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NHA plans low-cost housing near train stations

The National Housing Authority plans to join with the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) to develop affordable housing around train stations and motorways.

This would follow the signing of a similar agreement with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority last month, Vitoon Jiasakul, director-general of the NHA, said yesterday.

The government has set a policy for the NHA to work with other state enterprises to manage and develop low-priced residential projects around mass-transit systems to help low-income earners live in a place of their own with easy access to their workplace, he said.

The first three projects with the MRTA will be condominiums at the existing Lat Phrao stations and proposed stations at Din Daeng and at Bang Yai, Nonthaburi.

The three projects will need Bt5 billion to Bt6 billion to develop residential and commercial buildings worth Bt15 billion. Con-struction will commence in the first quarter of next year with completion in the following year.

"We will develop residential projects that offer prices ranging between Bt600,000 and Bt1.5 million per unit at three locations close to the mass-transit system," Vitoon said.

The Lat Phrao condo project will offer about 300 units costing Bt400,000-Bt500,000 per unit. Whether they will be available for long lease or rent is under study, but the price for a unit with a |30-year lease might start at Bt600,000 and go up to Bt1.5 |million.

PARK AND RIDE

The Bang Yai station will have a park-and-ride facility that will combine residential and commercial buildings. The NHA will lease land from the MRTA to develop a residential project at this location targeting prices not higher than Bt600,000 per unit.

In Din Daeng, a mixed-use building will be put up in Zone D that will have condos, a hotel and a commercial building worth totally Bt12 billion.

"For the Din Daeng project, we are negotiating with the MRTA to move its station on the Orange Line from Taling Chan to Min Buri to be underground of this project. This will support our project and provide convenience for people who live there," he said.

The joint agreement with the MRTA lists three ways to develop residential projects around mass-transit stations. The first is for the NHA to sign a long lease, as it will do at Lat Phrao and Bang Yai stations. The second is for the NHA and MRTA jointly to manage stations close to the NHA's community and residential projects.

This would help low-income earners commute from home to workplace.

The third is for the NHA to form a joint venture with the MRTA to develop residential projects close to the transit system. Less than 50 per cent of the JV would be held by the NHA and MRTA and the rest by the private sector. This would ensure flexibility to develop low-income housing.

"We will use the same model with the SRT and Exat," he said.

The NHA will need more than Bt300 billion to develop residential projects according to its business plan and the government's policy in the long term.

A property fund might be launched to finance the projects, Vitoon said.

"We now are studying this option and have appointed Bua-luang Securities as our financial adviser.

"The decision on whether to use a property fund will come next year or two years from now."


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