Thailand Cabinet approved a new Bangkok City Plan recently to replace the one in use since 2006 and due to expire on May 15. Property-industry observers say the new plan will open up new locations for development near the mass-transit routes.
The new "green" city plan will be vetted by municipal authorities before officially taking effect.
Panyapas Nopphan, deputy director-general of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Department of City Planning, said the new plan covered four categories, up from three in the old one.
The three existing categories are land use, open spaces such as green areas, and mass transit, but the new plan adds the city's infrastructure system such as wastewater management, drainage, and solid-waste disposal.
The new Bangkok City Plan also revises the recognition of high-density locations, based on existing and planned routes of the two main urban-rail systems, BTS Skytrain and MRT.
"We revised some locations that had been considered low-density to be categorised as high-density when the transit routes pass through them because of the rising demand to live close the mass-transit system based on our experience since the implementation of the BTS and MRT," she said.
Other locations in Thon Buri, Bang Phlat and Bangkok Noi districts will change from high-density to moderate-population areas.
The changed density definitions will directly affect which areas property firms choose to develop for residential and commercial buildings.
For example, a change from a moderate-population designation to high-density will open up business opportunities to build homes with usable space of more than 10,000 square metres, depending on details of the location.
The new Bangkok City Plan also promotes environment-friendly buildings following the guidance of the Thai Green Building Institute by increasing floor area ratios, Panyapas said.
Pruksa Real Estate chief business officer Prasert Taedullayasatit said: "We have to study the details of the new city plan on which locations will change identity from moderate-population areas to high-density areas to support our business plan in the next five years."
However, he believes that new high-density designations will open business opportunities for property developers to open up new locations for residential projects, both low-rise and condominium projects.
"Some locations in moderate-population area that are now in more demand because of expansion of the mass-transit system have seen land prices rise too high to justify development of low-rise projects. The changes in the new Bangkok City Plan now will support development [of high-density projects such as condos] in such high-demand locations," he said.
Housing Business Association president Issara Boonyoung said the Cabinet's approval of the new Bangkok City Plan would encourage property firms that had been
waiting to see how it played out to go ahead and launch new residential and commercial building projects.
He added that the new plan was similar to the old 2006 one in many respects, but recognised the changes in population density due to the mass-transit routes.