Nordic Golf Course Expansion On Hold

The Thai-Swedish firm Thai Nordic Property Co, the developer of the Black Mountain golf course and residential project worth a combined 10 billion baht in Hua Hin, is waiting to gauge the full impact of the global economic crisis before starting new phases including another 18-hole golf course and housing units, writes the Thai newspaper Bangkok Post.
   Nine of the 15 villas completed recently adjacent to the golf course at Black Mountain have been sold for 48 million baht each.
   “We are worried about the global crisis and not confident in financial transactions through the international banking system,” said Mats Osterborg, the company’s chairman.
   “At a time when it is difficult to trust the international banking system, property is a good investment.”
   He also said the company was confident that Thailand’s political problems would be resolved and that the country would perform well in the long run.
   The company plans to monitor the market for the next 12-18 months and estimate demand before launching new phases. Currently, it is developing four five-storey condominium buildings in the first phase of its residential project near the golf course, which would be completed by February 2009.
   Mr Osterborg said the company would complete the residential component to build prospective buyers’ confidence. It would also spend around 100 million baht to improve and maintain the golf course annually.
   Of the 76 condominium units, 30 have been sold. Unit sizes range 140 to 317 square metres at prices of 8.9 million to 26.8 million baht, while 15 villas priced at 48 million baht each, nine of which were sold, were completed recently.
   Mr Osterborg said that about 70% of the customers were Swedish, 20% other Europeans and 10% were Thai. All foreign buyers are long-stay visitors. Foreign villa buyers can own houses and lease plots from the company as Thai laws do not allow them to own land.
   Black Mountain Hua Hin is located on a mountainside plot covering 1,800 rai near Hin Lek Fai, 10 kilometres from Hua Hin town. Around 600 rai were developed for an 18-hole golf course and 14 rai each for villas and condominium buildings in the first phase.
   The remaining 1,000 rai would be developed for another 18-hole golf course and residential projects. All would be completed within the next six years, said the Swedish lawyer.
   Thai Nordic Property is a joint venture between a group of Thai lawyers and Swedish investor Stig Notlov, a former major shareholder of Byggmax, a large Swedish construction materials firm.
   Mr Notlov, 60, has visited Hua Hin for more than 20 years and wanted to develop a golf course in Asia. At first he considered Phuket but after the tsunami in 2004 he turned to Hua Hin.
   He decided to sell most of his shares in Byggmax to invest in Black Mountain project, starting with 100 rai. He is also a major shareholder of Zamgate Investment in Sweden, which supported Thai Nordic Property with a project loan to develop Black Mountain.

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