The Disco Next Door

In the more than five years that we have lived in our medium-sized condo, we have seen the 1950s house next door transition from being an Indian restaurant to K-Pop nightclub. Now it is set to make its next metamorphosis and become a community mall.

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The house, as you can see in this borrowed picture above, was a beautiful “tropical modern” style, very common in this neighborhood which was, in the 1950s, a fashionable place for well-off families to build their weekend “country” home. Of course, back then this area of Bangkok was truly on the outskirts of town. When we arrived a half-decade ago, it was a contemporary Indian restaurant that didn’t ever seem busy but did do a good job preserving the architecture of the building.

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Then about a year ago, we were informed it was going to become a “the world’s first K-Pop pub”. Much to the consternation of our residents, a new tenant built an exterior shell around the house and turned it into this gaudy sight. Our condo’s management, along with other nearby residents, used all available legal channels to block their operation and ultimately, they opened only a handful of nights before shutting down. Part of me wonders whether it was ever actually meant to be a legitimate business, as the idea of putting a pub in the midst of a residential area was ill-conceived from the start.

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Recently, construction has started again. The exterior of the pub has been pulled down and you can see that the old house remains. After a week or two of initial curiosity, we were finally informed what will be built there.

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The new space will be a “community mall” – the term used locally to describe these smaller-scale open air shopping centers that may have at most one or two dozen shops, a limited amount of parking, and restaurants and light retail.

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Quite a number exist within a five- to ten-minute walk from our condo, so I’m not sure what the need is, but I suppose it is a better use of the space than a K-Pop nightclub. According to the plans, the original house will still be incorporated in some way, although from these two elevations, I don’t see where.

Anyhow, that’s what’s happening next door. How are things where you are?

 

 

Terminal 21 – Under Construction

Walking back to the Skytrain station with my Thai tutor Thursday afternoon, I was commenting (in Thai, of course) about how much the area around the intersection of Sukhumvit Road and Soi 21 has changed in the four years since I moved here.  There are a few new buildings and another large development called Terminal 21 is now rising next to the Asoke Skytrain station.

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The site as it currently appears, looking to the northeast from the east-bound Skytrain platform.

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Artist’s interpretation of Terminal 21’s design.  This is looking roughly west.  The above picture of the construction site would have been taken from the end of the Skytrain platform, which appears to the left of the face billboard in this representation of the building.

Built on the site of a former Ford and Volvo dealership, this very large property is one of the best-located in the city.  Described on its website as an “airport terminal” design (whatever that means), it will feature a 9-storey mall including an SF Cinema and a supermarket, a 20-storey serviced apartment complex, 145,000 square meters of office space, and 40,000 square meters of retail space.

Each floor of the mall will be themed on a different city or region of the world.  The bottom floor will be the Caribbean and then we will proceed through Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco (which occupies two floors) and Los Angeles. 

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San Francisco floor, left, and Istanbul floor, right.

Each floor will focus on a particular type of shop – fashion brand names on the Paris floor, food and restaurants on the San Francisco floors and the cinema will be on the Los Angeles floor.  Istanbul’s floor will have fashion accessories and leather goods.

Yes, I know what you are thinking.  Do we really need another mall in this city?  The answer is, definitely not.  I think we need more mixed income housing located right next to transit.  But that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the fact that this is a great location – very transit-friendly as it is located at the intersection of the Skytrain and subway lines – and developments adjacent to transit are generally good for the city.  Plus, alternatives to having to go all the way down to Siam Square and Paragon are always welcome.

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As the cranes are being installed, they are right at eye level with the Skytrain station’s platform.  Nice views.

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Nighttime shot of the construction taken on Monday, November 2nd.  This is the night of Loi Krathong.  Can you spot the full moon?

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Here it is!

Stay tuned for more updates as I follow the construction of Terminal 21.