De­vel­oper plans to sue Yan­gon gov­ern­ment

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - ZAY YAR LINN za­yarlinn@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htu

A prop­erty de­vel­oper says he in­tends to sue YCDC for halt­ing his project after he had sold apart­ments to clients based on the orig­i­nal de­sign.

A YAN­GON high-rise de­vel­oper says he is plan­ning to sue Yan­gon City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee for K50 bil­lion (US$39.9 mil­lion) in com­pen­sa­tion after YCDC in­structed him to re­duce the num­ber of floors on a res­i­den­tial project.

U Kyaw Kyaw Naing said he was in­formed by YCDC’s high-rise in­spec­tion com­mit­tee (HIC) on Oc­to­ber 6 that de­signs for a 12-storey project yet to be­gin con­struc­tion would have to change.

The de­vel­op­ment in ques­tion is a planned res­i­den­tial apart­ment block on Dhamma Thukha Kyaung Road in Hlaing town­ship, for which U Kyaw Kyaw Naing re­ceived a per­mit-in­prin­ci­ple un­der the pre­vi­ous YCDC ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The terms of that per­mit al­lowed for 12 floors and base­ment, which U Kyaw Kyaw Naing said would have pro­vided some 264 apart­ments. But YCDC’s high-rise com­mit­tee has in­structed two se­ri­ous al­ter­ations be made to the de­sign.

Both the build­ing cov­er­age ra­tio (BCR) – the area of the build­ing’s base rel­a­tive to the area of the project site – and the floor area ra­tio (FAR) – the build­ing’s to­tal floor space rel­a­tive to the project site – are to be cut.

By low­er­ing the BCR and FAR, the high-rise com­mit­tee has re­duced the num­ber of floors from 12 to seven, and halved the build­ing’s to­tal floor space, U Kyaw Kyaw Naing said.

Only around 164 apart­ments can be built un­der the new de­sign, but U Kyaw Naing said he has al­ready presold more than 250 apart­ments in the project. Pre-sell­ing units is com­mon in the Yan­gon con­struc­tion mar­ket, and of­ten used to help fund projects.

U Kyaw Naing said that with a per­mit-in-prin­ci­ple he thought it was safe to start sell­ing units.

“If I have to do as I’m be­ing told, then I need to be com­pen­sated K50 bil­lion for our losses and to give com­pen­sa­tion to buy­ers that have al­ready bought apart­ments,” he told The Myan­mar Times.

The de­vel­oper said he was called to the HIC of­fices on Oc­to­ber 6 and in­formed of the changes by U Aung Than Oo, the head of the high-rise in­spec­tion depart­ment. U Kyaw Kyaw Naing was also given a writ­ten in­struc­tion and told to sign it as an ac­knowl­edg­ment, which he re­fused to do.

“It’s to­tally im­pos­si­ble,” he said. “I want what was ap­proved by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.”

U Aung Than Oo said he was un­aware of U Kyaw Kyaw Naing’s le­gal plans, but that the in­struc­tion had been de­liv­ered in the cor­rect way and the de­vel­oper was free to pur­sue a le­gal case if he wished. The depart­ment head de­clined to com­ment on ex­actly why the HIC had in­structed the changes be made.

This is not the first time U Kyaw Kyaw Naing has run afoul of chang­ing reg­u­la­tions in the high-rise con­struc­tion sec­tor. He sent de­sign plans for the Dhamma Thukha Kyaung Road project to the HIC for ap­proval in May. That same month marked the start of a con­tentious and hugely dis­rup­tive re­view of all Yan­gon’s high-rise build­ings – whether al­ready un­der con­struc­tion or not – by the new Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment.

U Kyaw Kyaw Naing would only dis­cuss his planned law­suit on con­di­tion that the com­pany he owns – a prom­i­nent lo­cal de­vel­oper – was not named. But his firm also had projects un­der con­struc­tion that were heav­ily af­fected by the city-wide high-rise re­view. In July, the Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment told his firm to cut the num­ber of floors on con­do­minium project that was al­ready un­der way from 12.5 to six. That also prompted prob­lems with presold apart­ments, and U Kyaw Kyaw Naing told The Myan­mar Times that month he in­tended to ask the gov­ern­ment to cover losses.

Many of the dras­tic changes handed down dur­ing the re­view, how­ever, were later re­scinded after com­plaints from de­vel­op­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

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