He received the title of Phraya Pakdi Norasreth, “Beloved Millionaire,” from Rama VI. He is remembered as a uniquely innovative businessman who helped the Siamese elite adopt and adapt to the fashions of the 20th century. He started a department store to import foreign delicacies, sold the latest phonograph equipment, imported cars, built filling stations and continued innovating to satisfy commuters by providing a variety of auto, bus, taxi, and boat services. He is especially remembered for importing ice making equipment to Bangkok.
He astutely built a vast real estate empire. His most famous deal was the 1922 swap of rice land in Ploenchit as the new site of the British Embassy in exchange for the option to buy the Embassy’s original riverside site. He bought it and promptly sold it to the government as the site of the new General Post Office.
It seems that by then Mr. Lert held the deeds to all the land in the vicinity of the post office (including all 3 deeds of the Warehouse30 project). Then World War II erupted, the Japanese Army occupied the area, including the warehouses. When the war ended, Mr. Lert was 71 years old, and his health was deteriorating. After he passed away his heirs were ready to sell it to the interested buyers, Mr. Chuan Chavanich and Mrs. Manee Chavanich.