White Building Demolition to Start on July 17

The demolition of Phnom Penh’s condemned White Building will start on Monday, the Land Management Ministry announced on Tuesday, though the fate of more than 20 families still living in the complex remained uncertain.

“The Land Management Ministry wants to inform the public that the White Building…will be knocked down on July 17,” a statement posted to the ministry’s Facebook page says.

The demolition will disturb nearby residents, the statement adds, though it urges people to “be careful and cooperate.”

A ministry spokesman could not be reached on Tuesday, and officials have not explained what will happen to the 25 families—out of a total of 493 who lived in the building—that have not yet agreed to a compensation package of $1,400 per square meter for their homes.

The White Building, a low-income apartment complex built in the 1960s, was declared unsafe by then-municipal governor Pa Socheatvong in 2014, and the land is now owned by Japanese developer Arakawa, which plans to build a 21-story, $80 million multi-use complex on the site.

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