Resort island becomes a paradise away from home

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 12:00am
 

Billionaire Allan Zeman is ready to move into his dream home - one of the biggest houses in Phuket - before Christmas.


The chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings cast a vote of confidence in the resort island 18 months ago by building the mega house, estimated to cost US$8 million.


In anticipation of a growing property market, Mr Zeman also established a property company there called Paradise Properties, aiming to make a fortune.


Mr Zeman declined to disclose how big his house would be, but he said: 'It's almost like a boutique hotel.'


The huge house project will have 'many villas, spas, a cinema and an Olympic-size swimming pool', according to Mr Zeman.


'It is among the biggest houses in Phuket,' he said, adding that it would be completed in about two months.


The story of Mr Zeman's investment in Phuket goes back to the Chinese New Year holiday last year. The billionaire had originally planned to ski at Whistler, but cancelled that trip after getting pneumonia and changed his destination to Phuket.


'Phuket is a place where I can enjoy doing business and enjoy myself,' Mr Zeman said. His company is building a three-storey retail and office building, consisting of a gross floor area of 50,000 square feet, and plans to develop a residential project comprising 35 to 40 houses on the island.


'I have a lot of confidence in Phuket,' said Mr Zeman, citing an improved economy and good infrastructure as the attraction.


The Thai government was considering waving tax charges on the importation of luxury yachts, which could attract more wealthy people to the island, he said.


Mr Zeman is one of many wealthy Hong Kong businessmen investing in Phuket.


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