Central Group buys British Embassy land for 20 billion baht
Despite facing criticism for selling the land, the Central Group’s offer price was high enough for the Brits to sell off more of the prized parcel where the British Embassy sits in Phloen Chit.
Voice TV reported that Central Group, one of Thailand’s biggest family-owned conglomerates, won the land for a record-breaking bidding price of over THB20 billion for the 23-rai of land on Wireless Road, which sits at the center of the busy business district of Bangkok.
The price works out to THB2.2 million per square yard, the highest rate ever in Thai real estate trading.
Central Group has broken the same record before when they bought the first 9.5-rai from the British Embassy for THB900,000 per square yard. That piece of land is now the luxurious Central Embassy, which took its name from the British Embassy.
Prin Chirathivat, Executive Director of the Central Group, previously told Prachachat that CPN, the Group’s property development and mall management company, planned to put the group’s largest investment into the land. He revealed later that the plan is to turn it into a huge mixed-use property connected to Central Embassy.
A petition called “Save the British Embassy Bangkok” was launched in 2016. Richard Leitch, who started the petition, said that they didn’t want the historic land with its beautiful architecture and huge trees, to become a lifeless and faceless office building or shopping mall. The petition received little support, however.
The criticism over selling the land stems from reports that the parcel was reportedly gifted to the Brits by the late king in the 1920s so, therefore, the British should not be able to sell gifted land. However, others have said that the land was purchased fair and square by the British government. Either way, it’s a glorious old landmark in the city.
We are making inquiries to see if this sale means that the British Embassy has sold all of their land. If so, the colonial buildings that sit on the Ploen Chit parcel will likely be leveled to make way for commercial development while the Embassy would need to be relocated.
For those that haven’t had the chance to visit, the compound holds historic buildings, including the ambassador’s residence, tropical gardens, ponds and a statue of Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth has also visited the Embassy on at least two occasions.