The Crown Property Bureau (CPB) plans to spend 2 billion baht to develop the Tha Chang and Tha Tien Pier areas around the Grand Palace into a new tourism area and rental spaces.

As part of the investment, 1 billion baht will be budgeted for construction of a three-and-a-half-storey underground car park beneath the riverside Nakrapirom Park, which is close to Tha Tian Pier.

Nakrapirom Park was officially opened in 2010 by the Royal Household Bureau in collaboration with the CPB and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). The offices of the Internal Trade Department and Public Warehouse Organisation used to be on the plot. The park is now temporarily closed for renovation.

According to Oranuch Im-arrom, the CPB’s senior head of conservation management, the underground car park building will be capable of handling 700 vehicles and is aimed at supporting tourism, as more than 10,000 tourists visit the Grand Palace each day.

Nakrapirom Park is set to become an important new landmark in the city due to its strategic position, where tourists can overlook other nearby attractions and enjoy a breathtaking vista, she said.

“We have heavy traffic every single day and there is not sufficient parking for vans and buses,” she said, adding that construction is scheduled for next year.

According to Mrs Oranuch, the CPB will spend about 500 million baht in developing commercial spaces at Tha Chang Pier, with the remaining budget to be used for renovating five old buildings near the park, built in the time of King Rama IV, into a museum for khon traditional masked dance, as initiated by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

Mrs Oranuch said the CPB is renovating all 38 shophouses at Tha Chang Pier for conservation in accordance with the Fine Arts Department.

Existing tenants will be required to invest 25% of the total budget worth 2.5 million baht per shophouse, while the CPB will pay the rest.

She said the CPB also owns a land plot of two rai surrounded by these shophouses, to be developed for two commercial buildings each with 2,000 square metres of space.

The two buildings are aimed to attract new tenants for food, drinks and souvenir shops to serve tourists, but rental rates have yet to be disclosed.

Another 1,000 sq m at the same land plot will be constructed as a rental gallery to support Silpakorn University students.

Mrs Oranuch expects all construction to finish as scheduled in 2018.

“The CPB has a long-term plan to renovate, adjust and develop the Rattanakosin area until 2025,” she said. “The next project will be the renovation of Tha Tien Market and Tha Phrachan’s shophouses, likely by 2018.”

The three rai of Tha Tien market are closed because of decay and poor sanitation.

The CPB is studying a new design for the two markets.

According to Mrs Oranuch, the renovated locations will include Baan Mot, Mansri, Phraeng Nara, Phraeng Phuthon and Nang Loeng.