YANGON, July 13 (Reuters) - A half billion dollar real estate development in Myanmar’s commercial capital has gained critical lease extensions from the ministry of transport, its developer said on Wednesday.
The Landmark Development, backed by Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd., located in Yangon, has been stalled since 2012 without them.
The centerpiece of the 10 acre mixed-use property is the 139-year old Burma Railway Headquarters, a red-brick colonial building that will be transformed into a luxury hotel.
“The lease extension for Landmark site has been granted by Myanmar Railways of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for an initial period of 50 years commencing on 1st January 1998,” a spokeswoman for Yoma said.
“We are working with the relevant stakeholders including MIC (Myanmar Investment Commission) to proceed with the project.”
Officials from the Ministry of Transport and Communications could not be immediately reached for comment.
The lease extensions are a step forward in the development of what is one of Myanmar’s most high-profile international investments.
Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd have formalized their involvement in the project, Yoma said in a statement on Tuesday.
First Myanmar Investment Company Limited, a Myanmar-based affiliate of Yoma, and the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank that finances private ventures, also entered into the shareholders’ agreement on Tuesday.
Both Yoma and FMI are lead by prominent Myanmar businessman Serge Pun, who first unveiled the Landmark development in 2012.
Pun told Reuters in March that it was his adherence to good business practices that had kept the project from moving forward on schedule.
“It has been a very long and arduous red tape road,” he said. “Good governance always has a price to pay and the price we are paying is a delay.”
A senior transport ministry official said at the time that the refurbishment of the old building was in progress but needed to be carried out “without affecting the heritage values.”
The official did not comment on why the lease extension had been delayed. (Editing by William Hardy)
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