Firms seek to resume high rise construction in Sihanoukville

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Unfinished construction sites in Sihanoukville on November 25. Hean Rangsey

The Covid-19 pandemic brought high-rise building construction in Preah Sihanouk province to a halt when it began, resulting in several business disputes that four real estate companies are now working together to solve, according to provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun.

Chamroeun told The Post last week that the number of high-rise buildings in the province had reached about 1,000 before the pandemic. Some of the construction was temporarily suspended due to the crisis and has also led to conflicts which require solutions before the construction can continue.

“To speak fairly, there are a lot of problems and concerns with these buildings,” he said

Chamroeun explained that before the pandemic, the private sector had priced the markets, land and buildings as high as $80 per square metre. When Covid-19 arrived, rents dropped to zero because no one was conducting commercial activities and the province went into lockdown at times, which led to the suspension of construction on some buildings.

He said three local developers signed agreements with a Singapore-based real estate firm in an effort to jointly resolve disputes happening in the construction of these high-rise buildings in this coastal province and pave the way for the projects to move forward. The agreement was arranged in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“Now the province begins its recovery. So the way to solve the problems has to be based on each individual situation. We encourage investors to continue to prepare, repair and reopen their buildings,” he said, adding that a few days ago some owners requested permission to fly a private plane to the province and he allowed them to come and start working on this process.

“I want the reopening process to continue,” he said.

Provincial administration spokesman Kheang Phearom told The Post on December 6 that a total of 1,661 buildings were constructed between 2017 and 2021, with a total value of around $8.4 billion. Of those buildings, there are 620 construction projects that are between five and 53 floors in height.

In 2019, he said authorities ordered that 14 buildings be demolished after engineers inspecting them determined that they were not built to the required standards or quality. Now, five of the 14 construction sites have resumed their construction from scratch.