As one of the historic prestigious buildings in Yangon, Lokanat building, which is located at the corner of Pansodan and Merchant road, received blue plaque commemoration on September 18, 2015. This Italianate style building which was built around 1906 is famous for its tenant on the first floor, the Lokanat Art Gallery where the original tiles imported from Manchester over a hundred years ago, are still in place. It is now occupied by the Internal Revenue Department and a variety of private businesses.
Originally known as “Sofaer’s Building”, this was designed by Issace A. Sofaer, a Jewish trader from Baghdad, and was built by a then famous architect, Thomas Swales. In 1930s the building was renamed as “Randeria Building” after it had been bought by the family of Indian Surti traders. After World War II, the building was transferred into government hands and housed various departments including the Forestry Department on the top floor and a government store run by Ministry of Industry No.1 on the ground floor. The Lokanat building used to be one of the most important business addresses in Yangon where people bought Egyptian cigarettes, Munich Beer, and candies from England. The building also housed legal and financial offices such as the Bank of Burma and the China Mutual Life Insurance Company. Also located in this building were offices of Reuters Telegram Company, a German Photographer, a Greek leather merchant and a Filipino hairdresser, and this illustrates the cosmopolitanism of Yangon at that time.