The Irrawaddy

Sule Square Developers Slapped With Harsh Fines

Sule Square, in downtown Rangoon.

RANGOON — In what is believed to be one of the first harsh punishments handed down to Rangoon’s developers, the city’s municipal body has said that Sule Square project developers will face fines of over 2 billion kyats (around US$1.6 million) for breaching building regulations in the construction of the 23-floor structure.

The Sule Square commercial complex—being built adjacent to the existing Sule Shangri-La Hotel, formerly known as Traders Hotel—included two extra floors for which the developers did not have permission to add.

The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC)’s initial approval for the project was issued in January 2013 and was based on the original project proposal, comprising two basements, 20 floors and a penthouse. The revised plan submitted by the developer just before the end of March this year included one basement and 23 floors, though the building maintained the same height—just over 302 feet—at which the YCDC’s approval was granted.

Apart from the two extra floors, the most apparent differences are smaller scales of a public space and public toilets. The project’s original proposal promised a public space of over 5,000 square feet and nearly 900 square feet for public restrooms. But the project’s revised plan scaled down both of those designs—with only 1,300 square feet allotted for public space and 500-600 square feet for restrooms.

But after negotiating with the YCDC in last month, the developers agreed to modify the public space and public restrooms as originally proposed.

“They will pay over 2 billion kyats in fines for all the differences from the initial approval that they were constructing,” U Than Htay, head of Yangon City Development Committee’s (YCDC) building department, told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

Aung San Win, secretary of the YCDC’s High-Rise Inspection Committee, said last month that there had been about ten findings which were different from the plan YCDC initially approved.

The complex is expected to open in late 2016.