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ICEC location down to two sites



ICEC location down to two sites | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: After studying four proposed locations for the long-awaited Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC), project investor ING Funds (Thailand) Co Ltd has whittled the field down to just two sites: Anuphas and Sons’ 250 rai off Chao Fa West Rd in Wichit and 130 rai of government land at Tah Chat Chai.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the ICEC siting committee at Phuket Provincial Hall on Friday.

Chaired by Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit, the meeting featured a presentation by Maris Tarab, Managing Director of ING Funds (Thailand) Co Ltd.

The two proposed sites were selected by ING Funds (Thailand) for the 2-billion-baht project because of their locations, access to facilities and ease of development, he explained.

Two other privately owned sites were eliminated by ING Funds (Thailand), the only investment firm to show interest in the project after Tourism and Sports Minister Suwit Yodmanee announced the project should go forward with private investment.

Strong points of the Anuphas and Sons’ land was access and ease of development. The site, originally intended for the Chao Fa City project, is bordered on one side by a paved divided highway and has adequate water supply from abandoned tin mine ponds.

Unlike the other two privately-owned sites, the land has already been cleared and is ready to build on, Gov Niran said

However, potential problems include increased traffic congestion along Chao Fa West Rd and Wichit Songkram Rd, he added.

Prasert Temmart, representing the Phuket Provincial Public Works and Town & Country Planning office, suggested that a new bypass road – that would actually bypass the bypass road – or even a bridge from the Darasamuth School Intersection could be built to alleviate congestion in the area if the site is chosen.

There was no mention that lack of a sea view was considered a major drawback. Previous efforts to find a site for the project, going back well over a decade, had held a sea view as a basic requirement.

K. Maris said that advantages of the Tah Chat Chai site, apart from having a sea view, include that it is located along a major highway and is easily accessible from the airport. It is also next to the site of the planned sports complex, also to built on government land.

However, while the site would be more easily accessible by motorists arriving from off the island, it is quite far from Phuket’s main population centers and most hotels, K. Maris said.

ING Funds (Thailand) asked for and was granted two more weeks from the committee to study investment costs and other aspects of the two sites before presenting its final recommendation to the committee on September 19.

Also addressing the committee was the Anurak Khunyotying, Managing Director of architectural firm Axis Group, which designed a similar project in Chiang Mai and has been chosen by ING Funds to design the Phuket ICEC.

Presenting a rough sketch of the proposed design for the Phuket ICEC, K. Anurak said the project would incorporate elements of the Sino-Portuguese design, such a archways and covered corridors.

The Phuket ICEC will comprise three main sections: a 3,000-seat Convention Hall with an attached restaurant; a 30,000-square-meter Exhibition Hall with space for 900 exhibition booths; and a 20,000-sqm Arena Hall, which will be multipurpose area for music and sports events.

The heart of the center would be a large open-air lobby suitable for outdoor exhibitions. Much of project design would reflect Phuket cultural and architectural heritage, while the Arena Hall would be built as a large dome showcasing modern construction techniques and materials, said K. Anurak.

Viewed from above, the entire project would resemble the shape of a stingray, he added.

Once final approval is granted, ING Funds (Thailand) will begin construction immediately and the project could be completed in a year’s time at a cost of about 2 billion baht, he said.


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