According to the Cambodia Daily dated on 7 Feb 2008 that Edward Hopkins fell in love with Southeast Asia while backpacking in the region in the early 1990s. He returned to Britain and earned a degree in Southeast Asian Studies and Languages. Hopkins has returned to Phnom Penh to head up the Cambodia office of real estate consulting firm CB Richard Ellis. The Los Angeles-based company, with about 24,000 employees worldwide, is hoping to tap into Cambodia's booming real estate market by facilitating investments and consulting with developers. He spoke with Stephen Kurczy recently about the potential of Cambodia's property market.
Q. Plans have been announced for three skyscrapers in Phnom Penh-a 30-story, a 42- story and 52-story. But there are doubts that they'll even go up.
A. There are always doubts. I have my concerns. First of all: Is there a need to build things that high here, especially with the difficulty of construction on this type of land? You can't go 50 stories up without hitting bedrock...and the construction costs of that will be very, very expensive. My feeling is that you probably don't need to go any higher than 20 stories here.
Q. So do you wonder if these skyscrapers will ever be built?
A. I think something will go up. I know the companies you're talking about-they're serious people. We ve done a lot of work with these guys already. They do their homework. They do build things. Something certainly will go up. There's a desperate need for office. The other thing is that people like to be in buildings with the companies they do business with. It's very easy when you're on the 10th floor to press the elevator button to the eighth floor to go and see your insurance broker, or go down to the ground floor to see your banker, or see your lawyer, because you end up with lots of different services in the same building. For example a huge multinational moves in, now I'm not going to quote any names, but let's say a huge American company, an oil company, decides to move in, they're going to 2,000 square meters, everybody who is going to provide service to that company will move into the same building...If I were a developer, I would be looking to get a 20-story office building up within 18 months.