HCMC unable to clear downtown area, gives up plan for commercial complex

By Thu Hang   March 14, 2023 | 08:49 pm PT
HCMC unable to clear downtown area, gives up plan for commercial complex
Ma Lang area in HCMC's District 1. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
HCMC has pulled the plug on a proposed commercial complex to replace the Ma Lang area since it is unable to get the site for it.

The decision was made recently by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee's Party unit.

Ma Lang is a 6.8-hectare (16.8-acre) area in District 1 situated between Nguyen Trai, Cong Quynh, Nguyen Cu Trinh, and Tran Dinh Xu streets.

Before 1975 it used to be a cemetery. That changed in 1980-82 when people who had left for new economic zones in rural and mountainous areas returned to the city due to extreme poverty.

Many of them settled in Ma Lang in makeshift tents and houses.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s the neighborhood became notorious for drugs, and the name Ma Lang became synonymous with some of the most feared gangsters in HCMC.

The city started planning a makeover for Ma Lang in 2000, but it was not until 2007 that the project was taken over by Bitexco Group, the corporation that builds and owns the Bitexco Financial Tower, which used to be the highest building in HCMC before the position was replaced by Vingroup's Landmark 81.

The company described the project as a mixed-use development with residential, retail and office spaces, a hotel and a hospital.

It required evicting 1,424 families.

But the city has been unable to do so, with the affected households disagreeing on compensation and relocation.

It is set to tell Bitexco to call it off since "there is no basis to consider continuing the project."

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