A simple glance at Bangkok’s landmarks, BTS/MRT Stations, and commercial spaces will reveal that urban development in the city has always been concentrated around certain major road arteries. If we focus specifically on the Central Business District, these roads broadly encompass Sukhumvit Road, Ploenchit Road, Wireless Road and Silom/Sathorn Tai Road.
However as the price of land in those areas spikes upwards and availability of developable plots becomes scarcer, this has gradually encouraged Developers to seek alternatives. This has led to the emergence of upcoming hotspots such as Rama IX-Ratchada, Udom Suk and Rama IV!
Overview of Rama IV Road
Rama IV is a busy and bustling road artery that stretches from Phra Khanong all the way to Hua Lampong; along the way it passes through and connects road users to all 3 parts of Bangkok’s Central Business District notably Silom/Sathorn, Wireless/Ploenchit and Sukhumvit.
Despite its convenient geographical position, Rama IV’s urban development has been uneven. While the road’s western sections have benefitted from numerous luxury developments (Commercial and Residential) due its proximity to prime areas such as Silom and Wireless Road. The eastern section around the Khlong Toei intersection has traditionally been viewed as a gritty and rougher area. This is because of the neighborhood’s industrial character, which is heavily influenced by its proximity to the “Khlong Toei Port” which is a loading bay for container ships.
So how is the Area Transforming?
Rama IV Road, especially around the Khlong Toei intersection is a relatively blank urban canvas. The neighborhood still offers large plots of good-value developable land and this is an extremely attractive proposition especially for ambitious and aggressive developers. This market trend is not new, and gentrification is already underway as the area has already welcomed a series of neighborhood transforming projects.
These include the FYI Center developed by Golden Land. This is an ultra-modern mixed-use development comprising of a 12-Floor Office and a 239 Room Hotel.
Interestingly the Athakravi Group, looking to capitalize on the 10,000 office workers in the nearby Offices (I.e. Sirinrat Building, Manorom Building, Etc…) and local residents, has launched a 10,000 square meter Community Mall. This development dubbed “Suanplern Market” will offer an industrial loft concept and will have more than 250 Shops including a Makro Food Service.
This is only the beginning of a possible development and urban regeneration spree. According to The Nation Newspaper, plans are underway for the TCC Group developer of The Street Ratchada (Owned by Beverage Tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi) to develop a mixed-use (Over 50 Billion Baht) project on an 80-Rai Plot on Rama IV (At the Corner of Rama IV and Phaya Thai). The Nation Newspaper also reports that The Port Authority of Thailand (Govt. Agency) is evaluating the possibility of developing and regenerating a 223-Rai mixed-use project in Khlong Toei, made-up of an Office Building and a Shopping Mall.
Rama IV Local Life and Community
On a local level, while new mega projects are big drivers of transformation, it is important not to ignore local life for the communities that work and live on Rama IV. Interestingly, the neighborhood and its long stretch of road have developed a leisure and retail ecosystem that can nurture viable residential communities.
While most of the “hippest and trendiest” venues tend to cluster on the western-end of Rama IV, the Khlong Toei intersection is gradually developing its own unique appeal. Numerous independent shops, cafes, and eateries are setting up shop. On top of this the area already offers numerous leisure/retail venues to serve the local community such as Big C and Tesco supermarkets and K-Village Community Mall.
While Rama IV, still has a long way to go before directly challenging established roads such as Sukhumvit, its rapid development makes it an interesting hotspot to watch over the coming years!