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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 14:14 GMT
Cambodia to get first skyscraper
Sales launch in Phnom Penh, 24/01
Officials linked the building to Cambodia's economic success
Cambodian officials have attended the official sales launch of the first-ever skyscraper in the capital, Phnom Penh.

The twin towers are to be 42 storeys high - almost three times higher than the current tallest building.

It is the first of three skyscrapers planned in the capital, where the skyline has been kept low - in part to avoid overshadowing royal palaces.

But the government has encouraged the new buildings as symbols of Cambodia's development after decades of conflict.

Although Gold Tower 42 is some way from completion, the launch of its show apartment and sales office attracted government ministers and overseas ambassadors.

The BBC's Guy De Launey, in Phnom Penh, said the launch gave a taste of the shape of things to come.

He said the solid, imposing, gold-faced structure would stand out from its neighbours on Norodom Boulevard - an area of yellow-washed, wooden-shuttered French colonial-era buildings.

But Phnom Penh is in the middle of a real-estate boom - and some residents hope that building up will bring the price of homes down.

"It's more affordable for people wanting to stay in town, and I think it's good. It's secure and they have all the facilities," one resident said.

But other locals worry about the effect tall buildings will have on the city's character

"The original Phnom Penh city [was developed to] be horizontal, not vertical," one resident said.

South Korean companies are building Gold Tower 42 and another even taller skyscraper near the Mekong River.



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