Sitting outside his home, looking across the street at the new Tuol Kok market, 70-year-old Chheng Hakse has a pleased look on his face.
“Before I could not sit here because there was a bad smell and garbage all around,” he said, pointing at the market. “But now I can sit here all I want.”
The new market, constructed by the Chinese company King Fortune Industry, in cooperation with the municipality, opened for business Friday. But so far, only a handful of sellers have started hawking their wares. Others are still in the process of preparing their stalls, and many are waiting until after the Pchum Ben holiday.
Kong Sophal, 50, who sells pottery, just rented a 4-square-meter stall and started selling right away.
“I like the market,” she said. “It is wide and there is a lot of wind and sunlight, not like the other markets that are too narrow.”
The market, designed by Menh Sam Oeun, is similar in design to Phsar Thmei, and is laid out so that tenants can escape easily in case of an emergency.
“I got some ideas from the owner of the company and he liked the style. But even though there are some similarities, I still did it my own way,” he said.
The market, built on land that was once home to a small squatter community, cost $3.2 million to build. There are 456 stalls, which can be rented for up to 30 years.
The market is part of a larger development project, said Khaing Huot, governor of Tuol Kok. The company gave $600 to each of the squatter families before construction began, he said.