What happened behind the scenes at Cambodia’s biggest real estate event of the year was just as exciting as the ceremony that aired live on CTN’s Cambodia News Channel

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The glitzy gala, which was attended by 327 guests who consumed 124 bottles of wine, celebrated the real estate achievements of the 15 shortlisted property companies in Cambodia.

The ballroom of the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra erupted into cheers when Borey Penghouth Group cleaned up with five awards, including the biggest accolade of the year for Best Developer.

It has been a great year for Phnom Penh-based developer, which also won a bunch of residential awards for its Grand Star Platinum project, plus a Special Recognition in Corporate Social Responsibility for participating in the kingdom’s social reconstruction via modern housing.

Thay Chea Houth, Borey Penghouth’s president, was ecstatic when interviewed backstage after collecting five trophies.

“Thank you to PropertyGuru for organising this event. Thank you to our government for having the stability in our country so this even can take place. We just want to build very good residences for our customers, so today we are very happy to be part of this event,” he told Property Report.

More: The full list of Winners and Highly Commended at the Cambodia Property Awards 2016

“We see a very good future for our property development and real estate business in Cambodia. We will do everything we can to make this happen again. We’re very happy. There’s no comparison.”

A developer that wasn’t expecting to win was Urbanland Asia Investment Co Ltd, which took home the Best Condo Development (Central Phnom Penh) award for Embassy Residences.

Edgars Arajs, the company’s procurement manager, said: “It’s quite an achievement for our small team. This is a huge pressure for us but also a great boost to continue where we started. This award gives us more confidence in our strengths to do better.”

Another winner in the condominium category for Greater Phnom Penh, Torreya Asset Holdings Co Ltd expressed deep gratitude and promised to return soon to the Cambodia Property Awards with more world-class condo projects.

“We are very delighted to receive this award and grateful for this project,” said Toshihiko Muneyoshi, CEO and founder of Creed Group, the firm behind Torreya. “We are very confident about this rapidly growing city of Phnom Penh. Now we have Bodaiju Residences, but we are also preparing to do two more this year.”

More: Cambodia’s rapidly emerging real estate sector celebrated

With the success and warm reception of the inaugural Cambodia Property Awards, it can be expected that organiser PropertyGuru will have a much bigger event in 2017.

“Cambodian entrants have always been welcome at the South East Asia Property Awards for the past several years and they have had great success there, but at that time there wasn’t the volume of projects to have our own awards in the country. That’s obviously changed now,” said Terry Blackburn, managing director of PropertyGuru International and founder of the Asia Property Awards.

“We’re thrilled to be working with PropertyGuru going forward. With their 14 million website visitors, that can only be a good thing for the Awards to get the exposure and go to a whole new level.”

One of the most ambitious developers in Cambodia today who is looking for regional exposure is Real Estate Personality of the Year winner Rithy Sear, chairman of WorldBridge Land, which jointly develops The Peak and The Bridge with Singapore’s Oxley Holdings.

“I’m very grateful that PropertyGuru chose me as Real Estate Personality of the Year. I’m proud that your organisation has brought the Asia Property Awards to Cambodia for the first time,” he said after picking up his trophy.

“I just want to be the best developer in Cambodia in terms of design and return of investment,” Rithy exclaimed.