The EmSphere was proposed as the third ultra-luxury shopping mall to join the EM District in Phrom Phong, alongside Emporium and EmQuartier.
The area would rival Siam Paragon for its luxe appeal and bring in wealthy tourists in their droves, making Sukhumvit the hub of Bangkok retail.
Press releases dated back to 2013 and 2014 from developer The Mall Group spoke of a ฿7 billion (US$200 million) project that would be the entertainment and tourist destination on Sukhumvit, with a 1,000 seat capacity arts and performance centre and a slew of international retail brands making their Thailand debut.
Completion on the project was slated for the end of 2016, and the space – between Benjasiri Park and the Holiday Inn hotel on Soi 22 – duly excavated.
Here’s the aerial map of the EM District’s proposed areas of operation:
— ยปจ (@Yui_Project) May 29, 2015
That was last year. Since then, nothing much has seemingly been done by way of construction.
Sure, there’s been a few classic Thai/weird posters promoting the EM District emblazoned across the temporary construction fences, and the rumblings of tractors and cranes roaming around the site, but otherwise seemingly nothing of substance.
Heard new #EmSphere development (Sukhumvit)planned 4 old Washington Square is on hold & will be temporary market till economy picks up.
— Talking Bullocks! (@roastbeef69) November 29, 2015
Then in December last year, the Artbox container market festival rolled into the space for a few weekends. It’s always a good idea to claw some rent back on an empty space, right?
And now– now there’s rumours that a dinosaur theme park will be taking over the space.
That’s right, a dinosaur theme park.
With new posters screaming out ‘DINOSAUR PLANET’ over the construction fences, and the odd life-size T-Rex spotted heaving across the streets of Bangkok, it looks as though the rumours are true.
The Facebook page for Dinosaur Planet is recruiting for workers while an opening date of 18 March has been mooted. Apparently the park will feature over 200 species of dinosaurs.
We’re certainly not complaining – Bangkok is absolutely saturated with so-called luxury shopping malls and so far we haven’t heard of any other dinosaur theme park in the vicinity. There’s clearly a gap in the market here.
But what does this mean for the EmSphere and the future of the EM District? Is Dinosaur Planet a temporary attraction, installed to simply bide the time until EmSphere can begin construction in earnest? Or has the mall project been scrapped entirely?
We don’t know but we’ll let you know once we find out. In the meantime, you’ll find us getting up close and personal with a Diplodocus.
Featured image is via Richard Barrow/Maxiniac Maggie/Facebook