Constructed in the late ‘80s and thus one of Chiang Mai’s earliest condo developments, City View Tower hasn’t exactly aged gracefully. Plagued by years of poor governance and a sizeable accumulation of unpaid maintenance fees, it’s little wonder the condo fell into a state of disrepair. Yet while the building itself won’t win any prizes in the looks department or else outshine its rivals in the provision of on-site amenities, City View Tower condo has comparatively recently received something of a reprieve courtesy of an overhaul in building management. With the appointment of a full-time juristic person, an active condo committee, a palpable sense of community and a highly sought-after location, City View Tower now offers exciting rental prospects to those able to look beyond superficial appearances and its beleaguered past.
Tucked away down a small, quiet soi [lane] off Tha Phae Road, the city’s foremost thoroughfare, City View Tower has almost no equals in being positioned as close to the historic centre of Chiang Mai as any condo. Lining the soi are a number of mom and pop eateries most notably Sunee Juice Café; a firm favourite among local farang [the Thai word for those of Caucasian race], the restaurant is justly renowned for its inexpensive and delicious western breakfasts, homemade sweet pies and namesake freshly prepared fruit juices, shakes and smoothies. Marking the eastern entrance to the ‘Old City’ and reachable from City View Tower in no more than 10 minutes on foot, the heritage landmark Tha Phae Gate serves as the origin of the near-legendary Sunday walking street night market (in fact the single most popular retail experience in all Chiang Mai) and the site of regular public events in the adjoining pedestrianised plaza. Lying less than 1km due east of Tha Phae Gate is the fabled Night Bazaar optionally by way of the amply stocked Tops Daily supermarket. Situated a similarly short walking distance from the property is Kad Luang, Chiang Mai’s oldest and largest commercial complex set in the very heart of the city’s Chinatown quarter; primarily home to the century-old Warorot and, juxtapositioned, Ton Lam Yai indoor day markets and each featuring three storeys of an almost mind-boggling diversity and magnitude of foodstuffs (Northern Thai culinary specialities in particular), clothing and textiles as well as household goods. Directly behind Ton Lam Yai market, facing the Ping River, is the resplendent and equally fragrant flower market, Kad Dok Mai. For those needing a separate work environment, the little-known government-administered Thailand Creative and Design Centre is conveniently accessible roughly 850m to the north of City View Tower and incorporates a first floor coffee shop, hireable meeting room and exhibition hall in addition to a supremely-equipped, immaculately-kept and exceptional value Resource Centre (housing a library and sofa-adorned ‘movie room’) upstairs. Mere steps from TCDC is the fruit, vegetable and meat wholesale market, Kad Muang Mai; heavily patronised by buyers from many of Chiang Mai’s restaurants, the market remains open round-the-clock, spans several blocks and is characterised by implausibly low prices. For destinations slightly further afield, the number 14 air-conditioned white city bus plies both the nearby Chang Moi and Tha Phae Roads every day of the week operating –in both directions- route B1 from the main (‘Provincial Arcade’) bus station to Chiang Mai zoo and route B2 from the main bus station to Chiang Mai international airport with a one-way fare costing an insignificant 15 baht for an adult.
Just inside the main entrance of City View Tower condo and, clearly signed as such, is the juristic office; staffed from 8AM to 5PM Monday to Saturday, the occupying assistant condo manager speaks excellent English as well as demonstrates a professional duty of care, helpful work ethic and personable nature. Although security guards are now limited to the hours between 7PM and 7AM, CCTV cameras are at least present in all common areas of the property. More or less opposite the juristic office is a now defunct karaoke and sports bar adjacent to which is a serviced wash shop (‘CV Laundry’) open six days a week while access to the gated double lift (elevator) foyer is keycard-controlled. On the same floor are a modest amount of car and motorcycle covered parking bays with additional spaces available on the level above as well as in the basement. The communal swimming pool of old is, sadly, no more and indeed leisure facilities of any description are now entirely absent from the condo. Likewise, building-wide shared WiFi isn’t available though installation of private, in-unit home broadband can be organised through any of Chiang Mai’s Internet Service Providers (though supplementary charges will be incurred).
Admittedly, City View Tower can’t claim to have witnessed such a resurgence of interest as has occurred at condos like SR Complex but the 15-storey building has nevertheless seen some of its 160 odd units duly renovated with the extent and quality of interior fittings and fixtures, assortment of home appliances and housewares as well as the layout and design style subject to the discretion of the individual owner. Long a haven for retired western males, studio units vary in size from approximately 30 to 48 sq m, 1 bedroom units (some of which are duplex) from 71 to 97 sq m and 2 bedroom units from 70 to 128 sq m. Although normally out-of-bounds, periodic access to the building rooftop is allowed during certain national holidays, observances and festivals when residents can behold among the most spectacular, unimpeded 360° vistas of the surrounding municipality and mountain ranges of any high-rise in Chiang Mai.
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