Japan’s Mitsubishi to Invest in Downtown Rangoon Development

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 2 October 2013

RANGOON — Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation has teamed up with Yoma Strategic Holdings to turn a section of prime Rangoon real estate into a massive shopping, residential and office development, according to a statement Tuesday.

Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Estate signed a memorandum of understanding with Yoma Strategic, Serge Pun & Associates (SPA) and First Myanmar Investment Co. (FMI) to invest in the project. Burmese businessman Serge Pun’s is chairman of a Singapore-listed conglomerate Yoma Strategic.

The 10-acre project will be built in the area around downtown Rangoon’s colonial-era railway office, adjacent to the Bogyoke Aung San Market and Traders hotel, on which the FMI Center and Grand Mee Ya Hta residences currently sit.

The project—which includes four glass and steel high-rise towers in a large complex connected to the red-brick colonial building—has previously been valued at US$350 million, although the size of Mitsubishi’s agreed investment has not been announced.

The statement said the development will finally be approximately 2 million square feet of residential, office, retail and hospitality space.

Andrew Rickards, Yoma Strategic’s chief executive, said in the statement that the project will create an “iconic centerpiece” for Rangoon’s burgeoning business district.

“We believe the experience and expertise of Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Estate in developing large scale mixed-use developments worldwide will help the project to achieve the highest global standard,” he said.

The Japanese partners will be involved in the planning, design, construction and operation of the project as well as providing technical assistant, the statement said.

The project brings together Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s largest general trading company, and one of Burma’s best known businessmen, Serge Pun, or Thein Wei, who has interests in real estate, agriculture, automobiles and luxury tourism in Burma.

Other than the Mee Ya Hta building, which is being closed down ready for demolition, it is unclear which other buildings in the area will have to make way for the project.

An artist’s impression provided by Yoma Strategic shows that the development will be high-rise, apparently in contravention of a new zoning law being discussed by the city’s authorities and urban development experts, which will restrict building around Rangoon’s historic buildings.