Big interest in Australian embassy site
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Big interest in Australian embassy site

CBD location, large size selling points

An aerial view shows the Australian Embassy, the low-rise building on the left, on Sathon Road. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
An aerial view shows the Australian Embassy, the low-rise building on the left, on Sathon Road. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

At least 10 parties have expressed interest in acquiring the Australian embassy site on Sathon Road, according to JLL, the sole sale agent for the embassy.

JLL also expects more parties to inquire about the expression-of-interest (EOI) tender before it closes.

The seven-rai, 382-square-wah site has been put up for sale on a freehold basis by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The embassy will soon relocate to premises near Lumpini Park.

Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of JLL, said the embassy's move offers a rare opportunity to secure a large site in the heart of Bangkok's central business district.

Listed and non-listed developers, as well as financial institutions and multinationals looking for a prime site, have expressed interest in submitting an offer. All parties are well qualified in terms of financial strength and reputation, Mrs Suphin said.

Apart from a strategic location, the site's long, rectangular shape measuring approximately 70 metres (frontage) by 160 metres, with the frontage facing South Sathon Road, holds appeal.

Any new project developed on the site should fully benefit from the Bangkok plan that defines Sathon as an area of high-density, mixed-use development with an allowable floor area ratio of up to 10:1.

The sales campaign for the embassy site began in March. The EOI tender will close in June.

"After the tender closes, there will be a number of processes to follow such as shortlisting, sale and purchase agreement, security deposit payment and due diligence," Mrs Suphin said. "As a result, we expect the transaction to be completed in the final quarter of 2017, when the successful tenderer will be unveiled."

Prateep Tangmatitham, chief executive of SET-listed developer Supalai Plc, said his company is interested in the embassy plot and will ask the company's board about it next month.

"It is quite difficult to design a project on the plot, as its shape has a narrow frontage and there are many buildings surrounding," he said. "The land price should not be as high as many have estimated."

Mr Prateep said a feasible building on the plot would be no higher than 40 storeys because of setback limitations. A small soi behind the plot necessitates a setback in the architecture.

With many residential projects surrounding the plot, an environmental impact assessment is another concern.

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