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White Building families given deadline to leave

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Chea Sophara

The government has given more than 400 White Building families a six-week deadline to sign contracts and move out, allowing Japanese investors to begin redeveloping the property. 

Addressing a meeting of residents yesterday, Land Minister Chea Sophara said the co-owners of 464 out of 492 units have agreed to sell up to the developers or take an apartment in the renovated building. 

Those who have agreed to leave will have one and a half months from Tuesday to complete paperwork and relocate. They will be paid $1,400 per square metre for their properties once they move out, any time between Tuesday and July 15. 

He said: “After they move out, the ministry’s working team will pass them a cheque immediately.” 

Families in the remaining 28 units are either requesting additional compensation for money spent on outdoor areas connected to the property, or have refused to sell. 

However, Mr Sophara said the company could not provide any additional compensation or increase the price. 

According to the law, if 75 percent of co-owners in the building agree to sell, the rest must also follow the terms of the sale, he said.

To help people with moving, the minister said his team would give each family $100, plus one sarong and one krama scarf. 

He said they would also throw a party for residents on June 10, with dancing and Khmer noodles.

He added: “It is election day on June 4. Do not forget to vote for CPP. Don’t embarrass me. I want support from all of you. How could you leave me alone? We have to stick together. I ask you to vote only for our commune chiefs.”  

Despite the deal being finalised, some residents continued to express concerns, saying they were unable to buy new homes. Others asked for 50 percent of their money in advance, so they could pay a deposit on somewhere new to live.

White Building resident Dy Sophanara said many families would be unable to find a new place to live without some of the money up front. 

She said: “We don’t know where to go when we leave the building. We need some money to pay a deposit for somewhere else, but we have nothing.” 

Mr Sophara however rejected the request, saying the cash would only be paid once people left. 

The 54-year-old building is considered unsafe and is being torn down to make way for an upmarket 21-storey tower block at a cost of $70-$80 million.

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