Saigon dooms hundreds of old villas to demolition

By Ngoc Hau   September 25, 2016 | 03:40 pm GMT+7
Saigon dooms hundreds of old villas to demolition
In late June, private citizens razed a nearly century-old villa on No Trang Long Street in Binh Thanh District. Photo by VnExpress/Duy Tran

Developers continue to drop HCMC's historical homes.

The Architecture Research Center of Ho Chi Minh City maintains that half of the town's pre-1975 villas have already been torn down, leaving roughly 650 historical structures in a kind of limbo.

On Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, for example, 29 of 53 villas have disappeared. Likewise, half of Hai Ba Trung Street's 40 villas now exist only in photographs.

The edict requiring developers to submit to an administrative review by the city's mayor before tearing down any such building hasn't had a noticeable impact.

In late June, private citizens razed a nearly century-old villa on No Trang Long Street in Binh Thanh District while owners of a villa on District 1's Ly Tu Trong Street felled a mansion valued at VND200 billion ($8.8 million).

Neither had bothered to consult the city government, prompting calls for the district government to punish those involved.

Meanwhile, the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies has submitted a draft regulation aimed at classifying old villas for preservation purposes, Hoang Minh Tri, deputy director of the institute, told VnExpress.

Tri said the regulation would classify the town's remaining villas into three tiers and only allow for the demolition of tier-3 villas—or those considered to hold minimal architectural, cultural and historical value.

The draft regulation, however, has yet to receive the city’s approval.

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