The quest to build Phnom Penh’s tallest building may soon become a race.
Last year, the Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation, parent company of Canadia Bank, announced that it would build a 24 story office tower on the corner of Monivong Boulevard and Russian Confederation Boulevard.
Now competitor Vattanac Bank is seeking approval to build a similarly tall building directly across from it, in front of the railway station—and Vattanac’s tower could be completed first.
“The building is designed by a foreign architect using elements based on Angkor Wat combined with modern design,” Chhun Leang, an owner of Vattanac Bank, said Wednesday.
“The plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Land Management already,” she said.
The Council for the Development of Cambodia approved Vattanac’s $30 million tower on April 22, according to CDC documents.
Chhun Leang, who is also building an enormous residence on Norodom Boulevard, said her office building, which will house the headquarters of Vattanac Bank, will be 18 stories tall.
“It is opposite from the new Canadia Bank…but my construction is by Singaporean standards. The space between floors is greater. The height is not really different,” she said, comparing her building with Canadia’s.
Chhun Leang said that she has requested that the Ministry of Land Management finish its review soon so construction can commence.
The architect of Canadia’s tower said that his building will not be completed in 2006 as originally scheduled. The office building, which will house the headquarters of Canadia Bank, will be delayed until 2008, he said.
“We are working on a new plan,” architect Chea Vuthy said. “The first plan did not satisfy my boss.”
Chea Vuthy said that in the new plan, an extra two stories have been added to the tower, making it 26 floors in addition to the basement.
When Canadia’s tower was announced in June of last year, some observers worried that skyscrapers could ruin the low-rise ambiance of central Phnom Penh while also failing to find sufficient tenants to justify their existence.