With such a glut of new modern condo developments now in evidence throughout Chiang Mai, it’s easy to overlook or dismiss at face value the city’s many older condos. Yet for those unconcerned by having less than up-to-the-minute leisure facilities or those seeking to embrace a more authentic perspective on everyday Thai life, the more mature of Chiang Mai’s condos often represent potentially golden buy-to-let opportunities or serve as outstanding value private rental accommodation for those on a strict budget. After a prolonged period of neglect, SR condo –or to give it its official title, SR Complex Building- has in the last few years seen a renewed interest among foreign investors and now boasts many entirely remodelled, contemporarily styled, tastefully appointed and homely residential units.
While the surrounding neighbourhood admittedly lacks the sort of cachet enjoyed by the likes of Nimman, SR condo is nevertheless well positioned in its own right. Just steps from the property is a humble collection of Thai eateries, nightly street food vendors and a 24 hour 7-Eleven convenience store. For an infinitely greater selection of groceries (domestic and imported) as well as a broad range of household goods, the Chiang Mai branch of the wholesale giant Makro can be reached on foot in little more than five minutes. A similarly short distance from the condo is Chiang Mai train station with the city’s main (‘Provincial Arcade’) bus terminals less than a half hour walk (or 10 minute drive) optionally by way of StarWork co-working space. A mere few hundred metres from SR condo is the multi-lane Super Highway with fast, direct access to Bangkok Hospital (considered by many local Thai and expats as the best medical centre in all Chiang Mai), Big C Extra hypermarket within the popular Chiang Mai Business Park (CBP), CentralFestival shopping plaza (claimed by some as the largest of its kind in Northern Thailand) and onward, ultimately, to Maya mall at the northern end of Nimmanhaemin Road. For those without their own set of wheels, the number 14 air-conditioned city bus (marked as route B1) operates a daily service with frequent departures from along the main Charoen Muang Road to Chiang Mai zoo via the excellent San Pa Khoi local market, the landmark Tha Phae Gate and through the ‘Old City’ to Suthep Road continuing to the southern edge of Nimmanhaemin Road.
Immediately upon entering the lobby of SR condo stands a minimart, a made-to-order clothing and accessories shop (‘Lamb’s Bell’), a laundry room (consisting of six self-service, coin-operated washing machines, a tumble dryer and a water-vending machine) and adjacent to which is a small food and drink outlet (‘Tan-Jai Bar’). Reachable by whichever of the stairs or the double lifts (elevators), floor 4 features an outdoor communal freshwater swimming pool surrounded by an assortment of seating arrangements inclusive of a couple of sun loungers and, off to one side, a few pieces of recently acquired electronic fitness equipment (treadmill, exercise bike and cross-trainer) in addition to a set of free weights; it should be noted, though, that such amenities aren’t formally free to use and instead residents are expected to pay 60 baht for one-time use of either the pool or the fitness equipment, or a flat rate of 1000 baht per month for unlimited use of both. Also poolside is a massage parlour as well as a cosy fan-cooled corner bar offering a choice of hot drinks, chilled soft and alcoholic beverages and a modest variety of Thai dishes (albeit at slightly elevated prices). Despite the absence of security guards and an in-house digital keycard system, CCTV is installed throughout all shared areas of the property and residents have ready access to the condo reception desk -affectionately referred to as the “Friendly House Office”- between the hours of 8AM until midday and from 1PM to 6PM Monday to Friday (except during Thai national holidays). Although devoid of building-wide WiFi in all common areas of the condo, residents are free to arrange private home broadband within their own unit through either of 3BB or Sinet Internet Service Providers (for which supplementary charges will apply). Besides a very limited number of outdoor bays, vehicles can be parked in the moderately-sized underground lot without charge.
At over 15 years old, the 14-storey SR condo encompasses 36 to 40 sq m studio units (most commonly) along with 1- and 2-bedroom units on occasion up to a capacious 200 sq m or more of habitable space. Sporadic unfurnished or partially furnished units aside, renovated units come fully furnished and air-conditioned with the degree and specification of interior furnishings, complement of electrical appliances and home wares as well as the design and standard of décor influenced by the whims of the individual owner; from the most basically furnished and equipped units to those demonstrating the very epitome of luxury with all mod cons and completely move-in ready. With one or more private balconies, those units facing due west benefit from expansive, uninterrupted views over the city and nearby Thanon Thong Chai mountain range (dominated by the local peaks of Doi Suthep and Doi Pui) against which the sun sets.
Home to an otherwise eclectic mix of Thai and foreign residents alike, SR condo still has a remaining proportion of its 49% foreign-owned legal quota.
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