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Robin T-Thoughts and ideas

contributing editor Robin T

on investment in Thailand

I met a Canadian guy once down there. He had tried to be completely legitimate and went through the BOI. He wanted to build a prawn farm for export – long storey – he invested around 60M Baht (around 10 years ago) and they persuaded him that Trat province was a special development area, low tax incentives blah blah. You do not need to hear the sorry tales that ensued and the mafia taking over his crop once it matured etc. He lost most of his investment and was on his way back to Canada when I met him. I dont know if he managed to resell the land?

editor: yes, 60m is probably better in the bank in some other country.

new 6 rai project development notes

I think there were some nice developments out around horsehoe point, never been inside but there must be somewhere in Pattaya where a development has been done successfully? I cant believe the rubbish I see sometimes, when I think of what I have seen in Spain for example (of course much more expensive now but 20 years ago prices were probably equivalent. What concerns me is the way the locals can turn a place into a complete slum. Ive been here so long that I must be immune, but a pal of mine visited bkk recently and said he couldn’t get over how much the place stank, how filthy everything was (outside the confines of his hotel) and the appalling state of the footpaths (virtually unusable and extremely hazardous). I had to suppose he was right. He didn’t stay long and flew off to Singapore (you get 10 years in jail there for littering a public place). As you said, some of the charges in high rise condos can be extortionate (just a way of thieving money ) because they were not set up properly with audited accountability and so on. I rented in one, and, because the large percentage of local owners hadn’t paid any maintenance, none was done and the vitally important lift broke down. I was on the fifth floor and moved out before it was repaired. It also had a cheap, but effective, surface pool installed (the type like a large tin can and plastic liner). No maintenance was done on that and it became unusable after 6 months because the filter pump had seized after being flooded by rain. It was emptied and never refilled. The manager spent all his time on the golf course and refused any direct contact with falangs – a nightmare. Last time I saw the place it was a complete dump with rubbished dumped all over the foyer (no common areas cleaning). This was in central road Pattaya, but I have heard tell of nightmare places in Jomtien also.

Those houses I did were just the typical cheap bungalow that you see around pattaya, probably come out at 150-200k without finishings. Personally I don’t rate them much, they are cheap and it shows. Imagine your 120m2 house on 2 stories? Say 4 beds And a real Hollywood style living area. If you had say 15 houses or so, individually tailored but still with the enclosed compound and spacious recreation area starting at 3M Must be better than 30 @ 1M

editor: Yes – there are some nice houses around Pattaya, but they normally start at about 7m or so. I’m re-evaluating the project depending on the land parcel I get and the circumstances. Now I’m thinking of a higher end low density really premium house development – that will develop slowly. keep posted.

Japanese development notes

I remember around 10 years ago, a large Japanese bank tried to negotiate for several 100 rai out near the country club. They wanted to build an exclusive old peoples housing complex for around a thousand retired Japanese citizens. They were prepared to pay serious money for the right deal. All the local politicians were all in favour (especially those with golfing interests) but it got overturned by the then government. The complex could not be 100% occupied by foreigners at any price and there was no way Japanese would live next to non-Japanese.

editor: yes, the Thai government can be stubborn and inflexible at times.

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