Prosecutors Helping Owners At The Ashton Asoke
Prosecutors have committed to aiding residents of the Ashton Asoke condo tower, as its building permit faces withdrawal. After the Supreme Administrative Court retroactively revoked the 6-billion-baht luxury condo’s permit due to lack of an official entrance to the road it sits on, 20 residents, led by Pornchai Lertsathittayapong, sought legal support from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on Wednesday. The fully completed, 50-storey condo in Bangkok’s business district faces some serious problems if the entrance issue isn’t rectified promptly.
So for those of you that aren’t fully up to date with what’s going down here, let me get you up to speed… The Ashton Asoke is a 50-story condo building in what is perhaps the best location in all of Bangkok. A legitimate stone’s throw from the Asoke BTS station and Terminal 21. Now, before going further, it’s important to note that the land that the Ashton sits on is smack in the centre between two key roads… Sukhumvit Soi 19 and Sukhumvit 21.
With that said, buildings here in Bangkok are required to have DIRECT access to the main road that they’re closest to and/or registered to in the form of a driveway. This is for obvious reasons such as fires, emergencies, etc. Makes sense right?
Well, two weeks ago it came out publicly that the driveway that the Ashton Asoke had ‘built’ and allowed its residents to use all these years was not actually owned by the developer, but instead, was government owned land under the jurisdiction of the MRT department as part of its MRT Sukhumvit station. Apparently, Ananda (the developer of the Ashton) had previously cut a deal with various government agencies and paid 97 million Baht a few years back to be able to use this strip of road as a driveway. The reason they didn’t build their own driveway in the first place is because the land in front of the Ashton (leading to Sukhumvit Soi 21) is reportedly part of the Crown Property Bureau and the backside (leading to Soi 19) is blocked by a collection of small, family style residential houses and shops. Cutting a side deal with the MRT department was the only way they could get their construction permits, complete the project, and sell out their units. All of which happened a few years ago.
Now that you’re fully up to speed, two weeks ago, it came out that those that owned land at the base of the Ashton Asoke had filed a motion with Thailand’s Supreme Administrative Court stating that the driveway setup is illegal and the fact that they got any building permits in the first place was illegal. The courts agreed and RETROACTIVELY pulled the construction permits.
Imagine that! A 50-story, luxury condo building on A+ land that retroactively becomes illegals years after completion. Absolutely wild if you ask me.
The developer, government agencies, and local landowners are still working together to find a solution, but those that own the land backing on to Soi 19 are now sitting on what might be the most expensive land in the entire city. I’d imagine that they’re about to inherit some serious wealth with Ananda likely being forced to buy that property at obscene rates so that they can build a driveway, reinstate their building permits, and avoid any further issues. Craziness.