White Building families agree to price drop

Source: Khmer Times

Residents of the White Building gather for a meeting to decide the next stage in their negotiations after a majority agreed they want to leave. All that remains are the terms to be agreed upon. KT/Mai Vireak

About 85 percent of 493 families being asked to sell their White Building homes have dropped their asking price to $1,800 per square meter, but insist they will not negotiate any lower.
The agreement came at a meeting of about 100 people at the White Building yesterday.
White Building citizen representative Hun Saran said that if the price drops lower than $1,800, the residents will not leave. She said they also want the government to exempt them from tax when ownership is transferred.
About 90 percent of the residents earlier agreed to leave the building rather than keep an apartment.
They originally asked for between $2,000 and $2,200 per square meter to give up their properties. But the Japanese investment company behind the redevelopment of the building offered $1,263 per square meter.
White Building resident Eng Seng, 80, said the price of $1,800 per square meter would enable tenants to find another home in the city, since their families have jobs and businesses near the building.
She said, “If the price goes lower than this, we won’t accept and we will just continue to live here. We will only sell if we can afford to buy another house in the city. We won’t leave if we have to move to the suburbs.”
Land Minister Chea Sophara previously said the ministry would attempt to negotiate a higher price for residents, but doubted it would increase by much.
“If we negotiate with the investment company, the compensation will probably increase by $100 at most,” he said.
He said it would cost investors $21 million to pay compensation of $1,200 per square meter, a figure based on a property company evaluation of the building.
According to the Land Ministry website, the White Building development will cost $70-$80 million, including temporary accommodation for residents.
They plan to make the building 21 floors, with three floors of parking, one floor for stores and five floors for accommodation – which they claim will be 10 percent larger.
The investors Arakawa will own everything from the ninth floor up.


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