Most expats are familiar with the British Embassy on Wireless Road in Ploenchit. The gracious old buildings have been the setting for many a British garden party and get-together over the years.
The foyer of the embassy’s main building. Photo: Jerry Jarinya/Facebook
Now, the Brits seem to be quietly trying to sell the 23-rai (9-acre) parcel of land to developers for more than THB18 billion through Thai property agent CBRE, reported Bangkok Post.
It’s a great downtown location and the price isn’t that surprising since a parcel nearby recently sold for THB1.91 million per square wah (43 square feet) by SC Asset Corporation Plc.
The asking price of the embassy is over THB2 million per square wah.
It’s not the first part of their holdings that the embassy has sold off. Ten years ago, they put 9.5-rai (3.8-acres) of their current plot on the market. It was bought by Central Group for THB950,000 per square wah. The company built Central Embassy on the land and that’s where the high-end mall gets its name.
A petition to Save the British Embassy Bangkok has been created on petition platform Change.org and has 320 supporters. The petition was created five months ago, which means that some people have known about these plans for almost half a year.
The person who started the petition, Richard Leitch, asked that Brits help to, “Save these historic grounds and not end up with a grubby, faceless office handling our consular affairs. The compound on Wireless Road is famous for its iconic buildings, including the Ambassador’s historic residence, tropical gardens, huge trees and ponds.”
Photo: Chalita Aommy Klumjui/Facebook
He went on to write that, “Many long-term British expatriates have recalled the numerous garden parties and events such as the Ploenchit Fair that were held in the embassy compound. Queen Elizabeth visited the embassy on at least two occasions.”
One commenter on the petition, Christopher Walton, made the point that the land was a long-ago gift from Thai officials for UK use as an embassy. He said that, “The UK did not buy the land and, as such, should gift it back to Thailand. To sell it for profit is tantamount to theft.”
A source that spoke to the Post and did not want to be named said that, at such a high price, it could only become a huge development by a company with overseas partners and, most likely, a mixed-use development because of its large size.
Prices for land in downtown locations are ever-rising. The one-rai parcel that holds some favorite expat haunts like Cheap Charlie’s bar, Charley Brown’s Mexicana, The Alchemist bar and Suk 11 hostel has reportedly been sold for THB2,000 million.
So far, the British Embassy has not made a formal announcement about putting the embassy up for sale.