Phnom Penh’s skyline is changing with fierce velocity, with massive new developments gracing the city every year. Residential projects remain attractive options for investors, while the rising number of multinational firms entering the Cambodian market has heightened demand for high-end offices. All in all, Cambodia has one of the most vibrant real estate markets in the region.
“Both commercial and residential property sectors are experiencing a boom; as an agent, it’s literally hard to keep up with each week’s new development,” explains David Murphy, Managing Director at real estate agency IPS Cambodia.
Looking to keep abreast of the latest development in Phnom Penh’s real estate scene, B2B asks a range of industry insiders about the developments that investors should keep an eye out for in 2016. These are, according to our contributors, the nine most notable developments in Phnom Penh that have recently been completed or will be in the near future:
All our interviewees agree: The Exchange Square, by renowned developer Hongkong Land, is a project that should be on everyone’s radar. It is a tower with 16 levels of Grade A office space and a four-level luxury retail podium for upscale restaurants, shops and gyms. This massive tower is being built at the heart of Phnom Penh’s CBD (Central Business District).
“Hongkong Land’s Exchange Square is going to be a great addition to Phnom Penh’s business environment; it’s a new class of building with lifestyle components such as retail outlets, restaurants, cafes and fitness centres,” says Simon Griffiths, Associate Director of the Cambodian branch of international commercial real estate company CBRE.
Despite the excitement generated by the project, demand for this kind of luxury office space is not necessarily guaranteed. “Obviously people are talking about the Exchange Square,” comments Nigel Doughan, Commercial Leasing Manager at IPS Cambodia, “but it will be interesting to see how much demand there is at the top of the market as Vattanac Tower still has ample Grade A space available.”
The building has, however, already secured some big-name tenants. In February, Hongkong Land announced it had leased an office unit to CIMB Bank. The World Bank is also a confirmed occupant.
The building is slated for completion by the end of the year.
This contemporary condominium development, named for its location in the heart of Phnom Penh’s diplomatic district, offers a collection of 85 premium apartments and penthouses spread over 18 storeys. A project of local developer Urbanland Asia, the building is equipped with suites, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, stylish duplexes and luxurious penthouses, and will boast an infinity pool, garden, gym and children’s play centre. The building sits in the cul-de-sac of Street 41, overlooking the Tonle Bassac river.
Ross Wheble, Country Manager of Knight Frank Cambodia—a residential and commercial property consultancy—said in an interview with the Phnom Penh Post that he had high hopes for the building.
“Having taken a tour of the showroom on Street 41, it is one of the best quality developments we have seen in terms of the fixture and fittings,” he said. “They are mainly imported from Europe, setting a new benchmark for Phnom Penh.”
The project will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2016.
On the heels of the success of Embassy Residences—which by January of this year had already sold 90 percent of its units—, Urbanland Asia began its second project, Embassy Central. Rising 25 storeys above the ground, and with only 119 units, Urbanland opted this time for a more private and intimate feel, with four lush sky gardens meant to insulate residents from the hectic world outside.
Located at an enviable location, right at the heart of BKK 1 (within strolling distance of places like Malis Restaurant and Eric Kayser), both Terry Blackburn—Managing Director of Awards and Publications at PropertyGuru—, and IPS’s Doughan believe is a project that stands out in the city’s real estate landscape.
The project will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Grand Star Platinum
“For new residential projects that set the bar high in Phnom Penh, investors are excited about Grand Star Platinum, a modern housing project from Borey Peng Houth Group, which was named Best Developer at the first Cambodia Property Awards 2016,” says PropertyGuru’s Blackburn.
Star Platinum, a gated and guarded community being built by local businessman Peng Huoth, is an oasis of luxury and comfort that lies just off National Road 1, with vast Western-style streets filled with sportscars. It offers two-storey terraced homes and ostentatious villas fitted with modern furniture.
Olympia City is a high-end, mixed-use complex by local developer Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC), and stretches over an area of 3.9 hectares north of the Olympic Stadium. The whole project consists of 13 skyscrapers, including one that will rise 60 storeys above the ground (once completed, it will be tallest building in the city), and a seven-storey shopping mall.
“The Olympia City mixed-use project, which will include residential, retail and commercial spaces, is believed to be highly anticipated among local and foreign customers,” says Blackburn.
The project is scheduled for completion by 2019.
Suncity Bassac Residential Development
IPS’s Murphy also advises us to keep an eye on Suncity Bassac, a residential development that has garnered a considerable amount of attention from investors and real estate professionals. This 21-storey, steel and glass tower, which overlooks Phnom Penh’s centre, is the second project of local developer SunCity.
On offer are 112 fully furnished condo units (1, 2 and 3 bedrooms units and penthouses) inside a building that boasts an infinity pool, fitness centre, sauna, a selection of coffee shops and restaurants, and a beautiful facade decorated with cascading vegetation.
The project is due for completion on June 2017.
Sokea International Building
Rising 5 storeys above the ground and with 10,000 sqm of office space, Sokea is a handsome building designed to international standards of safety. One of its selling points is its location: situated on the sought-after Monivong Boulevard, just across the exclusive BKK1 district, it has the potential to become a magnet for international businesses hoping to settle in the capital.
“I am really looking forward to the new Sokea International Building on Monivong with its 2000 sqm floor plates,” comments Doughan.
ECC Commercial project
Located on Norodom Boulevard, among the international consulates, the East Commercial Center (ECC), also know as Eastview, is a building complex designed for commercial and residential purposes. It consists of a 38-storey office tower, with compact and affordable units—ranging in size from 33 sqm to 66 sqm—, and 3 entire floors dedicated to car parking. This Grade B office building aims at filling a growing demand for quality offices, with international standards, but at affordable prices.
The complex also features a 32-storey, first-class residence building, offering an array of apartment styles to suit families of all sizes, in addition to a sports club, baby zone, swimming pool, and tennis and basketball courts.
“Eastland’s new ECC Commercial project in Tonle Bassac is very interesting. It will be the first strata-titled commercial space in Cambodia,” says Doughan.
ECC is slated for completion in late 2017.
Real estate experts believe Raintree will be an exciting place to take office
Another project by Urbanland Asia, Raintree brands itself as Cambodia’s first boutique office development designed for fast-growing organisations. The building houses 3,000 sqm of flexible office space. In addition, tenants have access to a loft event space and an outdoor terrace that overlooks the CBD. Its unique open-plan, flexible workspace allows for the combination of units, which can range in size from 80 to 950 sqm.
“I feel that Urbanland’s new Raintree Project will be an exciting place to take office space,” says Doughan.
The development is already home to a cluster of businesses, but an official invitation-only launch event will be held on August 26.