The groundscraper of Sukhumvit, big projects surrounding Lumphini Park, legal drama for the massage parlour magnate at the Chuvit Garden project, Central Groups expanding mall empire, another iconic 60s hotel is gone, taking liberties with place names, and more.
Welcome to the 2024 Bangkok construction update. This is a snapshot of major projects around Bangkok that I usually compile once a year. This report is from my visit in December 2023/January 2024.
These projects are presented in no particular order. They include an image what they are advertised to look like.
Address: 444 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan, Bangkok.
The biggest project that has opened since my last update is Emsphere on Sukhumvit Road.
[Benchasiri Park and EmSphere viewed from EmQuartier.]
Emsphere is part of the Em District, which includes the Emporium and EmQuartier. These malls are owned by The Mall Group, who are playing Bangkok Monopoly in real life by owning three prime properties in one section of Sukhumvit Road.
Emsphere is between Asok and Phrom Phong on the BTS Skytrain. A new elevated walkway has been built from Phrom Phong BTS to the entrance of Emsphere, so there is no need to walk along the street.
[Elevated walkway under the skytrain from Phrom Phong to Emsphere.]
EmSphere is wider than it is tall, so it’s technically a Groundscraper. Such buildings are associated in places where there is more land available, so seeing this monolith in such a prime location of Sukhumvit Road is all the more impressive.
[The Emsphere Groundscraper.]
It’s a cavernous space with minimalist interior decorations. It had only recenlty opened when I visited, so there were plenty of people looking around.
The building includes UOB LIVE, which has a capacity of 6,000 people. This section of Sukhumvit becomes gridlocked in peak hour traffic, so I don’t look forward to the traffic when everyone is leaving a concert. Hopefully they get the BTS.
Benchasiri Alliance Hotel
Address: Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan, Bangkok.
Next to EmSphere is the Benchasiri Alliance Hotel project. Construction has begun, but I haven’t found a website for this yet.
[Benchasiri Alliance Hotel construction site.]
Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 29 (Hotel Forza)
Address: Sukhumvit 29, Bangkok.
Hotel Forza oe (Bangkok Sukhumvit 29) is a 28-storey (105-metre) hotel development on Sukhumvit 29.
Bangkok Sukhumvit 29 viewed from Sukhumvit 22.
I took this photo of a sign at the construction site. Signs for foreigners in Thailand are usually in English and Chinese. It’s a common site in Thailand to see workers from the Mekong region (Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia). Construction sites are one of the few places you see signs in neighbouring languages.
Address: Wireless, Rama IV, Sathorn Road, Bangkok.
One Bangkok is a mixed-use development featuring office towers, hotels, luxury apartments, and retail spaces.
I was in Bangkok in May 2023 and saw that the project had progressed since my last visit. I came back again in December 2023 and I was impressed that it looks like a fully-formed mini city by now. Perhaps I have been spending too long in HCMC, where their new financial centre has struggled for decades.
One Bangkok is opposite Lumphini Park, so some of the hotels and office towers are going to have a great view of the park.
[One Bangkok as viewed from Lumphini Park.]
The One Bangkok website is kept updated with news, and they added this great cover image. The greenery to the left is Lumphini Park, while the greenery to the right is Benjakitti Park.
I added more photos at the One Bangkok page.
Dusit Central Park
Address: Rama IV Road, Silom.
Dusit Central Park is a mixed-use development featuring three towers of 78, 46, and 40 storeys. Dusit Central Park is on the site of the former Dusit Thani Hotel.
The first of the three towers was topped out when I visited.
[Dusit Central Park.]
Address: 104/3 Sarasin Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok.
On the northern side of Lumphini Park is the Nimit Langsuan tower. This project had stalled and was starting to look like another ghost tower. The project restarted since my last visit, with glass having been added to most of the tower.
[Nimit Langsuan viewed from Lumphini Park.]
Address: Corner Sukhumvit Road Soi 10, Bangkok.
The 10th Avenue project was being built on a contentious block of land by a controversial developer, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that this project has ground to a halt.
I visited the project in March 2023, and the site was busy with workers preparing the foundations.
[10th Avenue construction site in March 2023.]
The construction site is now completely empty and the sales website is offline.
[10th Avenue site in December 2023.]
Before it was a park the block was filled with bars and shops that were illegally demolished, which earned Chuwit Kamolvisit a month in prison.
The park was then cleared to make way for 10th Avenue, which was going to be a luxury hotel and apartment complex. The project gets its name for being on the corner of Soi 10 (a soi is an alley) but I guess 10th Avenue sounded grander than 10th Alley.
