Two days after public criticism that Olympic Stadium’s rebirth was stalled, government officials and the Taiwanese firm holding the renovation contract said the project is back on track, and may be finished ahead of schedule.
“We made this mistake ourselves. We should make an explanation to the public,” said Roland Tsai, of the Yuan Ta Group.
In May, the company unveiled ambitious plans to restore the stadium and develop additional buildings nearby, including a five-story parking garage and dozens of apartment complexes.
Earlier this week, Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara, said the company “has done nothing,” and urged the government to revoke Yuan Ta’s $40 million contract. In addition, Chea Sophara said, the company had tried to sell land parcels for $60,000 each.
Both charges were “misconceptions,” Tsai said, adding that the company should have better explained its actions.
The company, run by Thai investors, received the contract in December. Nevertheless, work on the stadium’s central offices is “90 percent” completed, Tsai said.
As for accusations of profiteering, Tsai said Yuan Ta was only trying to assess future property values in the area to show the impact the renovated stadium will have on the neighborhood.
“We did some marketing surveys,” Tsai said. “We wanted to understand the prices in the future. So maybe people misunderstood that we were trying to sell the land.”
Bou Chum Serey, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, also raised concerns this week that Yuan Ta lacked the funds to complete the $3.6 million stadium phase. He suggested the government might cancel it.
Tsai did not blame Chea Sophara for the confusion and said he talked to Bou Chum Serey to clear up questions.
He said work on the outside stadium structure could begin within the week, and the stadium could be completed in “eight to nine months.”