Back in its heyday, Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River was the center of the Capital’s trade and industry. The river facilitated the transport of goods in and out of the city; as a result the neighborhoods of Charoenkrung Road and China Town thrived as commercial districts. They were what could be considered today’s Central Business District.
However a combination of general economic and urban development, gradually contributed to the decline of the area. Bangkok residents and businesses, gradually shifted to newer and glitzier neighborhoods from Silom-Sathorn, Wireless to Sukhumvit. Perhaps the biggest contributor to this shift away from the riverside was the launch of the Mass Transit Lines (BTS & MRT). This infrastructural development effectively shifted the Central Business District and re-centered Bangkok’s commercial and residential activity away from the banks of the river.
This gradual urban transformation has meant that the neighborhood now represents a nostalgic era and is often referred to as the “old city” by local residents and tourists. The area at present draws and attracts hordes of tourists, looking for a glimpse and feel of Bangkok’s historic charm.
However in a twist of fate Bangkok’s residential riverside, encompassed by 3 major arteries notably Charoenkrung Road, Charoen Nakorn Road and Rama 3 Road, has in recent years been experiencing a complete residential and commercial makeover. Rejuvenating into a completely transformed luxury address!
The Riverside’s Commercial Revival
The reason behind this sudden change in fortune, is simply the Chao Phraya River is a majestic and naturally beautiful landmark. Flowing water has a soothing effect on the soul and in an urban environment like Bangkok, the riverside’s environment offers respite and peace.
This opportunity to capitalize on one of the most scenic neighborhoods in Bangkok has not gone unnoticed. The riverside is being reinvented one development at a time and the neighborhood will soon be welcoming a slew of transformative developments.
There are currently several retail and leisure venues underway from both established and independent developers. Perhaps the most ambitious, will be Icon Siam a massive mixed-use development by 3 established Thai corporations Siam Piwat, MQDC, and Charoen Pokphand. The massive project will consist of super-luxury residences, high-end malls and a cluster of attractions (Expected completion in 2023).
ASIATIQUE 2 is another notable project, which will be a 10-Billion Baht extension by TCC of its already highly-popular ASIATIQUE Riverfront. The new project is expected to commence in 2018; spread over a 16-Rai Plot of Land it will reportedly offer a Shopping Arcade, 10,000 Sqm. Convention Hall, 3,000 Sqm. Seminar Hall and an 800 room 5-Star Hotel.
Some other notable malls already serving the local residents include Yodpiman River Walk, River City and Tha Maharaj Mall; the latter is within walking distance of the Thammasat University Campus and a popular destination for university students.
From Prime, to Non-Prime … To Ultra-Desirable Address!
Luxury developers are making ambitious and bold bets along the banks of the “river of kings”. This is transforming the Chao Phraya into a super-luxury residential address like no other. Luxury has become a ubiquitous part of riverside lifestyle experience and a multitude of landmark projects are currently under construction.
Icon Siam mentioned above is currently developing the Magnolias Waterfront Residences and The Residences Mandarin Oriental. Impressively, the latter will be The Mandarin Oriental’s first branded hospitality project in South East Asia and the units of the project have reportedly achieved average prices of 380,000 THB Per/Sqm. The most expensive Penthouse in The Residences Mandarin Oriental has reportedly achieved a whopping 620,000 THB Per/Sqm making it one of the most expensive condos in the Capital.
The Country Groups’ “Chao Phraya Estate”, will launch two luxury hotels notably Capella Hotel with 101 rooms and the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok consisting of 312 rooms. This riverfront mixed-use development, will also offer a residential component “The Four Seasons Private Residences” a hospitality branded residential experience. The super-luxury development consists of 73-Floors and 303 Units and is selling ultra-luxury units on a 75-year leasehold basis. It is reported that prices in the development are offered at eye watering range of 250-300,000 THB Per/Sqm!
Another notable development is the Canapaya Riverfront an exciting super-luxury project developed around the concept of a “Metroasis”. The 1st phase, of the Project will consist of a 57-Floor and 188-Unit high-rise condo and a 20,000 Sqm. lifestyle retail complex.
While these landmark projects are currently stealing the spotlight, it is important to note that the banks of the Chao Phraya River already offer a range of luxury condos. These include luxury Menam Residence and The River by Raimon Land.
What does the future hold for Bangkok’s Riverside?
Charoenkrung Road, Charoen Nakorn and Rama 3 Roads the 3 major roads that form the neighborhood, is gentrifying from a gritty industrial area into a fresh, trendy and fashionable hotspot. Interestingly, Bangkok’s trendsetting lifestyle blogs are already reporting an influx of independent eateries, bars, and coffee shops. Publicly touting it as a hip and vibrant neighborhood to relax and explore!
This sudden shift in perceptions, from “gritty to cool” is very similar to the rise of neighborhoods such as Thonglor and Ari; two areas that started-off as peripheral areas, that went on to becoming upmarket and pricey residential neighborhoods. At present the riverside is benefiting from enormous positive momentum and the luxury developments that are gradually populating the area, means that the riverside’s ascendancy into an up-market and desirable address is inevitable.
Ironically, the biggest contributor to the riverside’s initial historical demise (The development of the BTS and MRT Lines), could be the only factor required to propel Bangkok’s riverside into a Prime-CBD location. Interestingly Icon Siam’s co-investors (Siam Piwat, MQDC and Charoen Pokphand are taking matters into their own hands and are privately financing the BTS Gold Line. This BTS-extension will link the area, to the established Green Line and new Purple Line extension. This Mass Transit Line would result in greater travel convenience and position the area as a viable area to live, work and relax!