PLANS are afoot to convert the former colonial-era Police Commissioner’s building on Yangon’s Strand Road into a US$50 million five-star hotel.
Nestled in a sprawling two-storey structure that takes up a square block near the famed Strand Hotel, the building was first completed in 1931 and, in recent years, has served as a court complex. The converted hotel will have 239 standard rooms and a number of larger suites and deluxe rooms, as well as restaurants, meeting rooms, a pool and other facilities.
Than Htike Minn, managing director of Flying Tiger engineering company, which has been selected by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) for the redevelopment, said: “The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore was once a post office building, and was listed as a part of Singapore’s heritage. The developers were not allowed to alter the original structure and architectural features. In the same spirit, we will try to convert the Police Commissioner’s building into Myanmar’s most prestigious hotel.”
Sai Khan Hlaing, a director of the company, said MIC had leased the building for 50 years with the possibility of two 10-year extensions. “The terms and conditions do not allow the original structure and architectural features of the buildings to be changed,” he said.
The project is a joint venture with a partner company based in Singapore, said Sai Khan Hlaing.
“We have a very strong team to develop this project as fast as possible. We will also use local workers as well as foreign experts, which will create about 600 job opportunities for local people. We expect to finish the whole project within two years and open the hotel in early 2015,” he added.
However, the plan has drawn opposition from conservationists. The Police Commissioner’s building became the centre of controversy when the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network took to the streets last year to protest against the development project, saying the government’s sale violated Myanmar’s national conservation laws.