International hotel chain Hilton Worldwide is preparing to sign a deal with local conglomerate Crown Advanced Construction to operate a hotel in central Yangon, a director at the Myanmar firm told The Myanmar Times.
The news comes more than two years after Hilton Worldwide signed a deal with Thailand-based LP Holdings in March 2013 to manage a 300-room hotel at Centrepoint Towers in downtown Yangon. The project has since reportedly run into difficulties, and has still not been completed.
The new hotel will be built as part of a K400 billion (US$324 million) mixed-use development in central Yangon called Times City, according to Siao Si, director at Crown Advanced Construction. “The operator for our hotel will be Hilton,” he said. “We haven’t signed the contract yet but have almost decided.”
Hilton Worldwide, which entered Myanmar in 2013, has an existing contract with local firm Eden Group to manage five hotels, including two at Ngapali and Nay Pyi Taw that are already open, as well as hotels in Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay, which will open over the next two years.
A spokesperson for Hilton said that due to company policy she was unable to comment, but that Hilton remains fully committed to Myanmar and is always looking for opportunities to expand its presence in the country.
The new hotel at Times City will be part of one of the first mixed-use projects to be built in Yangon. It is located on a 10-acre site owned by Yangon City Development Committee, in Kamaryut township.
“This place was originally a second hand car sales market, but in 2012, YCDC wanted to develop the land,” said Mr Siao. “After the area is developed the function of a second hand car sales market must still be retained – around 80,000 square metres will be for the use of second-hand car salespeople.”
The project will comprise 10 buildings, including two office towers, a five-star hotel, 260 high-end condominium units, 37 shop houses, a gems mall called Yatanar Mall and a 14-storey second-hand car business centre.
“On-site construction work started at the end of 2013, and the main building work is targeted for completion by the end of next year,” said Mr Siao.
The condominium and office units are priced at an average of $300 per square foot, he said, adding that residential units are slightly cheaper than office space. According to Mr Siao the land is freehold.
A majority of the condominium units have been bought, and 100 percent of the shop-houses have been sold to local businesspeople, said Mr Siao. “I am happy with the shop house and condo sales,” he said, adding that the office space is targeted at multi-national companies, but the existing laws on purchase of office space are not clear, making it difficult for prospective customers.
The contractors for the project are mostly in-house and a Chinese architect is responsible for the design, he said. Jardine Schindler has been hired to install the elevators and escalators.
Crown Advanced is also building a standalone high-end residential project in Yangon called Minyekyawswar Condominium, and has been hired as a contractor for several high profile projects including Singaporean United GP Company’s 68 Residence and A1 Group’s Sky Condo.
It has also been hired to build Sanchaung Garden Residence and Manawhari Commercial Complex, which are both being developed by local conglomerate Waminn Group of Companies.
Crown Advanced has also built a number of roads in northern Myanmar and several bridges, including the country’s longest bridge at Pakokku, which crosses the Ayeyarwady River and forms part of the India-Myanmar-Thai trilateral highway.
In addition it has built two bridges in Yangon – the Bayintnaung Bridge II across the Hlaing River and the Ngamoeyeik Bridge connecting Dawbon with Thingangyun, which will open in two months, according to Mr Siao.