"When I got back from studying in the US, I planned a project called Langsuan Townhouse. That was my first and many similar were to follow,” says Pongphan Sampawakoop reminiscing about his start in the property development business. Seasoned with over 30 years of experience in real estate, he still revels in a passion for home building that has been with him since his younger years. “I got my bachelor’s degree in law from Thammasat University. Before pursuing my master’s in the States, I worked as a counsellor for some big allocation projects. So for my master’s degree I chose to study a real estate-related urban affairs curriculum. It was all about developing urban spaces—and I loved it!”
Over the years Pongphan has acquired the sobriquet of Thailand’s ‘innovative developer’. “Prior to APEX, we did many different types of projects—townhouses, condominiums, offices, resorts, mixed-use spaces and many more,“ he explains. With his experienced team he recently took over the Suntec Group and renamed it Apex Development. Searching for new opportunities with less competition, he saw that the tourism industry was leading the way, driving development particularly in resort cities such as Phuket, Pattaya and Krabi. Hence, in 2008 the newly minted company began operations with large-scale projects such as the Mövenpick Resort & Residences Pattaya.
“The challenges were to find suitable locations to build the hotels and branded residences and the hotel groups to manage the retailing and maintenance of them,” he explains. “But we have been privileged to get access to exquisite sites and the expertise of five-star hotel brands such as Marriott International and Club Med. The branded residences are for investment purposes—the buyers have use of them for 30 days per year and they rent them out for the rest of the time under the hotel’s management.”
APEX is also looking to the future, following its plans to develop sustainable realty with enhanced value with two new estates: The Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay and The Residences at Club Med Krabi. It is properties such as these that have seen the company receive local recognition with awards including Best Condo Development 2018, Best Hotel Development 2018 and another three accolades at the Property Guru Thailand Property Awards 2018. The company's developments also received wider recognition with honours at both the Property Guru Asia Property Awards and the Japan International Property Awards in 2018.
The Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay
This mixed-use premium branded residence managed by Sheraton cost over four billion baht. It boasts a beautiful location in Ao Po in the east of Phuket. The site spreads 650 metres along the shoreline overlooking a 220-metre beach frontage. This paradise is only 30 minutes away from Phuket International Airport. Nearby attractions include Mission Hill Golf Club and Ao Po Grand Marina.
The property offers five styles of residences: three types of pool villa with areas ranging from 90-137.5 sqm, 84 sqm pool suites and 53 sqm suites. Prices range from 9.8 to 36.7 million baht. Each unit is sold freehold and investor-buyers can choose between rooms with sea or mountain views. Moreover, the project includes The Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay Resort with 183 rooms. Investor-buyers receive revenue under the optional rental programme and the use of their property for 30 days per year. Seventy per cent of the project has been sold to the value of 1.4 billion baht. Construction of the residences is due to be completed at the end of 2019 and the hotel in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The Residences at Club Med Krabi
Located only 25 minutes away from Krabi International Airport, The Residences at Club Med Krabi is a mixed-use project covering over 108 rais with a stunning 280-metre beach frontage. Club Med is the leader in all-inclusive resorts with more than 70 locations in 30 countries worldwide.
This project encompasses 300 rooms and 58 residential villas ranging from 81-156 sqm, all with breathtaking views of the sea. The villas are suitable for investment with low-rise condominium ownership under the management of Club Med for 20 years. The starting price is 14.6 million baht per unit. Investor-buyers not only gain revenue but also have a quota of 15 days per year to enjoy the development’s all-inclusive services, including food and a host of activities. The construction of this project will commence in the second quarter of 2019 and will be completed in late 2021.
The two aforementioned projects are part of the firm’s momentum, which is growing stronger. As Pongphan says, “I am still having fun, I enjoy developing very much, always thinking of new ideas and there are a lot of opportunities in Thailand.” In the near future APEX will also debut two new projects, The Residences at Delta by Marriott Mai Khao Phuket Resort and The Residences at Sheraton Krabi Long Beach Resort. This project will cost 3.5 billion baht and will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2021.