Orchid penetrates condo market There was a time when you had to wait for the annual Hua with B800m plan

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The conservative low-rise housing developer Orchid Group entered the condominium segment with a new project worth 800 million baht on Sukhumvit Soi 49. It also plans to develop a hotel and villas in Cha-am, in Phetchaburi province, after the founder passes the baton to her children. CEO Ruchnee Lowhachai said this would mark the first time in its 30-year history that the group developed a condominium project and entered the central business district.

“My daughter and son want to develop condominiums in the city rather than low-rise projects in the Bangkok outskirts like I have done,” she said. “Our group is very conservative. We move cautiously even with low-rise projects.” Orchid will launch the Downtown 49 condominium project this weekend on a two-rai site on Sukhumvit Soi 49 that cost 140 million baht. The project comprises 135 units sized 33-141 square metres and priced 89,000 baht per sq m. After a soft launch in mid-March, it booked 25% of the units and targets 80% by year-end. Construction will start in July and be completed by the end of 2013.

Bangkok Bank will provide project finance of around 400 million baht. The group also plans to develop another condominium, a villa for sale and a hotel to be operated by the international chain Best Western Group, all this year. This project will be on a 30-rai site in Cha-am near the Hua Hin boundary opposite the Grand Pacific Hotel.

Founded in 1982, the group has registered capital of 200 million baht. It has two affiliates, both developers: Maryland Co Ltd with registered capital of 100 million baht and Punkid Co Ltd with registered capital of 200 million baht. Mrs Ruchnee estimates the group’s revenue over three decades is around 3 billion baht from over 1,000 units under the Orchid Villa brand, with most located on Bang Na Km 24 Road. Annual income is around 300- 400 million baht.

The group has many land plots in the Bangkok outskirts including 50-60 rai on Bang Na Km 24, eight rai on Watcharapol Road, On Nut, 80 rai on Suvintawong Road, and around 100 rai near Suvarnabhumi airport. It has 50 rai in inland Hua Hin where it plans to develop single housing projects and 10 rai in Khao Tao.

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