Saigon plans $292 million underground shopping complex

By Huu Nguyen   September 7, 2019 | 08:09 pm PT
Saigon plans $292 million underground shopping complex
Work on the Ben Thanh underground station of HCMC's metro line 1, in front of Ben Thanh Market. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
A VND6.4 trillion ($292 million) underground shopping complex near the iconic Ben Thanh Market is scheduled to begin operations in 2021.

The complex will be located next to the Ben Thanh underground station, part of the city's upcoming 20-kilometer metro line number 1, Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien. It is scheduled to begin operations in late 2021, just as work on the line is completed.

The project will be deployed in tandem with the metro line's construction so as to reduce the amount of digging work and enable smooth operations.

The Ben Thanh Central Station is expected to be the midpoint of HCMC's metro lines. The connection between the complex and the metro line will allow residents to enjoy both facilities in the same space.

The project proposal was approved in 2016, which was also when HCMC authorities were examining the option of using official development assistance (ODA) loans to finance such ventures.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has estimated the project would cost VND8.4 trillion ($365 million), with 60 percent financed by ODA loans and the rest by Japanese investors under a public private partnership investment.

Also in 2016, the municipal authorities had proposed to the central government that a consortium of Japanese firms led by Toshin Development be allowed to invest in the project.

The prime minister will have the final say on the project following consultations with the ministries of planning and investment, construction and finance.

The underground project will be built on an area of 45,000 square meters starting from the Ben Thanh Central Station to the city's Opera House. The commercial section will make up 18,000 square meters, while the remaining space will be reserved for hallways and a public square.

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