About 20 Preah Sihanouk provincial offices will move from their current locations in Sihanoukville to a new 25-hectare compound 2.5 km away from the beachfront, if a land swap with a private company is approved by the national government.
Deputy provincial governor Phay Bun Vannak said that provincial authorities met on Wednesday with representatives of Piphup Asia Trading, a company owned by Cambodian businessman Norng Savuth, to finalize a proposal for the swap.
“After meeting with other departments, they support it because there will be high-quality buildings and a quality meeting building. Now we normally rent from hotels to hold meetings,” he said.
The new compound would house the provincial headquarters and nearly every other government department, apart from buildings belonging to the departments of education and health, along with the Cambodian Red Cross and National Election Committee, he said.
“The company said they plan to build some condos or tourist areas” on the properties that would be vacated in the city’s center, Mr. Bun Vannak said. “Even though we swap [for land] a little bit far away, we get the high-quality building.”
He said the proposal included a 1.5 km road that would be built by the company to connect the new office compound with National Road 4, adding that the plan would be sent to the Council of Ministers for review later this month.
“Even if some are unhappy with the swap of their office, we have to support the government decision,” he said. “If the government disagrees, then we will keep the same place as normal.”
The ruling CPP has proven fond of swapping prime state property with private companies in exchange for new offices in less populated areas, with the details of the exchanges often hidden from the public.
A similar swap in Siem Reap province in 2010 saw government offices move about 16 km outside Siem Reap City’s center. However, the move was effectively reversed three years later when the offices were moved back to the city, into the Apsara Authority’s office building.