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City by the Bay – Laguna Phuket’s urbanisation

Bill Barnett

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City by the Bay – Laguna Phuket’s urbanisation | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com

If you were going to play a soundtrack to this story, perhaps it could be started off best with the 80’s hit “We Built This City”.

If you toured the Laguna Phuket area in the year the song charted in 1985, the area was an eerie lunar landscape of a former tin mining domain. Today the virtual wasteland had been turned into a resort wonderland and the past is a far distant memory.

What’s impressive about Laguna has been its ability to rewrite the map, and continue to evolve and adjust to market changes over the years. First, as an integrated or destination resort, then as mixed-use hotel and residential community and now it is turning into an affluential urbanising resort city by the sea.

Ask travellers where Cherngtalay is, and they only get a blank stare, but mention Laguna and the recognition is clear.

When you look at Laguna’s pioneering leisure real estate model, a similar trend or evolution has occurred. It’s been a long journey that started with the investment oriented Sheraton Island Villas (now branded under Angsana), to the condominium hotel Allamanda, and onto KP Ho’s core Banyan Tree branded residences and later resort lots on the Laguna Phuket Golf Course.

Other components followed such as the vacation ownership offering that is now known at Laguna Holiday Club, a dedicated residential community tagged as Laguna Village and shift to selling landed properties instead of house lots with their signature villas and townhomes.

More traction was gained with partnerships such as the Dusit Laguna Villas, or else inhouse new brands like Cassia, Dhawa, Angsana or the entry level Laguna Park residences.

City by the Bay - Laguna Phuket's urbanisation | News by The Thaiger

Laguna’s journey from tourism to real estate today best be demonstrated in the sheer number of real estate units that well outnumbers hotel keys. In a period covering a bit more than two decades Laguna has sold 1420 properties and presently has about 435 for sale, for a total of 1855 units. Impressive considering the period hit two enormous economic downturns in 1997 and 2008, along with Thailand’s political roller coaster. In the end, real estate has emerged as the lead component of what is now becoming an urban resort city.

What is most apparent to visitors and residents alike is how the current development footprint of Laguna, along with most of Phuket is the push up into the sky. The building footprint of coastal areas is now going from low-rise structures, and now into midrise buildings of seven or more stories. Once green areas are now being filled up with tower cranes. There is a price to be paid for urbanisation and that is now evident in the growth of condominiums compared to the legacy property market of freestanding houses and villas.

Traditionally, resort property was premised on the vision of beachfront or ocean view properties. What Laguna Phuket successfully packaged was the ability to add value to back land areas and still commend premium pricing. Today lagoon aspect properties far outnumber ocean aspects and this is where the future lays, inland, beyond the beach.

As I write this piece heading into 2019 the latest Laguna property offerings reflect the overall pressure of the broader trend to smaller units at lower pricing points. This is evident in the new Dhawa offering at the main resort entrance, or the third phase of the successful Cassia. Another trend is investment properties and a new round of Dusit branded villas as well as Angsana products are rising amongst the lagoon areas.

The economic influence of Laguna Phuket is evident in the peripheral areas that are expanding, with Boat Avenue becoming a decided success and upcoming attractions like Blue Tree and Central’s upcoming Porto de Phuket.

To sum up the story, while the road trip from tin min to veritable resort city has taken many different turns, the impact of real estate as a driving force remains a clear and present example of how the development has set the standard for Asia’s mixed-use resorts most successful offerings.

City by the Bay - Laguna Phuket's urbanisation | News by The Thaiger

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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