Tokyo has Roppongi Hills and Omotesando Hills; now our decidedly flat city is getting Ari Hills, a complex of shops, offices and hotel space at the start of Phahon Yothin Soi 10 that potentially signals a massive shift in the neighborhood’s reputation as a leafy, family neighborhood.
When complete (estimates say within this year), Ari Hills will offer 12,000 sq meters of office space accessed via a white marble-clad reception that looks more like something from Chong Nonsi. This will sit alongside a semi-outdoor retail strip and 180-room hotel run by the Taiwanese chain Evergreen.
The towering megaproject sits just north of the controversial Pearl Bangkok
skyscraper, a B3-billion, lattice glass tower with striking similarities to London’s iconic “Gherkin Building” that stands 25 stories above BTS Ari.
30 St Mary Axe, London (left), and Pearl Bangkok
Together, the buildings mark an escalation in Ari’s real estate boom, which until now has been limited to the occasional large-scale condominium project, as well as the low-rise La Villa Ari community mall.
Pearl Bangkok, by contrast, strictly means business, with 42,000 sq meters of office space primarily dedicated to the Pruksa Real Estate Company.
Of course, if you bought one of Ari’s many new pocket-sized condos as an investment, all this high-end development probably sounds like amazing news.
For the residents who like to talk about their neighborhood’s sun-dappled streets, indie boutiques and craft coffee joints… not so much.