The big question: Is it possible to change the axis of activity within Bangkok? Is it possible to shift Bangkok’s financial center of gravity away from the old Sukhumvit BTS line to another part of Bangkok, a part that is situated on the other side of the Chao Phraya river?
The Sukhumvit BTS line include the powerful BTS Phrom Phong station where you will find Emporium 1, 2, and 3, the BTS Siam station in the heart of Bangkok where you will find the Siam Paragon complex and about a dozen other malls. The heart of Bangkok is currently located near the Central World complex, few will argue with me about this.
Changing Bangkok’s axis of activity is an immense challenge. However, before we jump to conclusions and say it not possible, before we talk about ‘the right’ and ‘the wrong’ side of the river, let’s look back in time to 2006 when everybody said The River Condominium by Raimon Land was located on ‘the wrong’ side of the river. The River Condominium turned out to be a huge success and the ones that said it was located on the wrong side of the river were proven wrong.
When you make an investment of a considerable size you will naturally try to safeguard that investment, however there is always a risk factor involved when you enter uncharted territory. Somebody has to be the first, somebody has to take a chance and go new ways otherwise nothing will ever change. Visionary leaders will build the future.
We were in Bangkok on the 1st of August 2014 to make a feasibility study of the ICONSIAM project. This unique article is based on extensive investigation and research, we have fine-combed the area in question on both sides of the Chao Phraya river. The condominium part of ICONSIAM is going to work just fine, no doubt about that. Success is already a reality. However, what the shopping complex is concerned the conclusion is not that simple.
At the moment it is unlikely that the planned mall will get a high customer flow, that is, if you use the number of visitors to Siam Paragon or MBK as a reference. The nearest BTS station, Krungthonburi, is too far away to simply just walk and it is naive to believe that people in great numbers are going to arrive by boat.
Please close your eyes for a moment, imagine the Siam BTS Station connected to the Siam Paragon complex. We are talking thousands of people passing by every minute. It is amazingly crowded all days of the week. There is a very healthy passenger flow. You simply do not have this kind of customer flow on the other side of the river. If you want a shopping mall to become successful you need a crowd of people.
Ask yourself the following question: Would you cross the river and go shopping at ICONSIAM if you can get exactly the same products at the existing malls? Probably not. ICONSIAM will need something unique in order to attract customers.
River City Shopping Complex is located near ICONSIAM but on the other side of the river. We visited on a friday and it was very quiet. You visit River City to dine or to have a drink while enjoying the views of the river. From a commercial point of view I doubt this is a successful mall. This is a great location but there are serious access problems which make it difficult to attract customers. There is just Charoen Krung Road leading to the complex, that is the main problem, as a result you end up having an empty mall. River City shopping mall is actually a very nice place. There is no doubt that a mall by the river is a great idea. Everybody loves the Chao Phraya River, it is very relaxing and a good place to chill out.
You can easily drive to ICONSIAM and the Thonburi side is believed to be home to many wealthy thai families. If this is supposed to be a shopping mall for the people living on the Thonburi side and if they have money to spend, then of course it will work. However, it is not easy to achieve success, just look at Mega Bangna & IKEA, a new shopping complex that is very quiet during the weekdays and then the shopkeepers make money during the weekends.
Turning ICONSIAM into a success can be a bit of a challenge because they need to change the mindset of people. There is no telling what the future holds but the owners have to play their cards right and work with the brightest minds they can find. They have to make people believe that they need ICONSIAM, that they can’t live without it. This is a public relations job so they need to do a perfect marketing job.
It takes visionary leaders to shape the future. ICONSIAM may become an important player in Bangkok, it may become a major tourist attraction. We will just have to wait and see.
Published 6 August 2014
The photos were taken 1st of August 2014
This is River City Shopping Complex near ICONSIAM but on the other side of the river. We visited on a friday and it was very quiet. You visit River City to dine or to have a drink while enjoying the views of the river. From a commercial point of view I doubt this is a successful mall. Great location but there are serious access problems.
Millennium Hilton Bangkok near ICONSIAM
ICONSIAM on the 1st of August 2014
Millennium Hilton Bangkok near ICONSIAM
The River Condominium near ICONSIAM. She is an architectural beauty.
The Room Charoenkrung 30, on the other side of the river.
River City Shopping Complex near ICONSIAM