Tsunami delays Jungceylon opening

PATONG: It has been decided to delay the opening of the Jungceylon shopping, entertainment and hotel complex until October, seven months later than originally planned, because of the tsunami.

Jungceylon public relations and events supervisor Khemawat Pudpuang told the Gazette this morning that the management team, meeting after the tsunami, decided not to open the centre in March, as originally intended, “because they were worried there would be no tourists.”

He continued, “We also talked with people who were to rent space here, and everyone agreed to postpone the opening because there would be no tourists immediately after the tsunami or during the following ‘green’ season.

“We pointed out to them that it would be better for them if we delayed opening the center than it would be for us to open on time and have them paying rent without having customers. They accepted what we were saying and decided that it would be better to wait until the start of the next high season.”

K. Khemawat continued, “A few businesses that had already reserved a space canceled after the tsunami, but most of them were small traders.

“The big businesses, the kind that will attract customers – and other tenants – stuck with us because they felt that the tsunami was a natural disaster and … will not really damage the potential of Phuket tourism.”

So far, Jungceylon has cost two and a half times its projected cost: five billion baht instead of the budgeted two billion.

K. Khemawat said most of the three-billion-baht overrun had gone on finishing the interior, including the creation of the indoor lake and fountain, which will contain a large-scale model of a junk trading ship.

“We wanted to use quality materials on the interior and create a good experience for our customers,” he explained.

Jungceylon occupies 55 rai of land off Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd in Patong. The complex will have two hotels – Burasari and Four Points by Sheraton – a seven-screen SF Cinema, bowling alley, game zones, a Carrefour supermarket and “Little Phuket” – an “entertainment zone” of bars and restaurants.

More information can be found at the website www.jungceylon.com

Phuket News

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