The company behind a controversial redevelopment of the former colonial-era Police Commissioner’s office building on Strand Road has outlined its vision for a US$50 million five-star hotel, despite opposition from conservationists.
Officials from the little-known company behind the project, Flying Tiger Engineering, say the property, which the working name of The State House Hotel, will have more than 240 rooms. The redevelopment is due to be completed within two years.
Flying Tiger applied for the building in a tender in December 2011 and was chosen by Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) from 16 applicants.
President U Thein Sein informed the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on July 8, 2012 that Flying Tiger had been awarded a 60-year lease on the building for use as a hotel. Annual rent will be 7 percent of hotel revenue, along with a fee of US$14.4 million for land use and investment of K20 billion, the message said.
But the building became the centre of controversy when the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network took to the streets last year to protest against the development project, saying the government’s sale violated Myanmar’s national conservation laws.
U Than Htike Minn, managing director of Flying Tiger Engineering, said at a press conference at Parkroyal Hotel on April 30 that the redevelopment would see the building turned into a “prestigious” hotel the preserved its original architectural features.
“We heard the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network was preparing legal action against the government and our project. But our contract requires us to preserve the original structure and architectural features of the building. I hope they can accept this,” said U Than Htike Minn.
“The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore was once a post office building, and was listed as a part of Singapore’s heritage. The developers were not allowed to alter the original structure and architectural features. In the same spirit, we will try to convert the Police Commissioner’s building into Myanmar’s most prestigious hotel.”
Flying Tiger director U Sai Khan Hlaing said MIC had leased the building to the company for 50 years, with the possibility of two 10-year extensions. “The terms and conditions do not allow the original structure and architectural features of the buildings to be changed,” he said.
The project is joint-venture with unknown partner based in Singapore.
“We will confirm the identity of the partner company later,” U Sai Khan Hlaing said. “We have a very strong team to develop this project as fast as possible. We will also use local workers as well as foreign experts, which will create about 600 job opportunities for local people. We expect to finish the whole project within two years and open the hotel in early 2015.”
The hotel will have 239 standard rooms and a number of larger suites and deluxe rooms, as well as restaurants, meeting rooms, a pool and other facilities.
The building is a sprawling two-story structure that takes up a square block down the street from well-known Strand Hotel. Construction was completed in 1931. In recent years the building has served as a court complex.
Source: Myanmar Times