United States Breaks Ground On New Embassy Compound in Laos
Office of the Spokesperson
May 18, 2012
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The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy Compound in Laos. Ambassador Karen B. Stewart presided at the occasion, accompanied by Mr. Phomma Khammanichanh, Director General of the Europe-America Department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, in a confirmation of the strong ties between the two nations. Following local custom, the site of the future U.S. Embassy was blessed by monks from the neighboring Buddhist temple. A Cassia tree was planted to mark the celebration. Local village, district, city and central government officials attended the ceremony along with the U.S. Embassy community.
Situated on a seven-acre site, the multi-building complex will include a chancery, compound access points, and utility buildings. When completed, the new complex will provide embassy employees with a state-of-the-art workspace.
The new facility will incorporate numerous sustainable features, including lights that automatically dim to take advantage of daylight, low consumption water fixtures, rain gardens, and indigenous and adapted plant species for reduced irrigation demand. The facility’s design targets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Certification by the Green Building Certification Institute.
The $109 million project will be constructed by B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama and Page Southerland Page of Arlington, Virginia is the architect of record. The New Embassy Compound (NEC) is scheduled to be completed in summer 2014.
Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has completed 89 new diplomatic facilities and has moved more than 27,000 people into safe, secure, and functional facilities. OBO has an additional 43 projects in design or construction, including the NEC in Vientiane.
CAMCE Investment on Monday officially launched the concept plan for their urban development project on the Don Chan riverfront in Vientiane, known as Vientiane New World.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith joins company and government officials to launch the Vientiane New World development project.
A joint venture between Lao and Chinese companies, CAMCE Investment revealed its vision of Vientiane New World to the public for the first time, as well as how Vientiane will change in appearance in the next 6-8 years following the completion of the project.
Around 200 people attended the event, including government representatives, ambassadors and representatives from NGOs and various international organisations.
The guests included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, CAMCE Chairperson Ms Luo Yan, Minister and Head of the Government Office Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune, Minister of Public Works and Transport Mr Sommad Pholsena, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Dr Boviengkham Vongdara, and other high-ranking government officials.
Vientiane New World is a bold new urban development on a scale never before seen in Vientiane. The project will encompass high rise office buildings and apartments, shopping malls, cinemas, hotels, residential villas, parks and tree lined boulevards.
CAMCE will invest more than US$600 million in the project, which is expected to take between six and eight years to complete. It is the first large-scale master planned development to be built in Laos, designed to bring the latest in modern lifestyles to the capital.
The ASEM villas are the first phase of the Vientiane New World project, located in the heart of Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong River.
The whole project covers an area of 42 hectares with a total construction scale of over 700,000 square metres, consisting of three centres: Inter national Cultural and Tourist Centre, International Business Centre and International Residence Centre, including various kinds of property forms, such as stylish walking streets, shopping malls, cinemas, offices, hotels, serviced apa rtments, garden apartments, etc.
Upstream of the project will be the VNW International Cultural and Tourist Centre, which is a stylish walking street that reflects Lao history and culture. It is a paradise for shopping, food, entertainment and browsing. It will be a sleepless city where people linger and stay. In the centre of the stylish walking street is a splash fountain square themed with the champa flower, the national flower of Laos. The whole stylish street lies around the square, with rational distribution.
Laos needs international residences and facilities to host the ASEM Summit in November and the Vientiane New World Project plays an important role in helping the country to fulfill its dream.
The Summit opens the window for the world to enter Laos, and Laos will quickly become the focus of global attention and a hotspot for investment.
Many people want to see the development of infrastructure in Laos as in other countries. Once the real estate development project on Don Chan Island is completed over the next six to eight years, Lao people will see real modernisation.
Vientiane will become a pearl of the Mekong River in Indochina, the new city centre of Vientiane, capital of Laos, and the national glory of Laos.
The rise of modernisation will not destroy the charm of the capital as it will coexist with traditional culture. Vientiane New World will bring the glory of the history and culture of Laos, while the magic of nature will create the glory of the ecology and environment of Laos.
May 24, 2012 by TTRweekly Staff
Filed under Laos PDR, News
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VIENTIANE, 24 May 2012: CAMCE Investment, a joint venture between the Chinese state-owned enterprise CAMC Engineering and Lao Krittaphong Group officially launched Vientiane New World, a mega real estate investment project worth over US$600 million, earlier this week, according to Lao News Agency.
The launching ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and high-ranking officials of both sides.
The project is located close to the Presidential Palace and the Mekong River covering an area of 42 hectares, with construction plot of over 700,000 square metres.
Construction at the site was underway last year with the first residential phase due to be completed this November.
Once all phases are completed, it will feature a cultural and tourist zone, a business zone and a residence zone. The project will include walking streets, shopping malls, cinemas, offices, hotels, service apartments and garden apartments.
ASEM Villa, the first phase of project, will be used as official residences for VIP delegates from 50 countries attending the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting in November.
The company will kick off the second phase in the second half of this year, which will consist of a cultural and tourist zone and a residence zone.
The tourist zone will have the first ever walking streets in Laos, with a large variety of local and international restaurants, shops, bars, nightclubs and the first international theatre in Laos.
The residence zone is an housing estate built to international standards, while the third phase will include business premises for local and foreign companies.
Two sites slated for development in Sikhottabong, Hadxaifong
The Nongping area in Sikhottabong district and the Dongphosy area in Hadxaifong district, Vientiane, are to be developed for residential and commercial purposes.
The area being developed in Nongping is 100 hectares, while the site in Dongphosy is 50 hectares. Concessions for both projects were granted to the Nouansavanh Construction Company.
