HKR arrives in Bangkok luxury market
Hong Kong-based HKR International is making a big push into the Bangkok luxury residential market with two new residential projects worth about Bt18 billion.HKR, which owns and operates Sukhothai Hotel, is currently finalising sales at its 196-unit Sukhothai Residences on Sathorn Road.
After recording 70-per-cent sales and transferring titles of these units worth about Bt6.5 billion, HKR is now selling the remaining units worth another Bt3 billion.
Prices are between Bt240,000 and Bt400,000 per square metre - among the highest in Bangkok.
HKR executive director Ben-jamin Cha yesterday said the address symbolised the firm's adherence to quality and taste.
He employed the talents of Sukhothai Hotel's creators such as Ed Tuttle and Kerry Hill to blend the 7-rai (1.1-hectare) condo with the 21-year-old hotel.
Cha, 39, said he was pleased to begin two new projects in Bangkok that include a 3.4-rai plot at the Alliance Francaise grounds on Sathorn Road and a 7-rai plot on Wireless Road.
The new Sathorn project is still in the early stages and is not expected to start before midyear. The Wireless estate is set to begin in 2014. Both projects are a joint venture with City Realty, a property arm of Bangkok Bank.
HKR holds about 49 per cent of the joint-venture company, Cha said.
"When we started Sukhothai Residences six years ago, we were targeting mostly foreign buyers," Cha said. "Today, our market is mainly Thai."
As the US and European markets are bogged down by debt and a slump, Southeast Asian markets remain resilient and appear to clock moderately healthy growth in the coming years, the group noted.
The economic contraction that followed the 2008 crash on Wall Street affected all property players and changed the landscape of transactions, Cha said.
In Thailand, the political strife, which saw the seizure of airports and razing of downtown malls and banks by rival factions, also had a damaging impact on investment in the Kingdom.
Today, the Thai market is recovering. The past crises seem to reinforce the value of prime properties in Bangkok.
"We are now able to raise prices by 10 per cent," Cha said.
The condominium grounds form part of an overall 28-rai estate.
The hotel was part of the Beaufort chain that was created by Cha's uncle, Payson Cha, and Amanpuri founder Adrian Zecha.
From the onset, Sukhothai's objective was to set a new breed of city hotels, moving away from loud, glitzy 400-to-1,000-room properties to a more exclusive 200-room establishment.
The concept soon caught on and Sukhothai became ranked among the world's best hotels, sparking many copycats, none of which was able to captured the affection of Sukhothai's loyal patrons.
HKR, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1989, rose to fame when it started Discovery Bay, an exclusive housing project on Lantau Island, in the late 1970s.