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Amata’s chief business officer Somhatai Penichewa told VIR about the development while in the company of Amata Corp founder and Thai billionaire Vikrom Kromadit during a recent visit to Vietnam.
What is the reason behind Amata’s concept to build industrial cities, each consisting of an industrial park closely linked to an urban area, like Amata Commercial Complex (ACC)?
Amata is not just an industrial park (IP), but the “Perfect City” initiated by industry. When investors come, we want to have everything completed in our area. So we have to check industry needs and then meet those demands. We found that they came here, not just for working but also for living.
But, for that they need services. That’s why we built Amata Commercial Complex (ACC). It is the second component of a typical Amata Perfect City that we have done successfully in Thailand, which comprises an industrial estate and a commercial complex.
By developing this commercial complex, we want to create a new city where infrastructure, utilities, facilities, amenities and living environment meet high-quality standards.
Can you elaborate on its progress so far?
Covering 20 hectares at the front of the already-built Amata IP, the complex is located on National Highway 1A in Bien Hoa City, just 4km from Dong Nai port, 20km from ongoing Long Thanh airport and 25km from Saigon New Port. Normally, an IP is not in the city. But, we are in the city and that makes a big difference.
We picked a location for our perfect city based on the complex’s needs for access to transportation, availability of appropriately skilled workers, provision of water and electricity, ability to handle solid and liquid wastes and proximity to executive housing, commercial services.
Developed under the urban Amata model where people can live, study and enjoy entertainment, the complex will have a hotel, shopping malls, office buildings, recreation and services centres, a health clinic, condominiums and villas to serve expatriates in Amata Industrial Park and in the surrounding industrial estates and offer a new living style for people living in Bien Hoa City.
We welcomed our first tenant, Honda Showroom, before the ground-breaking in 2009. Another project already in operation is the Amata Service Center (ASC), which was developed by ourselves, with an occupancy rate about 60 per cent with 5,181sqm office of space for lease.
The biggest achievement till the current time is welcoming Lotte Vietnam Shopping, a member of Lotte Group, one of the leading retailers in the world, to invest $40 million to build the third Lotte Mart in its chain of supermarkets. It will open by the end of 2012. Lotte Mart will consist of retail and recreation centres, café and restaurants, cinema and other facilities. Lotte Mart will play a very important role in ACC as well as in Bien Hoa as a commercial centre.
With those achievements, we hope that we can fulfill ACC within five years.
Amata Corp. is Thailand’s leading developer and manager of industrial estate. Amata Corp. now consists of 15 companies (shareholders) and all involved in industrial estate. They have three industrial parks (IPs), two in Thailand with the area of about 6,000 hectares, to be expanded to 10,000ha within this year and one in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, Vietnam with the area of about 700ha. Amata contributed about 10 per cent to Thailand’s GDP (including FDI and Amata group investment), approximately $30 billion last year.
Amata (Vietnam) was established in December 1994, with the Thai partner holding a 70 per cent stake and Vietnam’s Corporation for the Development of Bien Hoa Industrial Zones (Sonadezi) contributing the balance. Amata (Vietnam) officially became a joint stock company in late April 2009 and later raised its chartered capital to $20.4 million from $17 million. So far, Amata Vietnam has leased out nearly 99 per cent of the industrial land area (700ha), to 128 investors with a combined capital of around $1.8 billion.
Amata Commercial Complex is the new project of Amata Vietnam with the area of about 20ha, located at the gate of Amata IP, planned to develop with commercial hub, office building, residential area (apartment buildings and executive villas), hotel and convention centre, sport and recreation centre, banks, international schools, medical centre and Amata Square.
How will you develop ACC?
To fully develop ACC, land plots shall have three options, namely leased to investors, joint ventures with professional developers and self-developed by Amata. With some projects, we have to develop by ourselves like ASC. For other projects, we have to lease to investors then they develop by themselves like Honda or Lotte Mart because Amata is not keen on managing everything. We just do what we are good at. However, there are still some projects that we need to cooperate with professional partners such as with hotels, villas and condominiums.
At the moment, we are looking for a reliable partner to develop a combination of office building, hotel and convention centre, which will integrate many other necessary facilities for Amata’s clients. To plan for a perfect city, Amata has awarded the master planning work to Surbana, a leading consultancy and township designer from SSingapore familiar with Vietnam with outstanding projects such as Novaland’s Sunrise City, Phu Long Estate’s Dragon City and Nam Cuong’s Nam Cuong Residence to plan and make arrangements
What is ACC’s mission and future in Bien Hoa? What do you expect from the development of ACC?
Amata Commercial Complex is the only place in Bien Hoa where there is still more room for township development as competent support for industrialised Dong Nai province. ACC will develop and nurture new businesses and communities to function as catalyst for growth into a new destination for Dong Nai province. It will be the pioneer complex model in Bien Hoa and the best destination for new residential experiences, international businesses and modern lifestyle. Hopefully, ACC will contribute to upgrade Bien Hoa to be a centre of the south like Ho Chi Minh City.
Also, the site is surrounded by industrial estates, residential townships and other mixed use developments so it is potential to create job opportunities to enhance the local labour force.
Its mission is to provide tourists, investors and home owners with an urban area where all modern conveniences and comforts could be found in one place as a self sustainable enclave with integrated community, new businesses and environmental friendly ideas, to provide new modern commercial hub of Bien Hoa and a tactical commercial plaza in the area for festival and exhibitions (Amata Square). Together with Amata IP, ACC will be the perfect city, where people work and live in a controlled environment with full access to commercial, educational, health and recreation facilities.
It is said that Amata will carry out a giant project in Vietnam, the Amata Express City. Can you elaborate on this?
This is a milestone for Amata’s investment in Vietnam. It is in line with our strategy to expand the industrial land, to accommodate business relocation as well as demand for manufacturing expansion. Although the project has been approved by the prime minister in principle, we are at the moment still waiting for Dong Nai authorities to allot the land area to us so that we can move to the next step of detailed planning and feasibility study. We are looking forward to much support from the government so that the development of this project can move on smoothly and rapidly.