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Review orders dramatic changes to Yangon high-rises

Yangon authorities have told 12 developers to drastically change their project designs, in the first round of feedback following a drawn-out review of high-rises across the city, according to documents released yesterday, seen by The Myanmar Times.

Developers have responded with anger and frustration, accusing the local government of lacking transparency because its assessment criteria were not made public.

The decision, if legally binding, is likely to result in significant losses for the companies and investors involved – in many cases developers have already sold units on floors that now cannot be built.

In one of its first acts after taking office, the Yangon Region governmentsuspended all planned projects in the city with more than nine floors, even those already under construction, to ensure that all development approved by the previous government was in line with draft zoning plans for the city.

Despite promises that it would be quick and pain-free, the review has dragged on, spooking investors, while construction workers have seen their wages cutand sales of construction materials have slumped.

Yesterday’s results, which were given directly to developers, detailed the outcome of the first round of inspections; 52 projects are still suspended and awaiting a verdict.

Some of the initial 12 projects appear to involve international investors, thoughThe Myanmar Times was unable to confirm this with the companies by press time, so cannot name any projects or investors. See below for details of the projects and the changes demanded by Yangon government.

U Kyaw Kyaw Naing, developer of i-Green company, who is building a 12.5-storey project called Sein Lae Aung Condominium on Sein Lae May Yeikthar Road, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that he was disappointed the government had told him to build to just six floors.

“I say there is no transparency,” he said.

“We believed this civilian government would be transparent, but that was totally wrong. We have no idea what kind of standards they used to assess our projects and they did not discuss the review with us. They simply came to their own conclusions.”

His project is not yet finished but is already 10 storeys high, he said.

“When the committee came to inspect it, it already had more than six floors. Their inspection was also very bad. They did not look at the project closely, only from a distance, yet they decided we must reduce the number of floors to six. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

He said customers have already bought apartments on higher floors, a problem he has no idea how to solve.

“This is very upsetting, not only for developers but also for customers who bought our condominium rooms. We cannot solve this problem as we did nothing wrong; we were building under a legal construction permit. So we have to ask the government to take responsibility,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Naing.

The government’s actions will not only upset local developers, he said, but will also deter foreign investors and hurt the construction industry, with a knock-on effect on economic growth.

“Real estate development is a huge business that supports many related industries, so anything that hurts this market will hurt the entire economy.”

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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