HCMC underground parking lot projects stuck with planning, investment issues

By Gia Minh   November 7, 2022 | 04:31 am PT
HCMC underground parking lot projects stuck with planning, investment issues
Le Van Tam Park in HCMC's District 1 is one of four locations where the city has planned to build an underground parking lot. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Four underground parking lots remain on paper after over two decades as Ho Chi Minh City struggles to source the space and the money for them.

At an online talk show Sunday, Tran Anh Tuan, deputy director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, said the implementation of four underground parking lot projects, all set to be built in the city center, has been delayed by problems related to planning and attracting investment.

The four underground lots with a total capacity of 6,300 cars and 4,000 motorbikes were to be built in the central District 1 and operate along with other commercial services.

In 2019, a $110-million plan to build a parking lot beneath Le Van Tam Park was scrapped after a 10-year delay. It was meant to accommodate 2,000 motorbikes, 1,250 cars and 28 buses and trucks on an area of 100,000 square meters.

The project broke ground in 2010 to be carried out under the build-operate-transfer format but stalled soon after.

According to the Department of Transport, many important requirements were not fulfilled, including obtaining construction permits and evaluation of technical designs.

In 2012, the investor completed the basic design. It then sought to make adjustments, but did not do so for five years. At the end of 2017, it promised to carry out the work, but without progress.

In 2009, a VND900-billion ($38.7 million) lot was approved in principle to be built at Trong Dong Theater.

Construction firm Dong Duong Group was first licensed to build it near Saigon Opera House in 2008 but was told to move it to the Trong Dong theater, more than one kilometer away, because it could affect construction of a metro line station.

The company planned to build a 5,300-square-meter lot with seven floors below ground and three above to hold more than 700 cars and 400 motorbikes.

But with work delayed over a prolonged period, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment proposed in 2018 that the city reappropriate the land.

For the remaining two projects, approved in 2015 and 2016 to be built at Tao Dan Park and Hoa Lu Stadium, the city has not been able to find investors.

The former was to cost more than VND1 trillion and have four levels underground and one above to hold nearly 1,200 cars and 900 motorbikes. The other was to cost VND3.4 trillion to have five underground levels to accommodate 2,500 cars and 2,873 motorbikes.

Currently, the law for projects invested under the public-private partnership format (PPP) does not allow investors to earn extra income by operating commercial services at the project while businesses all wish to do so to ensure their investment will bring profits.

"Such obstacles have prevented the city to attract investors as it would be very difficult for them to recover their capital," said Tuan.

Tran Quang Lam, director of the Transport Department, added the city wants to build many parking lots under the PPP format, but current policies are not attractive enough to investors.

With underground parking lots remaining on paper after many years, the municipal Transport Department is working on a plan to build assembled high-rise parking lots at three parks in District 1: September 23, Le Van Tam and Tao Dan.

The parking space available in the city currently only comprise 20% of the city's plans, for which it needed another 900 hectares (2,223 acres) for a total 1,200 hectares.

In 2018, to mitigate the shortage of parking spaces, the city allowed cars to be parked on streets in several areas including District 1 and collect fees, but this has not met demand.

The city now has more than 850,000 cars and more than 7.8 million motorbikes, not to mention those owned by migrants.

go to top