The South Korean company behind the long-stalled Gold Tower 42 has again promised to resume construction on the $240-million skyscraper in Phnom Penh, telling officials from the Ministry of Land Management that work would proceed this month and wrap up in 2018.
Huy Vanna, director general of the ministry’s construction department, said on Tuesday that Yon Woo Cambodia Co. Ltd.—the owner of Gold Tower 42—had informed ministry officials in a recent letter of its intent to restart construction on the 42-story office, retail and condominium space, which has stood as a 30-odd-story concrete husk at the intersection of Monivong and Sihanouk boulevards for the past two years.
“The company just confirmed to the ministry that [construction] would begin by the end of 2015,” Mr. Vanna said.
While Mr. Vanna said he was unsure when Land Management officials had received the letter, Lay Phallim, director of the ministry’s administrative department, said it had been sent in mid-November.
Mr. Vanna noted, however, that this was not the first time Yon Woo had said it would resume construction on the highly visible project, explaining that in January, a company representative assured the ministry that construction would begin in March—a promise that went unfulfilled.
“It is not good that the company just says things without action,” he said.
Work on Gold Tower 42 commenced in 2008 but was indefinitely halted in 2010 amid a funding shortage caused by the global financial crisis. Construction has been intermittent since, with the building site sitting dormant since 2013.
If completed, the tower would be among the tallest in Phnom Penh. The Vattanac Capital Tower boasts 39 stories and stands at 188 meters tall.
Chhin Jin-tong, who put down a $1.1 million deposit with Yon Woo for 400 square meters of retail space on the tower’s first floor when units first went on sale, said on Tuesday that he had not been informed about plans to resume construction.
“No, I didn’t receive any information about that. They [Yon Woo] didn’t tell me,” Mr. Chhin said, adding that he had not been in communication with the firm since 2011 or 2012, and that his deposit had never been returned.
Asked whether he would move into a finished Gold Tower 42, Mr. Chhin said he doubted he would ever have the opportunity.
“Now, I don’t believe anything because the construction has not yet been restarted and the company hasn’t told the customers if they will reconstruct,” he said, adding that he had only heard about the firm’s January promise through local media reports.
Thida Ann, a senior associate director at real estate firm CBRE in Cambodia, said that Gold Tower 42, if finished, would be a boon to the city’s real estate market if only because it would erase a blight on the city’s skyline.
“It would make for a good image for Phnom Penh because at the moment, I also am not happy with the half-complete construction in the middle of the city,” she said.
© 2015, Kang Sothear. All rights reserved.