Saigon - a magnet for billion dollar skyscrapers

By Thi Ha   June 2, 2016 | 07:06 pm GMT+7
The Thu Thiem urban area in Ho Chi Minh City is attracting a huge amount of interest from international investors who are ready to pour billions of dollars into building new skyscrapers.

A massive project worth $4 billion was proposed by three U.S. investors at a recent meeting with Ho Chi Minh City Party Secretary Dinh La Thang. The investors tabled a plan to build a modern trade center with multiple functions in this southern hub's designated special zone.

The U.S. enterprises are Steelman Partners (part of the design team for the Grand Ho Tram Resort in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and the Happyland Hotel in Long An Province), Cantor Fitzgerald (investment service provider operating in over 30 markets worldwide) and Weidner Resort (a developer and manager of five-star hotels and resort complexes in the U.S. and Asia).


The $4 billion project with the 70 floor tower proposed by US investors. Photo by VnExpress/HM

Another foreign enterprise who wants to get in on the act is Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPP), owned by overseas Vietnamese Johnathan Hanh Nguyen.

The project will cover 11 hectares and will take over three years to build. This complex is expected to have 70 floors with a convention center, entertainment areas, a shopping mall and office space.

Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, chairman of IPP Group, one of the four shareholders behind the project said, that the investors have finalized their design and financing plans, and work will commence once they have received approval and an investment license from the city's People's Committee and the government.

After years of small steps forward, a $2.2 billion Thu Thiem Eco Smart City project proposed by Lotte Group (Korea) has finally received approval work is expected to start this July. This project will cover about 16.71 hectares and will include a trade center, hotel, apartments and office space in a 50 storey tower. The investor has already paid nearly VND2 trillion (about $89 million) to snap up land in advance.


The 86 city view tower will become the highest building in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress

Another remarkable project which received the stamp of approval in 2014 is the 86-storey Thu Thiem Empire City Tower implemented by the Tien Phuoc – Keppel Land joint venture (Singapore). The highest building in Ho Chi Minh City will cover 8.7 hectares.

The lower part of the skyscraper tower will have a shopping mall and entertainment zone with total investment capital of $1.2 billion. The project was started in 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2022 after four stages.

A representative of the management board for the new Thu Thiem urban area told VnExpress that the large number of investors who have expressed an interest in the area signals that more skyscrapers will be going up in the center of District Two. So far, only the Empire City Tower project has been approved by the city and the government, while Lotte Group has submitted its proposal for consideration.

In 2003, the U.S. consultancy company Sasaki was awarded the contract to transform Thu Thiem into a international financial and trade center like those in Shanghai and Dubai. Thu Thiem currently has about 145,400 inhabitants, but a projected 217,000 people will commute there for work once the projects are complete. By joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Vietnam will attract investment from all over the world, and Ho Chi Minh City has huge potential for development.

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