Bloomberg on Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau

I’m a little late in noting this, but Thailand watchers may be interested in this Bloomberg story from December 11:

Facing eviction from her home of six decades, Amporn Pannarat personifies the dilemma facing the fund supporting Thailand’s monarchy as it seeks to boost returns and regenerate Bangkok with its first commercial development project.

The 78-year-old watched over the years as office towers and Four Seasons and St. Regis hotels went up around her aging concrete house near Lumpini Park, now one of several dozen left on land about the size of Manhattan’s World Trade Center site. The Crown Property Bureau’s plan to build condominiums on the location puts it at odds with an image of altruism maintained by a fund that eschews profit as its central objective.

The shift to build commercial properties, instead of just leasing land to private developers, risks exposing the CPB to scrutiny it has largely avoided because of laws used to shield the monarchy from criticism. The bureau, which has a portfolio estimated at $41.3 billion — more than three times that of the British throne — provides few details of its earnings and how they are spent.

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Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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