Bangkok Plans $14bn Renewal Spree Led by Top Corporations

Bangkok is gearing up for a series of renewal projects worth over 500 billion baht ($14 billion). Supported by the country’s leading conglomerates, these initiatives aim to transform the Thai capital to rival Singapore.

A colossal project is in progress opposite Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, spearheaded by TCC Group. The One Bangkok project is set to be one of Thailand’s largest private initiatives, valued at 120 billion baht.

According to plans, the expansive site covering approximately 167,000 sq. meters is set to house five office towers, residential skyscrapers, shopping areas, a concert venue, and a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

TCC’s operations encompass both Thai Beverage, the brewers of Chang beer, and real estate ventures.

Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, the group CEO of Frasers Property which is managing the project and the second son of TCC’s founder, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, emphasized that this project will act as a magnet, drawing esteemed business professionals, investors, and tourists to Bangkok.

COVID-19 caused construction setbacks, but the project’s initial phase is set to launch in March 2024. A neighboring food vendor is optimistic, stating, “Increased pedestrian movement means better business prospects.”

Magnolia Quality Development Corporation, under the influential Chearavanont family and Charoen Pokphand Group, is initiating a significant sustainable project in Samut Prakan, just outside Bangkok.

The Forestias will house shopping areas, a hotel, and living spaces. The 125 billion baht wellness-focused project has brought on Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank as a backer.

More than 20 large-scale projects, with investments reaching 500 billion baht, are slated to open in Bangkok by 2027, based on data reported by Nikkei.

These enormous ventures could emerge as Bangkok’s new iconic sites, mentioned Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon of CBRE Thailand.

The expansion of Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain system is catalyzing these major projects, encouraging wealthy corporations and property magnates to explore areas beyond the retail-filled Sukhumvit Road and into other districts and suburbs.

Central Group is collaborating with Thai hotel firm Dusit International to unveil a $1.3 billion multipurpose development in Si Lom by mid-2024. This will include a revamped Dusit Thani Bangkok hotel and shopping areas.

The Mall Group aims to launch Emsphere mall on Sukhumvit Road by the end of 2023, which will have a concert venue.

A unique aspect of some projects is their location on land leased from the monarchy, like One Bangkok and Dusit Central Park.

Environmental sustainability is a highlight of these projects. TCC aims for LEED certification for One Bangkok, emphasizing water recycling and energy efficiency in collaboration with Japanese entities Mitsui & Co. and Tokyo Gas.

Charoen Pokphand Group’s Forestias also plans for approximately 50,000 sq. meters of greenery. Eco-friendly buildings can command up to 20% more in rents, noted a Bank of Ayudhya analyst.

Project leaders recognize that green features attract global firms, commented a Japanese construction firm executive.

While Bangkok lags behind Singapore in appealing to global companies, Singapore ranked fifth in a 2022 city attractiveness list by the Institute for Urban Strategies. Meanwhile, Bangkok dropped to 40th due to issues like carbon emissions and sanitation.

Yet, many global businesses see potential in Bangkok. For instance, Nissin Foods Holdings relocated its regional hub from Singapore to Thailand in 2020.

Mitsubishi Estate recently unveiled a skyscraper in collaboration with a Thai firm, and other Japanese real estate companies are creating condos for sale.

However, Bangkok’s construction boom raises concerns about potential rent hikes. The upcoming large-scale projects might boost office and commercial space supply by over 30%, according to the Bangkok-based Government Housing Bank.