Strata-title offices, conceived in Australia during the 1960s, have been popular in many Asian markets such as Thailand and Singapore but are still new to many real estate buyers in Cambodia. In this edition of the Odom newsletter, we talk to Mr. Khim Leang of KNC & Associates about the many challenges of finding a suitable office space for a law firm which lead to his company's decision to buy an office at Odom Tower.
Tell us about KNC & Associates and the early days of the firm.
KNC & Associates is a Phnom Penh-based law firm providing professional, timely, cost-efficient, and practical legal solutions. We support our clients in all legal matters, including litigation and commercial real estate. At the moment, we are working on ten borey and condo projects.
We started in 2009 with only one shareholder. In 2012, we were registered with the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Since then, we have grown to three shareholders, ten lawyers and legal assistants, and ten office staff.
Where did the law firm establish its first office, and what challenges did you encounter?
Our first office was simply a small rented flat in front of Santhormok high school. It was primarily a residential area without many offices around. Aside from being small, we were not satisfied with the level of security. Residential buildings do not have the security equipment of modern office buildings.
In 2013, we moved to a two-story flat next to the Chinese Embassy. While it was bigger and more centrally located than our first office, we did not have sufficient parking space for our staff and clients. At the end of the day, it was still a residential building, so it did not have the level of security and professionalism that we wanted for our firm.
Finally, we moved to the B2 Building of Factory Phnom Penh in 2017. We are quite happy and comfortable here, but of course, we are still dreaming of having our own office.
“It happens a lot in Phnom Penh that even businesses doing well suddenly have to move locations because the landlord decided to end the contract for one reason or another. We don't want to keep moving. We want stability for our business.”
What made you decide to purchase an office at Odom Tower?
KNC & Associates has been working with the developer ULS since 2017. Aside from our familiarity with the developer, we saw that Odom would be located on Norodom -- the center of Phnom Penh. That would make it very convenient for clients to visit our office.
Secondly, we saw the Grade A facilities and security the building would have. In the profession, we need to assure our clients that our premises are safe. It's also an unspoken rule, but it helps to portray some level of prestige as a law firm.
Most importantly, we are excited to be a part of a dynamic business community. It's not just an office building -- it's a collection of enterprises and organizations that we can learn from. Of course, we welcome the opportunity to work with these other businesses and provide our legal services.
Odom Tower offers strata-title offices. These are still considered new in the Cambodian market. What value do you see in a strata office?
I see it as a convenient way to own an office in a strategic location. Before, only landed offices were available for sale, but the supply was limited. At Odom Tower, there are several floors of office spaces that many different companies can buy.
The other benefit of a strata title is that you can use your workspace for a lifetime. You won't have to deal with your landlord constantly. That's one less thing to think about.
It happens a lot in Phnom Penh that even businesses doing well suddenly have to move locations because the landlord decided to end the contract for one reason or another. We don't want to keep moving. We want stability for our business.