Approval given for $23.2 billion development project in Cambodia

A $23.2 billion development project in southern Cambodia has been given the green light by the government, with construction set to begin in March, the head of the scheme said Wednesday.The first project of its kind in the country, the plans include residential, business and tourist zones, according to Chheang Sophanna, executive director and head of international sales for Pallas Group, and will also involve recreation facilities, such as a film studio and an equestrian center.Sophanna said the aim is to create a world-class destination, while his company’s website describes the vision for the site in the southern province of Kampot as a “French Riviera City.”

Speaking to Kyodo News, he said the Cambodian government had given the scheme the green light on Oct. 12, and construction was expected to begin in March.According to the company’s website, the site will occupy 6,056 hectares of land on the gulf of Thailand, while company documents seen by Kyodo News showed a planned smaller development in neighboring Kep Province will cover 144 hectares.The company is also eyeing Thailand and Vietnam for similar schemes.“The French Riviera Marina and Kep Marina projects will become world-class destinations for living, business, tourism and film production. Pallas will create thousands of jobs during the construction with more than 50,000 direct and thousands more indirect employment opportunities servicing the developments,” said the company’s Vice President Siriluck Choochart.“Each of our projects has been designed to be in complete harmony with the environment utilizing advanced construction methods and the highest grade materials. They will be the last word in exclusivity and luxury,” she added.According to the plan, the French Riviera community in Kampot will offer a secure oceanside parkland community consisting of hotels, villas, apartments, a water park, private and artificial beaches, a golf course, a marina, an amusement park and a shopping center, among other facilities.It will also play host to schools and a health center, and its areas will be interlinked by canals and cable cars.When contacted for confirmation, Hing Thoraxy from the government’s Council of Ministers said he had partly signed the approval, and that the government supports any investment that will help boost Cambodia’s tourism sector, economy and the livelihood of the people.However, he said, the project would need to go through the normal governmental procedures during the implementation phase and construction.The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia in 2015 was recorded at nearly 5 million, the majority of whom visited Siem Reap, home of the Angkor Wat temple complex in northern Cambodia.When the new projects are complete, foreign tourists would be able to stay in Cambodia for longer, as they would have more places to visit and to stay, said Sophanna.Utilizing modular construction methods and new technology in building materials, Pallas Group is planning to also invest in a site in Siem Reap.