Pace Development’s US Investment Draining MahaSamutr

Mr. Sorapoj Techakraisri, CEO of PACE Development Corporation plc. (PRNewsFoto/PACE Development Corporation plc)

Sorapoj Techakraisri, chief executive of parent company Pace Development, has told the Financial Times it had no plans to sell Dean & DeLuca, which it acquired in 2014.  Since then the brand has become a major financial burden on the company resulting in a halt in work to complete MahaSamutr, a major Hua Hin luxury property development.

The Thai chief “fell in love” with the brand that was a pioneer in selling pricey curated cheeses, olive oils and cakes, when negotiating to open Thailand’s first Dean & DeLuca store at Pace’s MahaNakon development. 

When Pace bought the food emporium brand in 2014 for $140m from US financial investors, Mr Sorapoj spoke of expanding it to hundreds of stores in Asia and elsewhere in a café/restaurant format.  The brand has since been laid low by high costs and online competition. 

Mr Sorapoj said Pace would use proceeds from the sale of the debentures to pay back some of the money owed to banks and suppliers left with unpaid bills because of a cash crunch at the Bangkok-based property group. Dean & DeLuca has already closed most of its stores in the US and faces lawsuits from angry suppliers.

Pace Development sold the landmark high-rise condo building MahaNakhon in Bangkok to Thai conglomerate King Power last year as its financial problems mounted. 

“Our plan now is to raise money at the Pace level, and also to continue with two real-estate projects that we have,” Mr Sorapoj said, adding that because of its losses in the US, Pace had frozen work on nearly completed high-rise condominium developments in Bangkok and Hua Hin. 

Mahasamutr, which is located on Soi 112, is the Hua Hin development which comprises of 80 private villas which surround what has been described as the largest artificial lake in Asia. 

In 2018 Mr Sorapoj  said  that  the company was seeking partners to change the concept of Mahasamutr into a luxury wellness hotel and resort.  That comment was made after it was revealed that Pace Development had sold MahaNakhon to ease the company’s huge debt.

Since then little progress has been made to complete the promises of an exclusive and luxurious members’ club and many other facilities.