It turns out that Chuvit had donated the land to the city, so it was not land that could be taken back. From the Bangkok Post:
“The Supreme Court has ruled on several occasions that when a land plot is donated as a public property for public use, it becomes public property and cannot be reclaimed by the landowner.”
Antihero who can even put mega villains to shame.
“Here’s the problem: Chuvit, records appeared to show, used a verbal promise to turn the land into a public park to get his jail sentence reduced. By allowing the land to become a “Bangkok lung”, he allegedly was seeking leniency from the courts after using bulldozers to demolish his tenants’ businesses in 2003 in the dead of night. It was a big case at that time and is another big scar yet in his colourful and scandalous background.”
voco Bangkok Sukhumvit 11
Address: Sukhumvit 11, Bangkok.
Sukhumvit 11 is a popular hotel and bar street in the lower Sukhumvit area (between Nana and Asok). There was a an old shophouse complex that included Cheap Charlies. The block was sold and the land is now completely cleared in preparation for voco Bangkok Sukhumvit 11.
[Construction site for voco Bangkok Sukhumvit 11.]
Address: Sukhumvit 7, Bangkok.
JLK Tower is a 31 Storey tower next to Nana BTS Station. The tower was almost finished at the time of my visit, and a skybridge connecting the tower to Nana BTS was under construction.
[Skybridge from JLK Tower to Nana BTS.]
Address: Corner Silom and Convent Road, Bangkok.
Park Silom is a 38-storey, 204-metre high mixed-use commercial/office tower next to Sala Daeng BTS. This project is now finished and shops are open in the retail area.
As the name suggests, there is a park in front of the building.
[Park at Park Silom.]
The building is on the corner of Silom and Convent Road. This used to be a busy street food area, and there were shops where the building now stands (Molly Malone’s Irish Pub was here). All the food carts have moved over to the other side of the road, and my go-to wanton noodle cart is now in a shop. Convent Road is a little less lively now with the reduced street food activity. The street was also bathed in light reflecting from the glass tower when I was there.
[Park Silom at Convent Road.]
One City Centre (OCC)
Address: Ploenchit Road opposite Central Embassy, Bangkok.
One City Centre is set back off Ploen Chit Road, and there is a big garden area in front of the building.
One City Centre is opposite the Central Embassy mall.
Central Embassy Extension
Address: Corner of Phloen Chit and Witthayu Road, Bangkok.
The Central Embassy Extension will be behind the current building. This was the site of the old British Embassy, which was sold for £420m. This 18.6 billion baht sale was the biggest land deal in Thailand’s history.
[Site of the future Central Embassy extension.]
Central Embassy is owned by Central Pattana, which is Thailand’s largest retail property development and investment company. Central Pattana is a company under the Central Group, controlled by the Chirathivat family.
Work has not started on this yet, but it was mentioned in the news during the year that Central Pattana will be starting new projects between 2023 and 2027.
Address: Phayathai Road, Bangkok.
The Unicorn is an office tower that includes the Eastin Grand Hotel. This building is now open and is connected to the Phayathai BTS Station by a pedestrian bridge.
[Pedestrian bridge connecting Phayathai BTS to The Unicorn.]
A tech company should move their office here so it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if they become a unicorn of Southeast Asia.
Address: 888 Sukhumvit Rd, Phra Khanong, Bangkok.
Cloud 11 is a mixed-use project that is being marketed as a hub for content creators. It’s also being marketed as the “South Sukhumvit Innovation District”. Calling it South Sukhumvit sounds like a marketing tactic by a real estate developer, but there is substance in the innovation district tag. Cloud 11 is opposite True Digital Park, and Phra Khanong is forming an identity as a digital hub.
There are four towers on top of a mega podium that will include an elevated urban garden. Cloud 11 is 450 metres from Punnawithi BTS Station and 500 metres from Udom Suk BTS Station.
One thing that bothers me about this area (and Bangkok in general) is the lack of street grid. As you can see on the map, Bangkok was just a series of villages connected by a big road. The terrible traffic of Bangkok is partly because all these little roads are trying to get on to the few big roads.
Read more about Cloud 11 Bangkok.
Address: Corner of Petchaburi and Phayathai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok.
Mixed-use building (hotel, office and retail), 45 floors, 4 basements with car park.
[Summit Tower next to Ratchathewi BTS.]
Address: Sukhumvit 103, Bang Na, Bangkok.
Work is underway at Bangkok Mall, which is being billed as the largest mall in Southeast Asia.
New Narai Hotel
Address: Silom Road, Bangkok.
