The Riviera : The Winner ‘The Best Luxury Condominium 2016′ TPA HonoursRecently, The Riviera Group just win Best Luxury Condominium (Eastern Seaboard) 2016 which is the worthy award. The Riviera Group becomes one of Pattaya high-end Developers.
Winston Gale, head of company, reveals some insight about tough market.
“I am delighted we won this prestigious award, its great for everyone in the team who have worked tirelessly for the project. It’s a good pat on the back for everyone involved.” Winston stated about the win. “The Riviera Group was formed over 3 years ago when I was half-way through building The Palm, also in North Pattaya. Ironically as plans were underway to start The Riviera Group, we won the same award for The Palm in 2013. I partnered up with Nova Group to develop that project back in 2010 which in reality was my first project in Thailand. Since then, we launched The Riviera Wongamat Beach spending 45m THB on a Showroom designed to impress which, I am pleased to say was received very well by both the local and Bangkok Market. Then we worked with CBRE real estate agents. As time went by, our relationship grew stronger with many local agents and we decided to carry on sales without their services.
The project itself is 83% sold today which we are happy with being as we had over 10% of cancellations over the last 2 years. The same problems that have hit tourism generally affected us the same way”.
How big are these Riviera projects compared to other high-rises?
“Well The Riviera Wongamat is 2 high-rise builds, 45 and 43 floors in height with over 68,000 sq.m which we build. I guess as a comparison, it is by example about 30% bigger than The Palm high-rise, so it’s quite a large project. That said, The Riviera Jomtien is another 10% bigger (or 40% bigger than The Palm) so again, these are quite significant sized high-rise projects. But its good for Pattaya to have projects like this, it is all part of helping to raise Pattaya’s profile”.
When do you expect to complete the project?
As originally planned, we should be almost complete end of next summer. We secured in May this year a bank loan from SCB for 920m THB which is enabling us to drive the construction forward quite quickly.
Late last month we ‘Topped-out’ at both towers reaching roof-top completion which for us in construction is a big milestone. It won’t be long now before the tower cranes and hoists come down and we start being able to use the internal lifts”.
We know from previous articles that your ‘right-hand’ is actually your wife ‘Sukanya’ who you have described as ‘The heartbeat of the Group’. What’s it like working so closely together?
“Probably as you would expect really, very rewarding mostly. We understand each other so that helps so much. Of course we will have our arguments too, but that’s just a normal process and typical of the day-to-day issues we deal with. The team all respects her because she understands the job, the process and the project inside out. No one else knows it like her other than myself. She is fair, but can be tough too.”
When can you tell us about the team itself?
“Well, of course I would say the team is great, but they genuinely are. We are lucky to have lots of hard working people who help make The Riviera Group what it is today, its never just 1 or 2 people, that’s just not possible. Some came to the awards with us in Bangkok which was great to experience together, but of course with a team of about 100 people today, I cannot name them, but they know who they are and I work along side them, they make me feel privileged everyday that they have the patients to put up with my foreign perspective on things when they are all Thai and we are very different. I know I can be difficult and very demanding at times”.
Back to where it all started, what do you think about ‘The Palm’ now its finished?
“To be fair, very proud of it, especially the journey to get it where it is today. I remember, being introduced to the landowner, spending time on the land when it was almost a forest, seeing Thailand’s political problems, poor market conditions, then starting it and having huge issues along the way. I had a great partner in Rony Fineman (Nova Group) to learn from and very early into the project, he realized I was capable of getting on with it and so that’s what I did together with Sukanya, and that’s how its been right to the end. So seeing it finished now, I guess its like seeing your child finally graduate. For buyers, we have been delayed but the finished product I believe is exceeding most people’s expectations, so the delays become less important, but for me and Sukanya personally, it’s been a very long journey spanning almost 8 years.
What most people don’t realize is that Sukanya and myself literally handpicked and designed just about everything you see there. All the furniture, the marble, the chandeliers, the tiles, literally all the features, even the snooker table (he laughs) and landscaping, we put our personal attention to detail into it so its fair to say the project means a lot to us personally. I like to think though that shines through when you are their as an owner walking around. We will of course put the same level of detail and finishing passion into The Riviera so that also has that extra magic you so often do not get with more corporate projects.”