YCDC Green Lights Sule Square Complex

By Tin Htet Paing 10 November 2016

RANGOON— The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) has said that it has granted a Building Completion Certificate (BCC) and final permission to the Sule Square commercial complex this week after its developers paid a penalty of 2 billion kyats (about US$1.6 million) to the committee for breaching building regulations.

Both the final permission and the BCC from YCDC are essential, and allow people to occupy and begin running businesses in the building. The official launch date has not yet been announced.

The fines were settled at the municipal office last month and the building completion was issued on Monday, YCDC said. The developers were charged 15,000 kyats for each additional square foot of two previously unapproved floors.

During negotiations between the YCDC and developers, YCDC secretary Daw Hlaing Maw Oo said, “We are trying to do our best and standing firm for the public good while trying to be fair to developers at the same time,” referring to the government’s review of multiple high-rise projects that did not meet building regulations.

The developers of the 23-floor complex faced hurdles in getting YCDC’s green light for the completion certificate after they had breached multiple building regulations of the municipal body.

Sule Square is built adjacent to the existing Sule Shangri-La Hotel—previously known as Traders Hotel—and operated under the Hong Kong-based Shangri-la Group.

The municipal authority’s initial approval for the project was issued in January 2013 and was based on the original proposed plan which comprised two basements, 20 floors and a penthouse, with a public space of over 5,000 square feet and nearly 900 square feet for public restrooms, which were designed as part of a deal agreed on between the developer and the YCDC because part of the land on which the complex exists was originally public space.

Its revised plan submitted by the developer just before the end of March included one basement, 23 floors and a scaled down area for public space and toilets— with only 1,300 square feet allotted for public space and 500-600 square feet for restrooms.

After months of negotiation, the YCDC demanded developers pay a fine for the extra two floors and modify the square footage of the public spaces and restrooms as originally proposed.

The move was believed to be one of the first harsh punishments handed down to Rangoon developers by the YCDC.