Two new multimillion-dollar market complexes are set to open in or near Phnom Penh in the next few months, investors said this week, although observers offered mixed predictions on the likelihood that the ventures will turn a profit.
Vendors will start moving into the $4 million Takhmau Market on Thursday in anticipation of the market’s formal opening on July 18, chief investor Long Dara said.
Built on 4.4 hectares, the complex on National Route 2 in Kandal province’s Takhmau town contains 300 stalls and 200 adjacent apartments for vendors, he said. Sixty percent of the apartments, which cost $15,000 to $30,000, and 80 percent of market stalls, which can be had for $2,500 to $5,000, have already been sold, Long Dara said.
Construction on the Neak Meas Market on Mao Tse-tung Boulevard is more than two-thirds complete. With a price tag of more than $3 million, the three-story structure of 2,000 booths and some additional offices is scheduled to open in August, said Kong Triv of KT Pacific, the market’s managing company.
Though the market is located near the aging Phsar Domkor, there will be no attempt to force vendors of that market to relocate to Neak Meas, said Kong Triv, who also owns the nearby Mondial Center. “We have to make them happy and make them able to profit,” he said Wednesday. The market is offering vendors the first three months rent-free as an enticement to relocate, he added. Stalls at Neak Meas will rent for $30, $60 or $100 per month at 15-year contracts, he said.
A former investor in the Takhmau Market who later dropped out of the project, rubber and palm oil tycoon Mong Reththy said the demand for markets in Phnom Penh was already saturated.
“It looks like the hotel industry in Siem Reap province,” he said by telephone from Bangkok Wednesday. “You see now, some of those hotels are empty. So markets will be the same situation.”
With nine supermarkets, eight large vendor markets and several small local markets scattered throughout the municipality, Phnom Penh already has an established retail scene, municipal Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeun said Wednesday. But with the city’s population expanding, new markets could still find plenty of customers, he said.
“It could be no problem to add several more markets in Phnom Penh. It just needs good service,” he said.