Plans for ‘Khmer style’ eight-story building fall by the wayside
A 10-story building on Sisowath Quay, which government officials last year said illegally violated City Hall plans by having two extra floors, is set to become a hotel, according to workers there and promotional material.
In August, municipal and Ministry of Land Management officials criticized the towering, peach-colored building, set across from the Hotel Cambodiana, as illegally diverging from its approved plans for an eight-story “Khmer style” structure by becoming a 10-story vaguely Western-style edifice.
While the building has remained largely dormant since completion last year, a sign recently placed on its rooftop announces “The Landscape Hotel.”
Construction workers yesterday knocked down the building’s original entrance doorway and were making some other cosmetic changes to tiling and windows.
“We are renovating it into a hotel,” said a foreman, who declined to give his name. “There is not much change. You can see just the door and ceiling.”
The renovations will not include removing the two extra floors, as government officials have requested, the foreman said, adding that he knew neither the scheduled date of completion nor the new hotel’s opening.
The owner of the building, Tong Seng, CPP deputy governor of Kompong Speu province, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Sing Sochara, deputy director of the municipal department of land management, urban planning and construction, said he was not aware of any renovations at the 10-story building and that the municipality, officially speaking, still expects the building’s owner to remove the two additional floors.
“It is still wrong as long as the two modified stories are not knocked down and it is not turned back to the original design,” Mr Sochara said, though he could not offer an answer as to what might happen if the two stories were not removed.
Mr Sochara added however that turning the building into a hotel was a more acceptable option to the original plans of housing a university, as the hotel does not have the “structural capacity” to hold the weight of a large student population.
Phoeung Sophoan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, said in August he was investigating the building after he learned it would be used as a university. He had also called the two extra stories “illegal.”
Contacted again yesterday, Mr Sophoan said that he was no longer investigating the building as it was under 3,000 square meters in size and was therefore outside his jurisdiction. He also didn’t know about the building being converted into a hotel.
“I could not comment on the structure as I did not see the designed plan,” Mr Sophoan said.