It's obvious Bangkok's retail industry never stops evolving. And while street commuters are continuously excited by the multiplication of fresh-looking shopping malls throughout the city, travellers along the Chao Phraya now have their fair share of excitement with the presence of a new shopping facility on the east bank of the river.
In response to the bazaar's spectacular 100-metre-long, five-storey-high glass facade and breezy riverside boardwalk, which give it the look of a world-class venue, a passer-by may curiously ask, "What is that beautiful building?"
Well, its location says it all _ it is River City.
Relaunched earlier this year, the River City plaza, which has been a well-known landmark and high-trafficked pier on the Chao Phraya river since 1984, recently began a new chapter.
With a new look, new strategy and new business direction, the 43,000sqm complex has mutated from a humdrum arcade of touristy antique stores into a sophisticated destination for all, whether they be shoppers, diners, tourists or collectors _ foreign or local.
It officially took 18 months and 350 million baht for this inside-out renovation. Though, according to the management, the plan was initiated in 2006.
''Five years ago when I took the position as the third managing director of River City, a main project was to create a future direction for the plaza. Because it had never had any major refreshment since it first opened 27 years ago,'' said Thamsathit Chamsri, River City's managing director.
(...) Managed by the Italthai Group together with Mandarin Oriental Holding BV, River City currently features more than 100 retail shops, 11 restaurants, a state-of-the-art grand hall and a number of fully equipped conference rooms.
As a shopping haven, River City presents, on its 11,500m2 retail space, a large number of shops carrying specially designed products including leather goods, silk, jewellery and fashion items.
While it boasts new types of merchandise, the bazaar still well highlights its art and antiques signature, with 45% of its shops (on the third and fourth floors) stocking artistic objects and collectable heirlooms.
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