it changing everyday. Yes, charm will be lost, but it is also what makes living in a developing country like Vietnam so fascinating!