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Convention center proposals fail to hit pay dirt

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Convention center proposals fail to hit pay dirt | Thaiger

PHUKET: Three firms have proposed sites for Phuket’s International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC), but none afford the sea views that have long been considered a ‘must’ for the project.

Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit, who heads a committee formed to make a final decision on where to site the project, yesterday afternoon heard the proposals at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall.

Phummisak Hongsyok said his firm Anuphas and Sons Co Ltd was prepared to allot 165 rai of its 1,600-rai Chao Fa City project off Chao Fa West Rd. The area, which is already home to the company’s Honda dealership showroom, was offered as a site for the ICEC in July, 2003.

K. Phummisak, a former Phuket City mayor and current member of the National Legislative Assembly, pointed out that the site is centrally located near Central Festival Phuket.

The newly-paved Muang Chao Fa Rd ensures quick access to Kathu and the entire site sits in a “yellow zone”, where structures up to 23 meters tall are permitted, said K. Phummisak, who also heads the Phuket Real Estate Club.

Anuphas and Sons Co Ltd is prepared to invest about 2 billion baht to build the center and allow other firms to invest, either by renting or through a joint venture, he said.

Bangkok-based Chonthicha Property Co Ltd offered 150 rai on Luck Kongsri Rd in Rassada, near the new Phuket Provincial Juvenile and Family Court building.

The site, accessible from both Thepkrasattri Rd and the Sapam-Samkong road, is also centrally located.

The company is prepared to follow all government conditions and can develop the land under either a sale or rental agreement, said its representatives.

Chonticha is prepared to invest in the project construction, either alone or in a joint venture. The company has 250 rai in the area and is prepared to offer more land if needed, the representatives said.

Tri Eagles Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Three Dolphins Group, whose holding’s include Mom Tri’s Boathouse and the Trisara resort in Cherng Talay, proposed a 30-year lease of 155 rai near Thalang Chanasuk Memorial Field in Thepkrasattri.

Advantages of the site include easy access to the airport and luxury hotels, as well as its own water supply from tin mines, Tri Eagles’s representative said.

Development would not negatively affect nearby communities and the flat terrain would make it easy to install infrastructure and utilities, she added.

The Tri Eagles proposal did not specify whether the firm is prepared to invest in construction.

In closing the meeting, Gov Niran said that two plots of government land at Mai Khao were still being considered. However, while both plots offer impressive views and easy access to the airport, critics have argued that the sites are too far from the island’s major population centers.

At the meeting were representatives from ING Funds (Thailand) Co Ltd, a firm expected to play a major role in funding the project.

As it has been ING Funds’ willingness to fund the project in Mai Khao that has sparked the latest surge of interest in the project, Gov Niran asked ING’s representatives to discuss with landholders the possible joint development of the project and to submit detailed plans to the committee within 30 days.

The committee will then take another 30 days before forwarding its findings for final approval to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS).

MoTS Minister Dr Suwit Yodmanee has said he wants the interminable delay in finding a site for the ICEC to finally come to end during his tenure.


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