New, 15-Story Hospital To Be Built in Capital

A large private hospital, which could rise as high as 15 stories, is slated for development on Phnom Penh’s Norodom Boulevard, said Sok Kong, president of Cam­bo­dian Petroleum giant Sokimex, which is jointly funding the venture with Vietnam’s Cho Ray hospital.

The former Landmark Hotel, located near the corner of Street 154, is the targeted site for the new hospital. Sokimex paid $1.8 million for the property, Sok Kong said Tuesday. He said the current building, which stands five stories high, would not be torn down but would be renovated and significantly enlarged.

“I have requested permission from the government for 15 stories,” he said. “But I don’t know the answer yet.”

The new hospital, which will be constructed to international standards and have 200 beds, is ex­pected to open in late 2005, Sok Kong said.

Using the existing building as the base for the hospital will dramatically lower construction costs, he added. He cited a project cost of $10 million, compared to an estimate of $50 million to $60 million just two months ago.

Government permission to turn the old building into a 15-story hospital will not be a matter of contention, a municipal official said.

“It’s not a problem to build a tall building in Phnom Penh, it is a good sign of development,” said Soun Rindy, the municipality’s deputy cabinet chief. He added that the municipality was unlikely to reject any investment projects proposed by Soki­mex.

The other investor, Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, ag­reed to construct a Phnom Penh branch under a bilateral agreement to boost joint investment, according to Nguyen Thanh Duc, press attache for the Vietnam Embassy.

Minister of Health Nuth Sok­hom welcomed the development of a large private hospital in Phnom Penh but warned that the ministry would not tolerate sub-standard facilities. He added that in many cases, state-run hospitals are a better choice for patients, both because of their relatively low cost and their access to specialists.

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