Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that a 600-metre building would be constructed in Cambodia, though he did not mention specifics and similar projects proposed in the past have stalled before construction.
The premier referenced the skyscraper in a speech at the graduation ceremony of the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, as part of an explanation of why the Kingdom still needs Chinese investment.
“Now, buildings are very tall [in Cambodia], they are not just 10 or 20 storeys tall as they were before,” he said. “A future project will be 600 metres tall, equal to 133 storeys.”
Such a building would be the fourth-tallest building in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia. Similar plans to build a spectacular skyscraper in Cambodia have been raised by officials in the past, but none have yet materialised.
When asked what building the prime minister was referring to, Ministry of Land Management spokesman Seng Lot said he could be referring to plans by Kith Meng’s Royal Group to bulldoze the Hotel Cambodiana, a Phnom Penh mainstay located on the riverside.
“It’s just a plan for now . . . the company, Royal Group, asked for authorisation for this project,” Lot said yesterday. “The Hotel Cambodiana will be destroyed, and [the company] will build a new [600-metre tall] building there.”
Contacted yesterday, Meng and other officials at Royal Group declined to comment.
Phuong Sophean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Development, said yesterday he was unaware of which 600-metre-tall project Hun Sen was referencing.
“I don’t know – we [at the ministry] have a lot of buildings and many projects,” he said. “I don’t know where he wants to build this one.”
Sophean himself presented plans for one such project in 2013. Named the “Samdech Techo Hun Sen Dragon City”, the $80 billion satellite city located north of Phnom Penh was due to include a 600-metre-tall building which would have served as Hun Sen’s headquarters. The project never got off the ground.
Another possible tower would be the Thai Boon Rong Twin Towers, a $5 billion joint project by local firm Thai Boon Roong and Chinese contractor Sun Kian Ip Group. The two companies were given the go-ahead in 2016 to build two 500-metre, 133-storey towers on the land currently occupied by the former amusement park Dreamland, near the capital’s Independence Monument. Construction on the towers has been delayed several times, and the project has not yet launched.
In yet another case, Hun Sen unveiled plans in 2010 to build a 555-metre-tall Diamond Tower on Koh Pich. That project was initially scheduled for completion in 2017, but no significant progress has been made on construction yet.
Currently, the country’s tallest completed building is Vattanac Tower, which stands at 185 metres.