Work to start on $326mn underground trade area in downtown Saigon this year

Source: Pano feed

People will be able to go shopping three meters from the ground surface right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City when an underground shopping area, scheduled for construction this year, reaches its completion sometime in 2023.


The underground trade center will be constructed along with the Ben Thanh Terminal, which is the central terminal of the under-construction subway system in the southern metropolis, according to the project’s management board.

The Ben Thanh Terminal is where passengers can board metro trains on three separate routes to Suoi Tien in District 9, Tham Luong in District 12, and the Western Bus Station in Binh Tan District under a megaproject running from 2012 to 2023.

The 19.7km Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien is the metro system’s No.1 route, with construction of the Ben Thanh Terminal and the underground shopping center scheduled to start this year.

The 60m-wide shopping area will cover 700m from the 23/9 Park to the Municipal Theater at a depth of three meters under Le Loi Street.

It will be the largest underground trade center upon completion in 2023, said Bui Xuan Cuong, head of the management board that oversees urban railways in Ho Chi Minh City.

Stores will face each other in the shopping area, enabling the space in the middle to function as a walking street, Cuong said.

The underground walking street is connected with the Nguyen Hue pedestrian street , which is slated for inauguration by the end of this month, when Vietnam celebrates its 40th anniversary of reunification.

There will also be entrances that connect the underground structure with the Ben Thanh market, stores and office buildings aboveground in the downtown area, the official added.

Such planning will enable passengers to go shopping underground and reach the Municipal Theater or the Nguyen Hue pedestrian street easily no matter whether they arrive at the central Ben Thanh Terminal from the Suoi Tien, Tham Luong, or Western Bus Station services, according to the official.

The underground trade center requires a huge investment estimated at nearly VND7 trillion (US$326.22 million), he added.

The Ho Chi Minh City administration has assigned relevant agencies to study the possibility of having the project carried out under the public–private partnership (PPP) scheme.

PPP involves a contract between a public sector authority and a private party, in which the private party provides a public service for the project and assumes substantial financial, technical and operational risk in the project.

The city’s administration is expected to support the investors in terms of bank loans or land use rights, whereas they will be allowed to operate the trade center, Cuong said.

The project has so far attracted only one interested investor from Japan, which has suggested funding 30 percent of the underground trade center, while the Vietnamese state budget will cover the remaining.

But Cuong said the financial plan proposed by this investor is unclear and the management board is still waiting for more investors to show their interest.

Cuong said the construction plan for the Ben Thanh Terminal and the underground shopping area has been meticulously prepared so that it will not affect the aboveground facilities and traffic on Le Loi Street.

The project will be implemented in two phases, with the first, from 2015 to 2018, seeing the complete construction of the Ben Thanh Terminal and the underground pedestrian street under Le Loi Street. Parts of metro routes number 2 and 4 will also be completed during this period.

The No.2 service links Ben Thanh with Tham Luong, whereas the No.4 route connects Thanh Xuan in District 12 and Nguyen Van Linh Highway in District 7.

The trade center will be completed in the second phase, from 2018 to 2023, along with the completion of metro routes number 2 and 4.

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Đăng ký: VietNam News