Gaysorn sets out Bangkok expansion plans
Property firm aims to make Amarin Plaza the next piece of its Ratchaprasong empire
published : 22 Apr 2023 at 07:36
newspaper section: Business
writer: Kanana Katharangsiporn
Gaysorn Property Co, a luxury developer and one of the largest freehold landlords in Bangkok's Ratchaprasong area, is poised to continue shaping the commercial and shopping district to maintain its position as an iconic destination.
Charn Srivikorn, the company's chairman, said the Ratchaprasong area is exceptional because it has served as Bangkok's premier lifestyle hub for a significant period of time, boasting a wide range of high-end shopping centres and luxury hotels.
"As a member of the area, our company aims to build an impactful urban node in the heart of the city," he said. "This district benefits the economy and people of Bangkok while helping to burnish its image."
The Srivikorn family owns significant portions of land in the Ratchaprasong area, dating back to their ancestors.
Mr Charn's elder aunt, Thanpuying Somsri Charoen-Rajapark, initiated the family's first real estate development project in 1957.
Mr Charn Srivikorn, chairman of Gaysorn Property Co.
"It was S&C Supermarket, which was Thailand's first self-service supermarket," he said. "My father and aunt began property development on both sides of Ploenchit Road near the Ratchaprasong intersection."
Mr Charn's father Sudhipong also co-developed the Siam InterContinental Hotel in the mid-1960s.
He was a founding shareholder in Siam Piwat, the developer of Siam Center, which opened its doors in 1973, and he led its development.
After his father passed away, his mother rented out a land plot in 1982 to the founders of Amarin Plaza, which was renamed The Erawan Group in 2005.
His mother and the founders -- the Vongkusolkit family, the Wattanavekin family and the Jenwattanawit family -- developed Amarin Plaza Building, a shopping centre and office space that opened in 1984.
"Our company's property development business started that year," said Mr Charn. "That was when I got to know the project during the design process and learned postmodern design, including the Roman column tower of Amarin Plaza."
FROM CRISIS TO LUXURY
Gaysorn Property developed Gaysorn Plaza, Thailand's first luxury shopping centre, which opened in 1994. It was a joint venture with developer Quality Houses Plc.
With a total area of 41,500 square metres, it comprised a mall on five floors and three floors of office space for rent.
In 1997, Mr Charn, who had amassed significant experience in the banking and investment sector, including playing a key role in bringing various property companies to the stock market, was asked by his mother to return and assist the family business.
"My first undertaking was the renovation of Gaysorn Plaza as the 1997 financial crisis affected many tenants who were brand franchisees and needed to shut down their businesses," he said.
Mr Charn met with LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company, and proposed the idea of establishing a luxury house within Gaysorn Plaza, which was subsequently renamed Gaysorn Centre.
"LVMH introduced us to Hongkong Land, a property investment group based in Hong Kong, which has a joint venture with us in Gaysorn Centre as we were restructuring the shareholders and buying stakes back from Quality Houses," he said.
Hongkong Land currently holds a 49% stake in Gaysorn Land Co, while Mr Charn and his family own 51%.
CREATING AN URBAN VILLAGE
After completing the renovation of Gaysorn Centre, Gaysorn Property constructed Gaysorn Tower on an adjacent plot that was previously occupied by Naraiphan, a Thai handicraft centre. The company rented this plot from the Phahonyothin family.
The two buildings were then linked to form Gaysorn Village in 2017.
"The house-of-luxury business model underwent a significant transformation in 2012 as luxury brands began to require larger spaces than what we could provide at the time. This marked the inception of Gaysorn Tower, which later evolved into Gaysorn Village," he said.
With expenditure of 3.5 billion baht, the 30-storey Gaysorn Tower has an area of 63,000 sq m. It houses shopping areas, health and wellness centres, and office spaces for rent.
The office spaces registered the highest Thai rent per sq m per month at 1,600 baht.
The company is renovating Amarin Plaza, opposite Gaysorn Tower, with the aim of integrating it into Gaysorn Village. Total investment for the renovation is 1 billion baht.
When the Erawan Group decided to solely concentrate on the hotel industry, it approached Mr Charn to inquire whether he intended to purchase Amarin Plaza before the 30-year lease for the plot expired in 2015.
"We took it over a few years before the end of the contract, years before Covid-19, and spent the pandemic period redeveloping it to minimise the impact on the existing tenants," he said.
Amarin Plaza, which has been renamed Gaysorn Amarin, plans to change the usage of its area.
Lettable office space will be increased from 20,000 sq m to 24,000 sq m by converting some parking spaces into a co-working space operated by JustCo, said Mr Charn.
Lettable retail space will be reduced from 19,600 sq m to 17,600 sq m by redesigning some areas on the fourth floor into common areas. The fourth floor will also feature infinity escalators connecting it to the ground floor, he said.
Scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2023, Gaysorn Amarin will comprise four key components: fashion, food, life and wellness, and workstyle.
Mr Charn said the company anticipates a 30% rise in revenue compared with the period before the pandemic, with the break-even point for renovation expenses within five years.
"By linking with the Ratchaprasong Walk, this new jigsaw will be integrated into Gaysorn Village as an urban node," he said.
"We are shaping this area to be part of one of the world's most desirable tourist destinations. We bring the places together to provide people with a place to visit, work, play and evolve."