Almost five years. It took almost five years to see Yangon most prestigious project to be finally approved and to break ground. Last Friday, real estate and investor Yoma Strategic Holdings in presence of Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein broke ground to Yangon downtown multi-million dollar mixed-use development project.
The project is highly symbolic of the new Myanmar and new Yangon. Officially named “Yoma Central”, the future complex is located in the vicinity of the Shangri La Hotel and Bogyoke (formerly Scott’s) Market.
The prestigious project will be officially called Yoma Central and include office towers, serviced apartments, retail space and two hotels. Among them is the heritage-listed Burma Railways Headquarters building. The latter will become the luxury Peninsula hotel Yangon. with a capacity of 88 rooms.
“This groundbreaking ceremony is the start of an exciting journey for the country,” said to local media Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic and First Myanmar Investment. “We are very excited to play a role in the transformation of Yangon into a truly international city that will continue to serve as the gateway to the rest of Myanmar”, he explained.
The project will cost over US$700 million and is considered the largest investment in a real estate project in Myanmar. Changes in government’s officials, administrative red tape and complex laws regarding heritage structure delayed the investments as Yoma Strategic had to spend three years fighting to secure two 50-year lease extensions from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, owner of the land plot.
The firm expects to have the project finished before the end of 2020 despite the delay.
Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein also attended the groundbreaking ceremony, saying that restoration of the old railway building would be a boost to Yangon’s reputation as an international tourism destination. “I hope residents in Myanmar will be happy with the results of the existing landmark hotel near Bogyoke Market,” he declared in front of local media.
Yoma Strategic will hold a 48 percent stake in the mixed-use development, including Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels controlling 70 percent of the future Peninsula Yangon hotel component.