Following last year’s opening of the B54-billion mega mall IconSiam, big changes are continuously brewing on the riverside. The Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) has announced its plan to hand over about half of a 900-rai area at Klong Toey port to a real-estate project to build another mega mall beside the Chao Phraya River.

As reported by Bangkok Post, PAT’s director general Kamolsak Pomprayoon said that the port will shrink to 500 rai, with the remaining 400 rai transformed into a new riverside landmark that houses a department store, business center, shops and other commercial spaces similar to IconSiam. According to Kamolsak, the format will basically be a large business city with the goal of becoming a new landmark and tourism center that offers convenient links to river-based tourism. 

As for the rest of the 500-rai port, Kamolsak adds that the PAT plans to reinvent the area into a modern logistics and cargo distribution center by investing in a new and automated port system installation. The port will also include cargo storage buildings, a cargo truck parking station and office buildings.

The 900-rai is part of a 2,300-rai plot owned by the PAT in Klong Toey district, who has plans to fully develop the whole space for commercial purposes. As a result, about 12,500 families who are illegally residing in the densely populated area near the port will be evicted.

Three investment options are being considered by the PAT. The first option would be for the affected families to be compensated for their loss by being moved into the PAT’s B7.5-billion “Smart Community” project, which according to BLT Bangkok, will take up a 58-rai plot of land at the old leather tannery in Soi Trimit. Here, the government has allocated four 25-story buildings comprising a total of 6,144 units, each measuring 33 sq meters and featuring one bedroom, one bathroom, a living room, kitchen and balcony. 

The second option is for the current residents to receive a 78-sq-meter of land from a 2,140-rai plot in the two districts of Nong Chok and Min Buri in order to build their own homes, while the third option is for them to receive enough funding to move back to their hometown.  

This is far from the first eviction of communities living alongside the Chao Phraya’s banks. In 2017, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) begun its first phase for the construction of the Chao Phraya River Promenade, a 14-kilometer (seven kilometers on each side) stretch of the river turned into a cycle lane, public walkway and riverside landmark. By the end of the hotly contested B8.4 billion project, it's expected 29 communities will have been evicted. We shared some of their stories here

Is another mall the answer to regenerating Bangkok's riverside? Let us know what you think in the comments.