CPB ad rankles Central Leases solicited for prime Rama IV site

Central Pattana Plc (CPN), the Central Group's commercial property developer, will seek assurances from the Crown Property Bureau (CPB) regarding its right to develop a plot on the busy corner of Rama IV and Wireless roads.

The green 88-rai vacant plot of the Crown Property Bureau (top left corner) sits at a prime location in Bangkok — the corner of Rama IV and Wireless roads. The CPB is offering a long-term lease for interested companies to develop mixed-use projects at the site, the former location of the old Suan Lum Night Bazaar. THANARAK KHOONTON

"What worries us is the move from the bureau that seeks other parties to develop land adjacent to ours," said a CPN executive who asked not to be named.

The executive spoke after the CPB yesterday ran an ad in several newspapers telling the public it is seeking proposals for long-term leasing and development of the 88 rai (35,200 square wah) of vacant land on the corner. It is the site of the old Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

In the ad, the CPB said the development will be a mixed-use project including hotel, residential, office, cultural and education elements. Interested parties can submit proposals by March 29 for a 30-year lease term with an option for a 30-year extension.

CPN, the country's biggest commercial property developer, was awarded a 30-year lease contract in 2007 from the CPB to develop 40 rai at the prime location opposite Lumpini Park.

CPN's proposal for developing the site met its design and concept criteria of creating a landmark and centrepiece attraction for Bangkok. The plan maps out a complex of world-class shopping facilities, offices and a hotel.

But the source said CPN executives are now concerned over whether the new development projects required by the CPB would mean direct competition with their future complex.

A source from the property industry who also asked not to be named said the first-ever public announcement by the CPB indicates that the bureau needs a new player to bid and wants to attract foreign investors.

The period of just 24 days to submit proposals will limit the field to those who are professional and ready to invest in the project, the source said.

Previously, the CPB sent letters inviting groups to bid for land leases.

The source said the ad sends a message that the vast plot of land remains available for leasing beyond the portion that was leased to CPN.

Surachet Kongcheep, senior manager at the property consultant Colliers International Thailand, estimates the likely figure of investment in the CPB's mixed-use development at 100 billion baht.

Such a massive investment could only be mustered by the country's top two developers, he said.

"Only the Central Group and liquor and property tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi could do that," said Mr Surachet.

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Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep & Kanana Katharangsiporn