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Central World Plaza, Bangkok, Destroyed by  the Red Shirt Protest on May 19th 2010

Central World Plaza  was a shopping plaza and complex, in Bangkok, Thailand It was the second largest shopping complex in Southeast Asia, after SM City North EDSA of the Philippines. The complex, which included a hotel and office tower, was owned by Central Pattana. In 2006, after three years of design and renovation, Central World Plaza was expanded to 550,000 square metres of shopping mall and 1,024,000 square metres of complex, topping its nearby rival Siam Paragon in terms of size.


On May 19, 2010, Central World Plaza was gutted by fire set by rioters in the aftermath of a military operation against anti-government protesters known as Red Shirts. Thai media reported that a portion of the building had collapsed and the building had been declared a danger zone because of fears of the complex entirely collapsing, and that the building would have to be demolished.


Originally called the World Trade Center, the eight-story mall was opened in 1990. Central Group acquired the property in 2002 from the Wang Petchaboon group and soon thereafter renamed it Central World Plaza, and in 2005 re christened it Central World. It is on Crown Property Bureau land. In its acquisition, the Central Group's property development arm, Central Pattana ( SET: CPN ), secured a new 30-year lease on the site.


Expecting the opening of the luxury Siam Paragon, CPN started massive renovations and expansion on the site in 2003. The original mall structure was 300,000 square meters. The expansion plans boosted that to 550,000 square meters. Though the work had not yet been completed, CPN held an official opening of the renovated complex on July 21, 2006, and it was expected to be fully operational by October 2006. As of May 2007 the mall was fully opened but some premises in parts of the upper floors remain still vacant. Major exterior construction was ongoing on the hotel situated in the northwest corner of the mall, and the extension floors to the ZEN department store in southeast corner.


The renovated complex aimed to attract 150,000 customers per day, spending more than seven billion Baht annually. It marketed itself as a middle class shopping centre, opposed to the upper class-marketed Siam Paragon.


At first, Central World did not appear to reach its goal in term of daily visitors due to several reasons, including political turmoil and ongoing economic downturn. However, shopper numbers soon increased, though reliable figures are hard to find. Bangkok's New Year countdown gatherings were held in front of Central World, a tradition that developed in recent years, with the number of people increasing steadily.