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Magnolia Breaks Jinx with Waldorf, Green Touch

By on Jul 24, 2012 in Property News

Strong sales top 30% as locals and foreigners flock to book luxury units

Many had come and failed. So when Magnolia Ratchamdamri Boulevard, a leasehold mixed-use project, was hatched, it was facing formidable headwinds.

Four firms had tried to get their projects off the ground at a 6.5-rai plot near Erawan Shrine in the prime Ratchadamri intersection. They included illustrious names like Ritz Carlton. Many more unofficial bids since 1998 had tried to break the jinx. None made it.

But the latest mega project set to rise 56 floors in the downtorsn district  offering 316 residential units from Bt 170,000 per square metre has taken off with a vengeance.

“One of our big concerns was the market’s response to leasehold project,” says Magnolia Finest Corp managing director Thanawan Chaiwatana.

“Traditionally leasehold titles are not as popular as freehold ones. So we knew we really needed a great product to win over buyers.”

“We are still surprised at our sales so far. They have exceeded expectations. About 30 per cent of the units have been booked.”

Foreign interest in Magnolia has also been strong and Thanawan expects a healthy take-up rate during promotional sales in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Thanawan, 39, says apart from the pristine location in the high-end neighbourhood, Magnolia has benefited from the Waldorf-Astoria name.

The US chain will manage the hotel portion of the project.    

“We are also the first in Southeast Asia to have a Waldorf. The other four in Asia are in China. Shanghai has the first Walfort, which opened two years ago. It has been so successful, the chain wants more Asian properties.”

“Waldorf’s reputation is unrivalled,” he adds. Initial negotiations with potential chains narrowed down to the Hilton group when it offered its prime Waldorf super-luxury product.

Thanawan, who is a civil engineer by training from Chulalongkorn University, says another key element that prompted buying was the stunning design that incorporates green LEED-certified standards.

“We spent months to develop an environmentally sound architecture,” he says.

“One rai has been devoted to gardens while green landscapes will make the estate appear natural and balanced.”

Aware of the need for clean air and good ventilation, especially in the smog-rich inner city, Thanawan says ints green engineering works will funnel fresh air from the roof top and distribute it down the tower.

The use of multi-filtering systems will make the ventilated air safe and hygienic.

 “Air from the top is cleaner,” he notes. Most buildings in Bangkok siphons air from the side, which can be contaminated.

Application of LEED standards include recycling water, conserving power and cutting carbon emissions.

Thanawan says Magnolia prides itself as one of the more green-oriented companies in the Kingdom.

Its several housing projects in past years made efforts to comply with environmental standards.

“We are a responsible company,” he says. “Magnolia Ratchadamri is expected to be completed in three years.”

Its Environmental Impact Assessment approval should be ready in a few months, he adds.

The project, which was originally thought to be worth Bt5 billion, has been re-valued at Bt6 billion.”

Magnolia Finest is part of the DT Group, headed by Tipaporn Chearavanont, daughter of CP Group chairman Dhanin Chearavanont.

Part of the confidence in the project comes from DT Group’s affiliations.

“Magnolia Ratchadamri will be the flagship of Magnolia’s real estate port-folio,” says Thanawan.

The managing director obtained his master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University, New York.

Source : The Nation 24 July 2012

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