A look back at Saigon's landmark Tax Center before it turns into dust

By VnExpress   October 11, 2016 | 11:45 pm PT
From its heyday to the very last moments before demolition.

The Saigon Tax Trade Center, formerly known as the Grands Magasins Charner de Saigon during the French colonial era, is being demolished Wednesday. Bid farewell to the city's 136-year-old landmark with a series of photos dating back to its heyday.


The building was built in 1880 at the corner of Saigon’s central boulevards Charner and Bonnard.


It was renovated and renamed the Grands Magasins Charner in 1924 and became “the place to shop in Saigon”, according to Saigon historian Tim Doling.


In the 1950s, it was a favorite gathering point of the city’s high society.


The name was changed again to the Saigon Tax Trade Center in 1960 after the city was taken over by the Republic of Vietnam.



The downtown area around the Tax Center, Rex Cinema and Abraham Lincoln Library was the most popular hangout for middle and upper class in the 1960s.


Last renovated in 2003, the building retains many of its original interior features, notably its beautiful stairway and its decorative wrought iron railings.


In 2010 the city approved a project to replace the building, with demolition planned for 2014.

But the plan has been delayed after meeting strong protest from the nostalgic public. More than 300 architects, researchers and students signed a petition calling on the city to preserve parts of the iconic building.


In late 2014, the city approved a proposal from the Architecture Department to preserve the main lobby, the grand staircase and its bronze railings.


The mosaic in the lobby will be taken up and used for the new staircase.


Over the last three months, the floor has been painstakingly removed by members of the Faculty of Archaeology from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.


Saigon Tax Trade Center will be replaced by a 40-story modern skyscraper, according to Doan Hoai Minh, deputy director of Saigon Trading Company, the main investor in the project. There will be shopping malls, entertainment services, offices, hotels and a helipad.

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Magnificent century-old Tax center to be torn down in Saigon

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