Da Nang officials undecided about jumping out of skyscraper

By Nguyen Dong   August 15, 2016 | 01:54 am PT
Da Nang officials undecided about jumping out of skyscraper
A view of the VND2 trillion ($90 million) 37-story administrative headquarters in the central city of Da Nang. Photo by Nguyen Dong/VnExpress
City officials remain vague on whether they will move out of their two-year-old, $90 million office tower.

Authorities in Da Nang are looking to move into a new office building and may sell the current facility that cost VND2 trillion ($90 million) to build back in 2014.

However, despite its location in the heart of the city, they are failing to attract any interest in the 37-story skyscraper.

Staff at the city's administrative headquarters have complained that working in the building has become unbearable due to the heat and oxygen depletion, said senior officials.

The existing administrative building is just two years old but already in need of major upgrades, according to Dang Viet Dung, vice chairman of the city's People’s Committee, the municipal government.

At a meeting of the local legislature last week, city leaders suggested a plan to relocate, which came as a complete surprise to many people attending the meeting.

To put the VND2 trillion ($90 million) price tag of the building into perspective, Da Nang spent 5 percent of its gross domestic product of VND41.7 trillion ($1.9 billion) in 2014 to build the office building.

The skyscraper has more than 65,000 square meters of office space and around 2,000 municipal officials work there.

In an interview with VnExpress, Tran Dinh Quynh, chief of staff of the municipal People's Committee, did not deny the fact that Da Nang might be in favor of selling the property on the Han River and relocating to a new building. However, he said that the city has not made a final decision on the matter, and that its more of a long-term idea.

Da Nang's government has recognized that the value of selling its assets to private property developers who can maximize the economic potential of the real estate will greatly benefit the city.

The city has sold several properties to the private sector, according to Hoang Quang Huy, chairman of the Da Nang Association of Urban Planning and Development, a local think tank.

“The sale of [municipal] buildings in favorable locations to financially sound private developers will put the property to use in a more efficient and effective way,” said Huy, who is also an architect.

Dang Van Ngu, former head of the city's Internal Affairs Department, said that selling these assets will spark commercial activity and benefit the city's economy as a whole.

The city’s administrative center does not have to be located on prime real estate along the Han River, he added.

Nguyen Cuu Loan, deputy chief of office at Da Nang’s urban planning and development department, pointed out that the existing administrative tower at the heart of city is engulfed by the densely-populated urban sprawl, making it difficult for local people and businesses to access to the building.

In 2014, the city council kicked off the construction of the existing building without holding a public vote.

Da Nang’s leaders have confirmed that they will not decide on their own this time. No detailed plans about the relocation have been released.

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