Supatra plans boutique hotel, market

Supatra Group, operator of Chao Phraya Express Boat Co, has announced expansion plans that include more tourism-related businesses, hotels and retail ventures.

New projects include a 25-room boutique hotel at Tha Tien pier worth 100 million baht and a market at Tha Wang Lang pier, also worth 100 million.

Construction of the hotel is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter, while the market project is due to start in the second half of next year.

Established in 1919, Supatra Group began by operating a ferry boat service along the Chao Phraya River. In 1971, it began the express boat service.

“River transport is not the main route for Thai commuters now. The firm faces a decreasing number of passengers every year from as many as 50,000 to 60,000 people each day in the past decade,” said group chairwoman Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram. “We have to expand into new businesses.”

The group started an aggressive expansion into retail business in 2011 by spending 16 million baht to renovate two piers for markets with rental space — Tha Pra Chan and Tha Rot Fai (at Thon Buri railway station).

In 2012, a new company named Supatra River Mansion was set up to invest 200 million baht in the Riva Surya Bangkok, a boutique hotel with 48 rooms near Tha Phra Athit.

Last year, the group established Supatra Real Estate Co to build a community mall named Tha Maharaj worth 550 million baht.

The mall will feature 43 restaurants and shops including famous chains and some unique outlets plus 14 kiosks. Its parking space will accommodate 200 vehicles.

With ample green areas, the mall promises to look bright, pleasant and refreshing in its riverside setting.

Created by Contour design company, the mall covering three rai will become a new hangout on Koh Rattanakosin.

The project is 80% complete, with 30 shops already signed up for rental deals.

With an official opening due in November, Tha Maharaj targets more than 2.2 million people living or working within a five-kilometre radius.

Target groups include schoolchildren, parents, university students, teachers, university staff, vendors, company workers, government officials, tourists and commuters.

“By 2016, we plan to develop all our properties around Rattanakosin Island to support the famous tourism and shopping sites in Bangkok,” Mrs Supapan said.

Mrs Supapan said the new ventures are expected to contribute up to 50% of revenue in the next few years from 15% now.

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