Nordic Wind: Looking at the Sea

Nordic Wind Ltd. is a company established by the Thai family of Mr Naradul Matchimanon and Mr Tore W. Solum from, Tønsberg, Norway in order to operate a property business in Pattaya, as well as importing construction material and interior fittings to Norway.
When Tore is back in Norway running his construction business, Naradul takes care of their Baan Vizcaya. Tore, a resident of Thailand, comes over with his family every year in October and stays until December in a designated villa. Then after going back for Christmas holidays in Norway he returns again and stays until the end of March.
Tore, a chemical engineer, is still very active within the construction business, now developing a 400-apartment housing project including a marina and other facilities, on an island in the Oslo fjord, through his company Jarslø Eindom A/S.
Naradul also spends time on finding suitable materials for Tore’s businesses in Norway, running Nordic Wind’s office at his Sukhumvit soi 63 house.
“We buy a lot,” says Tore. ”It is much cheaper and the freight cost is extremely low from here to Norway. There are lots of good products; granite in different patterns, all types of tiles, stones, stainless steel and bathroom equipment.” Sending a filled container takes four weeks from door to door.
“We also send up very clever Thai craftsmen to Norway to install granite and make nice patterns,” he says.
Tore has known and been doing business together with the Matchimanon family since he met Naradul’s father 30 years ago on a holiday trip.
“We did lots of business in Thailand many years ago. Trading, selling to Thailand, buying from Thailand.”
Tore also constructed chemical factories during many years around the world in Dubai, Singapore and one in Norway that he later sold.
In Norway his construction company is most known for Statens Park, a 43 000-square-metres government building.
When visiting Tore at Baan Vizcaya it is easy to come to the conclusion that the property constitutes an oasis in an otherwise hectic Pattaya. Also in the north Pattaya neighbourhood many new hotels and condominiums have been built during the last five years and construction is going for even more. Sofitel’s new hotel nearby is an example; a luxury resort which attracts Tore and his visitors and tenants to visit for dinners.
“When we came here in 1998 there were basically only bushes and trees along the road down to our property,” Tore recalls.
Baan Vizcaya and the property next to it are the only beachfront land plots on the entire Pattaya beach with villas on them.
Naradul had been looking around a lot for land in the Pattaya region near the beach when he finally found the property through acquaintances. Tore had requested something near the beach.
“It was difficult to find something; we looked around for a long time. But one friend had one, belonging to her sister. This land was 7 rai including 11 houses with housekeeper, belonging to a big family,” says Naradul.
“I told Tore: ‘Good value, but it will take time to renovate and develop. Not easy.’ And at that time when everything gone down with the financial crisis. You could not ask for any credit at the bank and had to pay in cash.”
It was not for sale on the market but Tore and Naradul got offered to buy it. So they did, even though they had been looking for something smaller.
“We paid quite a lot and the value has gone up a lot since then,” says Tore who was recently courted by a large hotel developer who wanted to buy their land.
They renovated the property for four years and started renting out to foreigners – Scandinavians and expatriates, both long-stay and for short periods.
“We had to renovate and convert everything up to international standard,” says Naradul. Though, also during construction some eager guests came to stay in some of the houses.
These days they have many Scandinavians coming to stay and in the high season the place is very busy. “But it is quite expensive to rent a house here so we keep away a lot of people. But we have regular customers.”
As to the name, Vizcaya, is indeed not Thai but Portuguese, meaning: ‘Look at the sea’.
“We wanted a name connecting to the sea,” says Tore who took his inspiration from a similar property in Miami he once visited.
Finally Tore adds that once house number 14 is completed later in 2007 Baan Vizcaya will have two houses that will specifically be available for expatriates in Thailand to rent, for weekends or longer periods.

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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