More could be done to benefit developments along the riverside

For developers, Phnom Penh’s riverside area is a hotspot with a significant number of new residential and projects. This has proven the popularity of riverfront developments among Cambodian and foreign buyers alike.

There has been growing interest in Phnom Penh’s riverside locations, particularly for residential condominium units and shophouses. “Properties along the riverside are good for investment,” according to Chan Mlop Sokha from Sokha Law Firm. However, there is a lack of retail and entertainment establishments in the Chroy Changva part of the city and it seems that Phnom Penh does not make the best use of its riverfront. 

With the natural charm and beauty of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers, riverside locations can attract both local and foreign buyers. Along the Tonle Sap river, today’s popular tourist programs include riverboat tours with tourist attractions and dinner cruises on the water. 

”We should have a well-established community centre. We could convert some parts of the Phnom Penh river port into a community hangout area filled with dining and shopping stalls. A good example would be something like Asiatique Riverfront in Bangkok where they converted old warehouses into a community centre which can attract millions of people,’ said Chhayleang Nguon, CEO of Ratanaka Realty. 

Outside of Cambodia, waterfront properties in prime locations are always of high value and serve as a good investment. In Bangkok, the most prime location in the riverside has already been transformed into a world-class tourist spot that includes major five-star hotels, luxury condominiums, shopping malls and other historic buildings such as major temples, markets, and the Grand Palace.

In order to create the best use of the riverfront area, it will require government support and, to be fair, this cannot be done under the current city planning. At the same time, this does not mean promoting only new developments - preserving historic buildings is even more crucial. Otherwise, land on the riverside could be sold to develop new developments and the city of Phnom Penh itself will lose the charm of the river.

Purposed land use along the riverside should be drafted, allowing the appropriate land use that will serve to balance the charm and beauty of the activities with low-rise buildings, hotels, entertainment venues and historical spots etc. 

Currently, there are parks and boardwalks along the river for public use, but more works and upgrades should be done. Better transportation with more piers and ferries connecting different parts of the riverside would also increase the popularity of the riverfront properties. 

As Phnom Penh continues to grow and with more developments in the pipeline, I believe we will see a further transformation of the Phnom Penh riverfront. The question is whether we can preserve the charm and beauty of the river while being able to achieve economic returns for investors on the properties in the area.

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