TANG CHHIN SOTHY/ AFP
A Gold Tower 42 employee shows a model apartment to Im Chhun Lim (L), Minister of Land Management and Urban Planning and Construction, and Nhim Vanda (2nd L), first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management of Cambodia, in this file photo taken January 24, 2008.
Five months after going on the market, 75 percent of the units in Gold Tower 42 have been sold, the developers of Cambodia’s first skyscraper say, denying suggestions that the project’s backers have pulled out of one of the country’s most ambitious construction efforts.
Reports widely circulated in the Khmer-language press say the project has stalled after its South Korean developers abandoned construction, leaving hundreds of depositors in limbo.
“A rumor is only a rumor,” said Lee Sun Hum, director of the Yon Woo company, which is building the $240-million high-rise.
He compared the project to a slandered celebrity, saying, “Our company, being famous, must suffer from rumors created by others – it is not correct information.”
When completed in 2011, Gold Tower 42, which will include a library and medical facilities along with luxury apartments, will dwarf every other building in this low-slung capital.
Cambodia’s leaders are touting it as a symbol of the country’s revival after decades of civil strife.
But the 192-meter tower is only one of a number of large construction projects underway amid an unprecedented building boom that has increased competition among developers courting both foreign buyers and the capital’s emerging middle class.
Some 30 percent of Gold Tower’s buyers are from overseas, said Yon Woo sales manager San Sokseiha, adding that the building’s units were also popular with Cambodian businessmen and high-ranking government officials.
“Many floors have sold out even before construction started,” he told the Post, describing reports of the project’s turmoil as coming from competing developers.
“These rumors are not correct – there is no problem for the company. It has not abandoned the project.”
– PP Deputy Governor Pa Socheat Vong
Municipal officials also dismissed the rumors about Gold Tower 42, with Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Pa Socheat Vong saying, “This project is still going on, but it takes a long time to construct.”
“These rumors are not correct – there is no problem for the company. It has not abandoned the project,” he told the Post.
Many buyers appear undeterred by the whiff of scandal surrounding Gold Tower 42, saying they regarded the units as a good investment.
“With high buildings like this, Cambodia will attract investors,” said one woman who gave her name as Chakrya, adding that she recently bought one condominium for more than $500,000.