Nobody knew what to expect when Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi outbid other suitors to snatch beverage-and-property giant Fraser & Neave of Singapore for $11.2 billion in 2013. Now comes news of the first offspring of the Frasers property unit: One Bangkok, a $3.5 billion development in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district. The project, touted as the largest investment on a single site in the city, is being developed with Charoen’s privately held TCC Assets (Thailand), through which he controls vast land parcels in Thailand, including this one.
Spread over 41 acres, it will be a mix of office towers, hotels, residences and retail. Reports say it will include a 90-story skyscraper. “This is all on a scale unlike anything we’ve seen before,” notes Simon Landy, executive chairman of property consultancy Colliers International Thailand.
Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi, 39, Charoen’s youngest child, is overseeing One Bangkok. While his older brother, Thapana, works on the liquor, food and beverage side as president and chief executive of flagship Thai Beverage, Panote, group CEO of listed property arm Frasers Centrepoint in Singapore, is in charge of the family’s international property interests.
The site, along Rama IV and Wireless roads, snug against Lumpini Park and close to the embassy district, has long been among the most desired for development. Owned by the Crown Property Bureau, it housed the popular Suan Lum Night Bazaar until 2007, when vendors were evicted. TCC and listed Univentures, which Charoen also controls, won the bid to develop it in 2014 for an undisclosed price.
Originally granted a 30-year lease, TCC won a rare 30-year extension, which Panote insists is critical to the project’s viability. He dismisses worries of a property glut, saying it will be done in stages and completion won’t be until 2025. In the process, the project should also boost values for a bevy of other properties that Charoen owns or leases in the area (see photo above), making the tycoon, says one banker, “the Regent of Rama IV.”