Central Retail Corporation is taking the lead in developing the retail business in the Phloen Chit area with the unveiling of its 13-billion-baht Embassy project.
The long-awaited plan for Central Embassy, which occupies land that Central acquired from the British Embassy, was officially announced yesterday with work to start imminently and is scheduled to be completed in the last quarter of 2013.
Apart from Central Embassy, about 100 billion baht worth of investments will be poured into related developments of high-end luxury residences, premium hotels, office buildings and serviced apartments around the intersection of Wireless and Phloen Chit roads. They include Park Ventures by the TCC Land group of liquor tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, and Okura, a top-end hotel and resort chain from Japan.
"The Central Embassy project will become Bangkok's first iconic retail building," said Tos Chirathivat, chief executive of CRC.
He said Central Embassy was conceived because the company was confident in Asia's economic growth.
Given Asia's huge population of 4 billion and the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, the region offers unprecedented purchasing power in years to come.
"Of the top 30 cities by population, 19 of them are in Asia, including Shanghai, Mumbai, and Seoul. Bangkok is an important city in Asean because we are a centre of change and attract the third-highest number of tourists behind Paris and London," said Mr Tos.
He also believes global trade momentum has shifted from the US to Asia, adding to purchasing power. Driven by high-population markets in China and India, the Asian economy is anticipated to be larger than Europe's in four to five years.
Central Embassy, located on a nine-rai site, is a 37-floor complex comprising an eight-story retail and lifestyle podium and a 30-floor luxury hotel tower with 222 rooms, to be managed by the Park Tower chain, its first Thai management contract. The complex has a total area of 144,000 square metres with 70,000 sq m for retail. The company expects to break even within 10 years.
The project will lead to a 400-metre combined facade for Central Embassy and Central Chidlom, with a skybridge connecting the two. Central Chidlom will be renovated to achieve a consistent look and feel.
"We're not worried about local political and economic uncertainties," added Mr Tos. "Everybody has a role to play to boost the confidence of the country."