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Vientianes Nongchan to become new urban centreNongchan marsh in central Vientiane is to be developed as an economic and trade centre in the next five years under a Lao-Chinesejoint venture. A ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of the project, to be known as the Vientiane Centre, took place in the capital on Saturday during an official visit by a delegation from Yunnan province. The event was attended by high-ranking government officials, Vientiane authorities, business leaders and Chinese officials. Amongthose attending the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad.The project will comprise a shopping centre, office buildings, apartments, conference facilities, restaurant, and pedestrian area. Thedevelopment is expected to cost more than US$90 million.Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd. will hold a 60 percent stake in the project and Kritaphong Group Co., Ltd. will own a40 percent share.The government has given permission for the project to go ahead on an area of more than 53,000 square metres. The concession periodwill run for 50 years with the option to extend for a further 20 years.Development will take place in three phases. The first phase will run from now until April 2014 and will include construction of thenecessary infrastructure, filling in of marshland, laying out the pedestrian area and building the shopping centre.The second phase, from April 2014 to October 2015, will see the construction of conference facilities, office buildings, apartments and anexhibition centre.The third phase will involve the construction of a multipurpose building and will run from 2016 to 2017.Director of the Vientiane Department of Public Works and Transport, Mr Detsongkham Thammavong, said in a speech at the ground-breaking ceremony that the development of Nongchan marsh is one of the priority projects stipulated in the capitals development plans.He said the project is a result of the governments policy to attract domestic and foreign investment to drive socio-economicdevelopment.This area of Vientiane had become very run down and the authorities relocated residents to other parts of the city, to reduce congestionand improve living conditions.I n 2005, the city authorities made further improvements to the area, creating an open space for leisure activities. In 2010, the authoritiesentered into an agreement with the Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd. and Kritaphong Group Co., Ltd. to develop thearea.Mr Detsongkham said “The project will create a new feature for Vientiane, with more and modern facilities. These facilities will not onlyserve tourists but will also contribute to the socio-economic development of Laos.”Yunnan Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd. is one of the largest key 17 provincial firms supervised by the government of Yunnanprovince.The group has developed into a conglomerate and has businesses ranging from general construction contracting, real estatedevelopment, urban development investment, civil works, mechanical and electrical installation, roads, bridges, building scienceresearch, engineering survey and design, construction labour supply and so on.By Somsack Pongkhao(Latest Update April 02 , 2012) Page 1 One World Travel Co.,Ltd Unit 8 Pangkham Road, Ban Xiengnyuen Chanthabuly Dist,Vientiane Cap,Laos Tel/Fax: (+856 21) 254 717 HP: (+856 20) 5561 9414 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Skype: oneworldlaos