Construction ministry tenders for state-housing upgrade
THE Ministry of Construction will prioritise design over construction costs when picking the winner of a tender to replace the ageing state-owned Lan Thit housing development, a ministry official told The Myanmar Times.
There are 11 state-owned housing projects across Myanmar’s largest city: two built under the previous government and nine that are more than half a century old.
Lan Thit is the first of the old projects to be upgraded under the new administration, and the ministry’s Department of Urban and Housing Development issued a tender for the upgrade last week.
Interested companies will compete on building design and construction cost, although the former is more important, said U Min Htein, the department’s director general. The government will provide the land for the project – the same site on which the existing development now sits – while the tender winner will fund construction under a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement.
The subsequent apartment ownership split between the tender winner and the government has not yet been decided, said U Min Htein.
In the two state-owned housing projects built under the previous government, which also used a PPP structure, the government took ownership of 60 percent and 52pc of the apartments respectively.
State-owned housing – provided mainly to public sector employees like civil servants and the military – is highly-sought after because of the artificially low rents. There are some 16,000 rent-fixed apartments across the 11 state-owned housing projects, which their owners are forbidden to sell or rent out. Residents in the 264 apartments in Lan Thit pay monthly rent of K12.50 per square foot – far below market rate. The upgraded Lan Thit project will include replacements for residents of the 264 rent-fixed apartments, and a group of new apartments that will be sold at market price. It is this group of market-rate apartments that the government and tender winner will divide.
U Yu Khine, the department’s director, said the government had secured Lan Thit residents’ agreement for the renovation, and that each resident would receive an identical apartment after the upgrade.
A representative committee, comprising 22 residents – two from each of the 11 Lan Thit buildings – has been formed to help make sure that each resident receives an apartment at least as spacious as their previous home.
“If the original apartment was 600 square feet, they should give us [new] apartments of around 700 square feet because families are gradually increasing,” said U Lwin Aung Soe, a resident in building no. 10 and member of the project representative committee.
Lan Thit residents will have to rent temporary accommodation while the re-development takes place, but will receive K300,000 monthly rent allowance from the company that wins the tender.
A cyclist peddles past state-owned apartments in the Pha Sa Pa La estate in Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt township.