Chea Sophara Criticizes Stalled Hotel Project

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara Thursday criticized the standstill in construction of a 12- story hotel near the Olympic Sta­dium Thursday, calling the unfinished structure an eyesore. Con­struction has been halted for years as a result of a court case be­­tween Cambodian and Singa­porean investors.

The standstill in construction “affects the beauty of the city and looks very bad,” the governor said. “However, the dispute in this case is very complicated.”

Construction of the hotel on Ne­hru Boulevard was started in 1995 and was supposed to be completed in 1998, said Kao Sopha, the attorney for the Singa­porean investor who is involved in the joint-venture with a local company.

There are three investors involved in the construction of the $30 million building, which was to have more than 200 rooms, a restaurant and meeting halls, Kao Sopha said. Construction ground to a halt after the 1997 factional fighting, Kao Sopha said.

The Singaporeans control a lar­ger share of the investment and have been unwilling to relinquish control, he said. The Cambodian investor has a 9 percent share and the two Singaporean invest­ors share the remaining 91 percent, according to Kao Sopha.

Lawsuits have been filed in Phnom Penh Municipal Court by all parties involved, he said. Kao Sopha declined to disclose the names of the three businessmen.

Chea Sophara said the construction stoppage has not violated any laws, and he suggested that all parties in the dispute negotiate to resolve their differences. “I will write a letter asking them to resolve the case as soon as possible,” the governor said.

Further, Kao Sopha said, completion of the hotel could create hundreds of service industry jobs.


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