Ashton Asoke: sold out, questions about permits and EIA

CLARIFICATION: Since publishing this story at 8.37am today, real estate firm Colliers has provided a substantial Thai language document which appears to be the EIA for Ashton Asoke. The issue may now be whether the developer is in breach of that EIA. No one from the developer has responded to my request for comment, and the story published by the Bangkok Post remains as it first appeared with all its claims intact – and no clarification.

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Ananda Development, one of Thailand’s Stock Exchange-listed developers is facing issues with one of its high-profile central Bangkok developments.

It has emerged that the prolific developer of condos close to mass-transit networks does not have a construction permit and may be in breach of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (and does not have one, as originally published), despite the project being sold out for months.

Ananda Development founder Chanond Ruangkritya, quoted by The Bangkok Post, said he is confident the Royal Thai Government will comply with the “rule of law” and allow the company to transfer condominium units at its contentious THB 6-billion Ashton Asoke project to unit buyers after a half-year suspension.

The 50-storey property with 783 units was completed at the end of 2017 is shown as being sold out on the company’s website.

Numerous units are listed for sale and rent on a number of Thai property portals.

Chanond insisted his company has done nothing wrong in its dealings with the government and investors however, the Royal Thai Government said the company’s high-end condominium violates construction regulations because it does not have an exit onto Asoke Road.

Ananda has applied for a licence from the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), which owns an adjacent plot of land that could serve as an exit. It has been delayed due to an ongoing dispute in the Administrative Court regarding the legality of the MRTA entrance scheme.

Chanond declined to comment to the newspaper on the likelihood that the building would be demolished.

“I will say that demolition is the worst-case scenario, but it’s unlikely to happen,” he said.

And in what appeared to be a veiled threat, Chanond saidthat he is ready to sell his assets, pack his bags and go elsewhere if the government pushes forward with the demolition of the property, without elaborating on how the 783 investors in the Ashton Asoke development would be compensated.