Yangon’s skyline is set to rise

From four buildings with more than 20 floors, Yangon is destined to welcome more high-rises in the next five years.

“Yangon is a clean city, if you look down from Shangri La Residence Tower,” said John Anderson, managing director of Meinhardt Myanmar.

“In five years, it will be dusty as lots of construction works take place. The activities will be 10 times higher from now. They will be everywhere,” said the executive of a multidisciplinary engineering firm which has secured 35 projects in two years and a half.

It needs not to be asked, many of construction projects in the pipeline are high-rise buildings, with over 20 floors, as local and foreign investors team up to raise Yangon’s skyline.

At present, there are only four buildings with over 20 floors up – Sakura Tower (20 floors), Shangri La Residence Tower (20), Traders’ Hotel (22), and Centrepoint Towers (25). In the past 12 months, over 10 are being planned, for completion from late this year to 2016. And some of them have rushed to earn the title as the tallest building in Yangon or even in the country.

Tracking this development, skyscraperpage.com locates 25 complete and planned buildings with over 10 floors on its Yangon map, though some are not yet accounted for including the 34-floor Diamond Inya Palace. Excluded from its list is also December Construction Co’s 44-storey tower. Named “Shwe Gone Office and Apartment Tower”, once completed, it would be the tallest building of Myanmar, standing beside the Sakura Tower and Traders Hotels. Though, on its map, there is the 38-floor 555 Merchant Street building.

Yet, the biggest project in terms of value so far belongs to Yoma Strategic Holding. Named Landmark, the LUXURY HOTEL complex will house four high-rise buildings and the Peninsula Hotel which will require an investment of US$350 million.

Trailing behind is Dagon City 1, the $300 million-worth mixed use project by Marga Landmark, a joint-venture of companies from Hong Kong, South Korea and the UK. The project includes branded retail zones, international standard A-grade offices, a five-star hotel and apartments.

Construction boom followed the reengagement of Myanmar with the global community. Since 2012, the economy has witnessed an influx of foreign investors which sparks extraordinary demand for office and residential space amid tight supply of good quality venues.

Yangon is the epicenter of this wave, following President Thein Sein’s speech in 2011 when he took power. Then, he urged his government to rebuild Yangon into a modern city like Singapore.

A large number of architectural and engineering consultants have descended to the city to satisfy this thirst.

When announcing the contract to manage Diamond Inya Palace, Archetype Group’s Yangon office managing director, Mark Petrovic, said “Many of the region’s developing cities are encouraging the addition of high-rise buildings to their skylines to promote a more sophisticated urban image.”

Meinhardt’s Anderson said that demand for expertise is high as most of local construction companies have built only shophouses in the past four decades.

Saying that more high-rise structures would come in line with urbanisation, Anderson has one concern.

“There will be a bubble after that (five years from now),” he said with high confidence, adding that over 300 condominium projects are being planned.

Unlike elsewhere, buyers there are offered only brochures and have no idea what the final product will be like, he noted. Plus, there is no law on the title deeds of land on which condominiums are built, which will pose the ownership problem later on. There is no law to govern the condominium development activities either.

The first Building Code is still in the drafting process, after the work started in 2011. In the Upper House on October 1, Deputy Construction Minister Soe Tint said that it would be based on the standards enforced in Britain and the United States.

As the market waits for new residential units and commercial space, rents keep escalating, consequently drawing more investment in Yangon, the largest commercial city. Land prices are skyrocketing, making it impossible for low-rise development.

Scipio Services, a real estate consultancy, noted that demand is on the rise from the influx of more Asian and western organisations as 2015 approaches.

“Given the current near-exponential trend in market rates, we expect prices to continue their trend upward for commercial and even more so for residential at an alarming rate until 2015; though this is largely dependent upon the continued diplomacy, reform process, security situation, and 2015 elections,” it said in a report.

Mushrooming dots

Name /No. of floors
Shwe Gone Office and Apartment Tower 44
555 Merchant Street 38
Diamond Inya Palace 34
Centre Point Office Tower 25
Traders Hotel 22
Sakura Tower 20
Golden Hill Tower I, II 20
Maw Tin Tower A, B 18
Kanbawza Tower 16
Dagon Centre 16
Yangon Commercial Tower 15
Royal River View Condominium 15
Chinatown Point Centre 15
Classic Strand Condominium 14
Hotel Yangon 14
Pansodan Business & Residential Tower 13
Panda Hotel 13
FMI Centre 13
Stadium View Condominium 12
UMFCCI Tower 12
Grand Meeyahta Executive Residences 11

Source: The Nation

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