La-ead Kovavisaruch, Chief Investment Officer, Dusit International is leading the development of a new mixed-use complex in Bangkok’s CBD called Dusit Central Park. Four buildings: a hotel, residential tower, office and retail spaces will be connected by an expansive four-level roof park.
What were the reasons for demolishing Dusit Thani Hotel and redeveloping the site for mixed use?
The decision began long before Covid. Dusit Thani has been a household name in luxury hospitality for many years. Over time, consumer lifestyles and market requirements shift. By combining hotel, residence, office and retail we can serve our client base better. In this development we still uphold our hospitality brand – our core value – and also maximise the location. We are in the financial district, near embassies, government and international companies so having an office tower is logical. Residences mean that locals, not only hotel guests, can enjoy our service and hospitality. Retail is obvious because of Thailand’s reputation as shopping paradise. All these elements allow us to meet the new demands.
How did the pandemic affect your planning?
In terms of the residences we thought a lot about air quality, about nature and greenery. How do you live in comfort? How do you work from home? When you are locked down in a confined area how do you enjoy your living space? How do you enjoy nature? That is why we have a roof top garden. When you can’t go out how do you order food? Food deliveries were already part of the lifestyle trend pre-covid, however we took a post-pandemic approach to the ways we can cater to young professionals. We have designed with convenience, efficiency and leisure in mind.
In terms of the hotel, we tore down the old Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel in 2019 when it celebrated its 50 years anniversary. As travel was curbed, we couldn’t serve visitors so we took advantage of this and made up some time.
The project is described as ultra-luxury. Can you explain this?
Luxury is not only in the materials we use, luxury is in the location, the atmosphere and the experiences that the project will create. For example the views to Lumpini Park, a public park, is permanent. It will never be blocked out. This sets us apart from other luxury residences in this area. We are the only Thai brand in the luxury resident market. We build meaningful relationships and we have a long history on this site. We will be here forever.
Who is your target market?
Despite the pandemic, Dusit Central Park has already captured the attention of savvy investors with presales of the Dusit Residences and Dusit Parkside exceeded the company’s target in 2021. More than 40% of the total units have been sold, primarily to Thai nationals. As the travel normalises, the company aims to attract international investors, especially from Asia and the Middle East.
Four pillars underpin the project’s philosophy: heritage and Innovation, unrivalled connectivity, lush quality of life and meaningful experiences. Can you discuss?
The project will enhance the existing infrastructure by adding a new thoroughfare to alleviate traffic congestion and provide direct connectivity to the BTS and MRT train networks, offering emission-free transport links that puts the entire city within reach.
Located in the CBD, where the vibrant districts of Silom, Sukhumvit and Sathorn converge, Dusit Central Park will boost the area’s already desired appeal, create new opportunities businesses and the surrounding community.
The proximation to Bangkok’s “green lung” will mean the residences will become an iconic address, akin to the apartments surrounding Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London.
The architecture integrates Thai heritage into a modern urban lifestyle. Alongside Dusit’s unique brand of gracious hospitality, the latest in high tech and high touch service will feature across all elements of the property. It will also be pet-friendly.
This development brings Dusit international and Central Pattana together for the first time. How did this come about?
When we planned to expand into retail we looked for a partner who, like us had longstanding experience in their field. Central Pattana are famous for retail. They have shopping malls around the world. They are family friends in a way so we thought to synergise the strength of two big conglomerates into this project.
What is the time frame?
The introduction of the first phase is expected in 2023, starting with Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel. Central Park and Central Park Offices will follow in 2024, and Dusit Residences and Dusit Parkside in 2025.