Work On Nongchan Mall Postponed Until Year End

Construction of the planned Nongchan Shopping Mall in central Vientiane, which was expected to begin this month, will be postponed until the end of this year, the developer has announced.

Krittaphong Group Co., Ltd. said officials in chargea of the project only recently finished negotiations with shop owners at the existing Nongchan market where the shopping mall is to be built, in which merchants agreed to move to make way for the project.

For this reason, the start of construction had been delayed.

“With merchants still operating there, we couldn’t examine the condition of the soil. We are now about to start examining the soil,” the Director of the Group’s Department of Investment and Planning, Mr Chanthiva Prasasouk, told Vientiane Times yesterday.

An official from the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department declined to comment on whether the displaced shopkeepers would be offered retail space or whether they would be compensated in any way. But he requested an official letter so that the department could consider giving an interview on the matter.

The Krittaphong Group took over the project last year from the original Lao and Vietnamese investors, who were reportedly encountering financial difficulties.

The group will build a six-storey shopping mall and a multi-storey building that will serve as apartments and offices for rent.

Mr Chanthiva said the building housing the apartments and offices could be 11 storeys or higher, adding that the plans are still being finalised.

“The final plan should be finished by next month,” he said.

The complex will be built on an 11,500 sq m site on the Nongchan marsh in Sisattanak district. The investment cost was initially estimated at US$90 million, with a 70-year concession that could be extended.

Under the initial plan, the shopping mall was expected to be finished next year while the apartment and office block was set for completion in 2017. However, the delay means the eventual completion date will likely be pushed back.

The Nongchan Shopping Mall will be located next to the high-profile Vientiane Centre Shopping Mall which opened recently. The Krittaphong Group and a Chinese business partner were joint developers of this project. Unlike the Vientiane Centre Shopping Mall which has a focus on high-end brand name products, the Nongchan Shopping Mall will target middle-class customers.

IT equipment and other consumer goods will be on sale at the Nongchan Shopping Mall, according to Mr Chanthiva, who said the group is seeking business partners to jointly develop the project.

The government granted a land concession to the original Lao and Vietnamese investors and a ground-breaking ceremony took place in May 2008. The investors announced they would complete the complex by 2012, but today only a single storey concrete shell has been built, as can be currently seen on the project site.

Officials said the original investors struggled to source sufficient financing to carry out the project, so the Krittaphong Group took over the project and revised the original design.

Source: Vientiane Times