PM Announces Plans for World’s 2nd-Tallest Building

Prime Minister Hun Sen set his sights high yesterday, announcing a 555-meter tower would be built on Koh Pich Island in Phnom Penh that would become the second-highest building in the world.

Though the building, which is being planned by the Overseas Cambodia Investment Company, would be shorter than the Dubai’s 828-meter-tall Burj Khalifa, it would be taller than Asia’s highest building, Taiwan’s Taipei 101. OCIC is owned almost completely by the shareholders of Canadia Bank, but is a separate company.

“I plan this building with the private sector, 555 meters…. I think we can do it,” Mr Hun Sen said during a speech at the National Institute of Education.

The building, he said, will also reflect well on his government. “Make one very tall to match the Techo era,” he said.

Touch Samnang, the project manager for OCIC’s Diamond Island City project on Koh Pich, said the architecture plans for the $200 million, 50-story building have been submitted to engineers and ground breaking can be expected in the next several years, and it is undetermined when it would be completed. OCIC built the country’s tallest building, the 32-story Canadia tower.

“We want the world to know that Cambodia has the second-highest building in the Asia region,” he said.

The 50 stories of the antennae-shaped building will only reach 300 meters, while the observation deck will be located 500 meters above the ground with the final 55 meters being largely ornamental, he said. Excluding the building’s architectural spire and those of other tall buildings, the 300-meter height of the 50th floor would be dwarfed by the top floor of more than 30 other towers in the world.

Either way, Mr Samnang said such a tall building would be a triumph for Cambodia

“It will reflect Phnom Penh,” he said.

“It is possible. It depends on the money, right? If you have the money, you can build anything,” he said.

The 555 number he said was chosen because it is easy to remember, but is subject to change.

Renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann questioned the feasibility of such a project in Cambodia, noting that the Burj Khalifa was assembled with wealthy foreign investors in a wealthy area of the world.

“A small country like Cambodia cannot afford such a folly,” he said.

Tan Hong Kiat, the Cambodia country head of the property consultancy firm Knight Frank, said the feasibility of the project hinges on the development of the economy over the next decade.

“No one can tell, who knows. Maybe the economy of Phnom Penh could be quite significant,” he said.

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