The beautiful historical Burmese Railways administration building in the city centre of Yangon is to be turned into a 200,000 m2 of mixed use residential, commecrical, retail and hospitality project.
YANGON- For travellers who have not been yet in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon, a time bomb is now ticking: in a few years time, the city centre of the mostly colonial-style city might change beyond recognition as many new projects are taking shape. Most of them include the construction of skyscrapers which will of course completely change the physiognomy of Yangon city. One of the most attractive area in the city centre is the corner where the former Ministry of Railways head office is located. The beautiful neo-gothic style building will not disappear.
However, it will now be part of a US$350-million mixed use “landmark” project, a spokesperson for the company planning the project said two weeks ago.
Serge Pun and Associates (SPA), in conjunction with Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings, announced on November 20 that it would redevelop the company’s 10-acre plot, which houses FMI Centre, Grand Mee Ya Hta Hotel and a heritage-listed building, into a 2-million-square-foot mixed-use residential, commercial, retail and hospitality project at the heart of Yangon’s central business district.
Cyrus Pun, SPA group’s director responsible for real estate development , told The Myanmar Times on November 28 that the Grand Mee Ya Hta Hotel would be demolished, while the former Burma Railways Headquarters building would be restored and developed into a 5-star hotel that will form the prestigious heart of the project.
“It’s a great location and will become a landmark of Yangon when it’s completed,” Mr Pun said, adding that the company is in the process of seeking Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approval for the project.
“We are blessed with a fantastic location – we are right by Bogyoke Market where we can get the most traffic, we have an historical building on site – it’s one of the 180-odd heritage listed sites in Yangon under the Heritage Trust, and I’d say it’s one of the more prominent ones,” he said.
Assuming Yoma Strategic’s shareholders approve the proposed transaction the project will be owned by MIC-approved Meeyahta International Hotel Limited (MIHL), a joint venture between SPA as the Myanmar partner and Yoma Strategic as the foreign partner, which announced its intention on November 19 to buy an 80 percent interest in MIHL with the associated rights to participate in the development of the 10-acre site, a Yoma Strategic press release dated November 20 said.
When completed, the project will include two office buildings, two serviced apartment towers, two hotels and one retail mall. The expected cost of the project is about $350 million, he said, adding that the company is in discussions with Myanmar Investment Commission to obtain approval for the development and seek an extension of the land lease, which is set to expire in 15 years but has the possibility of extension, to 70 years.
Mr Pun said the first building would not be delivered for about four years. “The design of the project will take a year to complete so we’re looking at the end of 2013 to start construction. And the first part of the site will probably open three years from then, so we’re looking at a four-year timeframe before the first part can be delivered to the market,” he said.
In another development, Mandalay Golden Wings Construction company unveiled plans in October to build the country’s tallest building in Yangon’s Mayangone township.The company has started work on the US$60-million, 34-storey Diamond Inya Palace building on a location near Inya Lake, and expects to be finished by the end of 2015.
Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.