Ms Sengkeo Phimmasone shakes hands with Mr Vixay Xavanna at the signing ceremony.
The agreement to grant a land concession for the development projects was signed in Vientiane last week. Company Director Ms Sengkeo Phimmasone signed the agreement with the Director of the Vientiane Planning and Investment Department Mr Vixay Xavanna, Governor of Sikhottabong district Mr Thongkhoun Sengdara, and Governor of Hadxaifong district Mr Chanthala Inthalangsy.
Ms Sengkeo said her company will invest US$50 million to develop the Nongping area for residential and commercial purposes.
This project will have four phases of construction. In phase 1, infrastructure will be built and the land will be zoned into industry, trade, residential and education precincts. The total cost of phase 1 will be US$3 million.
In phase 2, residential villas and various buildings will be constructed, costing US$15 million.
For phase 3, the company will spend US$20 million to build a trade centre, including a business centre and duty free shop. In addition, entertainment venues, hotels, banks, business offices and other facilities will be built.
Finally, US$12 million will be spent on medical and education facilities.
Ms Sengkeo said she would invest US$25 million to develop the 50 hectare site in the Dongphosy area.
This project will also take pl ace in four phases. Phase 1 will see US$1.5 million being spent on infrastructure development, with the site divided up into trade, service, residential, medical and education zones.
In phase 2, US$10 million will be allocated to build hotels, entertainment facilities, a business centre, duty free shop, bank and other commercial sites.
In phase 3, the developer w ill build a park, warehouse and business centre at a cost of US$7.5 million. Phase 4 will see the development of medical and education facilities at a cost of US$6 million.
Sy-led SMDC to target OFW, students with P1-M condo units
Expansion plans abroad
The listed developer also has plans to expand into China in 2013. “China is pushing through soon. The paperwork is a little more tedious,” said Sy.
According to Qua, an expansion into China is possible for next year depending on certain regulations and permits. The developer’s retail affiliate, SM Prime Holdings owns property in Xiamen and Chengdu.
Eventually SMDC will look further afield at other ASEAN country’s such as Myanmar and Laos said Sy.
Demand for housing in Vientiane is expected to boom over the next few years creating new opportunities for developers, according to real estate firms.
Real estate managers are speculating growth in the housing market will take off when Laos becomes part of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 due to strong economic growth and a rising population.
“Demand for houses and offices in Vientiane has been growing and will continue to increase thanks to increasing population and economic growth,” Rent and Buy Company Managing Director, Mr Houmphan Sayalath, toldVientiane Times .
Mr Houmphan said the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 would see an influx of foreign investment and labour, which would increase demand for accommodation in Laos and in particular in Vientiane.
He said local and foreign real estate firms in Laos were expecting to make big profits as a re sult of the economic integration.
A number of businesses have purchased large areas of land in Vientiane, planning to resell or develop them for housing later. The price of land the city has risen sharply as demand has increased.
Other real estate firm managers said the increasing personal wealth of Vientiane citizens was causing higher demand for land and houses. The average per capita in Vientiane is now above US$3,000 and is expected to continue rising over the next five years, agents said.
One major residential development currently underway in Vientiane is Nonghaew village in Hatxaifong district. Developers are turning a 6ha area into housing for low and middle income owners.
Once finished the project area will have access to water, roads and electricity. It will also be protected by a security guard.
Buyers will be able to pay for their houses in installments over 10 or 30 years in a bid to attract middle-income earners. They will be able to pu t down a 50 million kip deposit then pay around 1.5 million kip each month for 30 years until they eventually own the property.
The project developer said almost all the houses had been occupied and the company was now looking to develop a second site in another village.
More and more Vientiane residents are becoming home owners as the average income in the city rises.
A civil servant now receives a salary of about 1.3 million kip each month and the government has promised to increase the salaries of state employees every year until 2015.
The government is examining its policies on Lao expatriates’ land ownership rights in Laos so those returning to their mother country can have a place to set up a permanent life.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Lao Overseas Affairs Director General, Mr Thuan Vorasarn, spoke to Vientiane Times last week about possible changes to land laws related to Lao expatriates returning home.
“The department has proposed to the related authorities to include the issue into their considerations for the draft National Land Policy and for the amendment to the Law on Land,” he said.
Mr Thuan said about 160 former Lao residents had asked the government for permanent residency in Laos since 2011, 49 of whom had been approved. The rest are still under consideration.
The government receives applications through Lao embassies in foreign countries and through the department in Vientiane.
While Mr Thuan would not elaborate on possible policy details, he said it was logical for people to have land ownership rights once the government had approved their permanent residency.
He said the Party Central Committee Secretariat resolution on Lao Overseas Affairs called Lao people living abroad “inseparable” from the nation and saw their potential for national development.
Mr Thuan said there had be en a gradual improvement of government policy related to Lao people living abroad in recent years, including extending free-of-charge visas to visit the mother country from one month to three months . Visas can be extended for free.
About 80 percent of the 500,000 Lao people living abroad hold the citizenships of their new home countries.
Mr Thuan said no expatriates had asked to return to their original nationality but many had enquired about the government’s policy on the issue.
Under Lao law, foreigners and former citizens can be granted permission to live in Laos permanently under certain conditions, with their rights and interests to be protected by Lao law and the international conventions and treaties to which the country is party. The policy also defines the conditions of and procedures for applying for permanent residency.
Mr Thoun said the Party resolution appreciated Lao expatriates who remained proud of their former-nationality, their love for their mother country and relatives, Lao customs and culture and their contribution to the nation’s development.
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