The project, on 150 rai of what is now coconut plantation on the left side of the road leading to Patong from the Sam Kong intersection on the bypass, will have upmarket shops, restaurants, a hotel element and a themed tourist attraction. Plans also call for a large-scale water park.
Supphaluck Amputch, Vice-President of the group, explains, “We have a vision to develop Phuket, which is the world-class resort and shopping destination, with the Blu Pearl project.
“It will consist of a convention and exhibition centre with a resort hotel and a world-class theme park, with a total of 650,000 square metres of internal space.”
The group already has six Malls in Greater Bangkok and one in Nakhon Ratchassima.
The company is on a B65-billion expansion drive at present. Due to open in 2016 is its B20 billion Bangkok Mall project in Bangna, which – the company says – will be the biggest mall in Thailand, three times the size of Siam Paragon.
It is also working on a trio of complexes on Sukhumvit Rd – Emporium, The EmQuartier and The Emsphere, costing another B20 billion, and the Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall Project, at a rather more modest B5 billion, in the middle of Hua Hin Town.
The huge expansion has apparently been sparked by the approach of the Asean Economic Community, due to take place at the end of next year, which will, The Mall Group says, “turn Thailand into the centre of world communication, airport expansion and transportation network link between the countries in the region.”
Ms Supphaluck notes, “Tourists to Thailand are expected to increase from 25 million to 40 million in the next five years, with the main destinations being Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai.”
The Mall Group clearly aims to take a sizeable chunk out of those tourists’ wallets.
Additional reporting by Alasdair Forbes