The Narai Hotel was one of the largest hotels in Bangkok when it opened in 1968. The hotel featured a rotating restaurant on the rooftop, making it a distinct landmark of Silom Road. Hotels with rooftop observation decks/restaurants were fashionable at the time, but now they are being demolished with no thought for preservation as a historic relic.
[Narai Hotel in Feburary 2022.]
[Old Narai Hotel on the ever-modernising Silom Road.]
The Narai Hotel has now been demolished and the land is cleared.
[Narai site on Silom Road.]
I haven’t found any details online, but the cover image (above) is a photo I took at the construction site. The hotel has announced plans for two new hotels, including a hotel at the former Triple Two Silom nearby.
“After the completion of construction of the new hotel approximately in four years, Nathee said they would implement the idea of serving communities in Silom area under the concept “Be Part of Everyone’s Community”, by providing communal public areas which can be utilised by non-guests while other nearby plots are rented at low rates to small-sized businesses.”
This last quote is what interests me. Something that bothers me about modern towers is that it leaves the ground level surrounded by glass walls. The aforementioned Park Silom is a good example if this. The formerly vibrant Convent Road has now been sterilised on one side of the road. I would like to see a rethinking of how big towers can be better integrated with its urban environment at the street level.
Address: Next to Chitlom BTS.
A huge block of land has been cleared next to Chitlom BTS with a sign “Land for Long Term Rental”.
The Platinum Square
Address: Old Pratunam Market.
The Pratunam Market had been threatened with demolition for years. Here is an article from 2016:
“The sidewalks of Pratunam, the nation’s biggest clothing bazaar, are the next target for the cleanup broom powered by a government tidiness campaign.”
The market on the corner of Petchaburi and Ratchaprarop has now been demolished, and a little forest has sprung up in its place.
[Old Pratunam market site.]
There was a notice on the construction fencing about the future of the site.
Pratunam station of the Orange Line Western Extension will be here, so I presume they will build the station in conjunction with the new tower.
Central Pattana Siam Project
Address: Block A, Corner Phaya Thai Rd and Rama I Rd, Bangkok.
Central Pattana PCL (CPN) has proposed a retail, hotel, and office tower on the prominent corner of Phaya Thai Rd and Rama I Rd in the Siam Square area. Central Pattana won the bid for Block A at Siam Square on leasehold for 30 years from Chulalongkorn University.
The old shophouses of the area have been cleared and the plot of land is going green while waiting for development.
This plot of land was the site of the Scala Theatre, which was demolished in 2021.
Noble Form Thonglor
Address: Thonglor Soi 18, Sukhumbit 55, Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok.
Thonglor (Sukhumbit 55) has become one of the most sought-after addresses in the city. Thonglor BTS is at the entrance to Thonglor, but it’s a long street that takes 30 minutes to walk from one end to the other. If you are looking to buy or rent on Thonglor, then how far down the road matters if you want to be within walking distance of the BTS station.
Noble Form Thonglor is over half-way down Thonglor and is about 20-minutes walk from the BTS.
Noble Form Thonglor is at Soi 18, behind the Zhohirul Islam Mosque.
Address: 1986 New Petchaburi Rd, Bang Kapi, Huai Khwang, Bangkok.
Thonglor has become such a popular neighbourhood that adding “Thonglor” to your apartment project name will surely help shift units.
Cloud Thonglor-Phetchaburi is an apartment tower on Petchaburi Road, and not anywhere near Thonglor. I couldn’t find a definitive map showing a boundary of the Thonglor neighbourhood, but the apartment is a 15-minute walk to Thonglor Road.
This property is an instructive example of how developers take liberties with names (such as the aforementioned South Sukhumvit). I would not associate this with being in Thonglor, and I would be unhappy if I booked this expecting to stay in Thonglor.
[Cloud Thonglor-Phetchaburi on Petchaburi Road.]
Liberties are also taken with sales images. The cover photo shows the Airport Rail Link (ARL) whizzing by Petchaburi Road, with a station seemingly close by in the distance. The station that is depicted is Makkasan ARL station (next to Petchaburi MRT). That station is a 28-minute walk from Cloud Thonglor-Phetchaburi. At least the website doesn’t mention that it’s near the station. Instead, it just has a map at a large enough scale to show the ARL and BTS on the same map.
[Map showing Cloud Thonglor-Phetchaburi in Bangkok.]
Anyone who is from Bangkok knows that Petchaburi is a traffic sewer, so at least Bangkok buyers know what they are getting themselves in for. If you are one of the many foreigners buying an apartment in Bangkok, it’s always good to walk the neighbourhood of where you plan to buy.
Bangkok construction notes
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