A new Saigon rises

In The Previous Issue, We Discussed About Downtown Saigon, Part Of The Central Core Region Which Is Undergoing Rapid Transformation In The Wake Of What Is Widely Believed To Be The Start Of An Upward Trend In Its Property Cycle. This Issue, We Continue With The Ben Nghe Canal Belt, West Bank Of Saigon River And Thu Thiem New Urban Area, Considered The Crown Jewel Of The City.

Ben Nghe Canal Belt

Cleaning up the city – Important canals (waterways) passing the downtown area have been cleaned up (freed of squatters, cleared of waste, deepened and generally beautified), exemplified by the Tau Hu-Ben Nghe Canal. The Ben Nghe Canal passes along the southern border of downtown Saigon, providing a natural boundary between Districts 1 and 4; the land along the canal is well suited for upscale residential development due to its close proximity to the city’s commercial center and naturally forms an extension of the city’s core.

The cleaned up canal provides a good catalyst for the proliferation of quality residential developments along its sides as it provides a healthier and safer living environment. Several residential projects in varying stages of construction are sprouting out along the canal; there are 3 prominent high-rise apartment projects (The Tresor, Icon 56 and Rivergate) close to the downtown developed by Novaland, a leading local developer; all 3 projects have a good view of the city’s downtown skyline.

The Tresor is considered a ‘treasure’ of residential real estate developments with its close proximity to downtown Saigon, luxuriously designed interiors and optimal use of space. Likewise, Icon 56 is a high-end quality development occupying a prime location along the canal, surrounded on 3 sides by the Ben Nghe Canal and Saigon River, ensuring that most apartment units will have a river view. The last of the 3 projects, Rivergate is situated right across Ong Lanh Bridge, one of the main thoroughfares extending from the CCR to the Southern Regional Centre based around the Saigon South New Urban Area. The development is considered high-end with good commercial value enhanced with quality finishing and a vibrant locality. Once most of the residential projects along the Ben Nghe Canal come onstream, this belt within the CCR will surely turn into an upscale residential area along the periphery of downtown Saigon.

West Bank Of Saigon River

Saigon Port Sector, District 4 – The Saigon Port, like its counterpart, the Ba Son Shipyard is being relocated to free land for redevelopment; it is scheduled to move to its new location at Hiep Phuoc New Urban and Port Area in Nha Be District, a rural district within HCMC. In its place will be an upscale riverside mixed development zone; mid to high-end shopping malls, high-end to luxury residential apartments, commercial offices and well integrated public areas. Once materialised, the street fronting it will become a prestigious address; the zone is a very natural extension of the CCR from downtown Saigon and will have magnificent unblocked views of both the Eastern Regional Centre across the Saigon River and Southern Regional Centre.

Nguyen Huu Canh Belt, Binh Thanh District – Moving up away from District 1 into Binh Thanh District past the Ba Son Shipyard on Nguyen Huu Canh Street, one can see many high-end apartment buildings such as The Manor by Bitexco and Saigon Pearl by SSG Group. The land sandwiched between Nguyen Huu Canh Street and The Saigon River is a hotbed of developments; with the huge landscape changers Vinhomes Central Park and Saigon Pearl Two, the 2 main developments here.

Vinhomes Central Park is a massive urban high-end mixed development area built around the tallest (to-be) building in HCMC, the 81-floor Landmark Tower. Occupying 43.9 ha of land with 13.8 ha set aside as a green zone USD1.41 billion, Vinhomes Central Park consists of approximately 10,000 apartment units, 90 villas, an international hospital, an international school, a luxury shopping mall and the office tower. Expected to be completed in 2017, Vinhomes Central Park promises to bring to its residents the ideal living environment – harmony with nature combined  with a five-star city lifestyle. Saigon Pearl 2 is still on the drawing board and has not been launched yet; early indications show that it will be located close to the original Saigon Pearl with unblocked views of the downtown city line and Thu Thiem New Urban Area across the Saigon River.

Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area

The crown jewel of the city – Large swaths of land and whole neighbourhoods in Thu Thiem District 2 were cleared and the residents forced to resettle elsewhere. Land clearance started in mid-1990s and after many delays, the land sits vacant waiting with open arms for investors. This will be the epitome of HCMC’s urban renewal, the hallmark of its grand masterplan. Bridges and tunnels crossing the Saigon River to better integrate Thu Thiem to the CCR are being put in place, with Thu Thiem Bridge and Tunnel operational in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and with Thu Thiem 2 Bridge set to be onstream in 2020 and Thu Thiem 3 Bridge planned for. Huge plans are being put in place to develop Thu Thiem New Urban Area as an extension of HCMC’s commercial heart. The Thu Thiem New Urban Area is being built in sections by different developers; included amongst the projects are Thu Thiem Empire City, Thu Thiem Eco Smart City and Sala Urban Area. Thu Thiem Empire City has already broken ground in July 2015 and is expected to cost USD2.2 billion.  The project is jointly developed by Tien Phuoc Property, Tran Thai Properties, Denver Power (UK) and GAW Capital Partners. The 14.5 ha complex will be located just across the Saigon River from downtown Saigon and features a high-end shopping mall, a 5-star hotel, offices, serviced apartments, an underground parking garage and an 86-floor skyscraper (to-be the most prominent structure in Thu Thiem). Following the ground breaking of Empire City, Eco Smart City developed by a joint-venture comprising Lotte, Mitsubishi and Toshiba also broke ground. Spread over 10 hectares, the development will house luxury trade centres, hotels, office buildings and apartments; it aims to be a modern center for finance, commerce and iconic architecture.

The Sala Urban Area is envisioned as a residential eco zone (integrating the surrounding wetlands and waterways) promoting healthy living in the city by its developer Dai Quang Minh joint-stock company. Located on 130.36 ha of land, it is estimated to contain 22,500 residents housed in luxury apartments, villas and townhouses. Apart from its residential component, the project includes commercial areas, a shopping centre, a marina, an international hospital, local and international schools, cultural and sporting facilities. Once completed, it is meant to be a self-contained model urban area in HCMC’s CCR.

Summary

With so many physical landscape-changing developments ongoing in the CCR and the improvements to its socio-economic infrastructure and facilities, HCMC is heading towards a beautiful and bright future as envisioned in its masterplan through to 2025 and beyond. The urban renewal process in the CCR is only just starting with so much more room for growth as Vietnam’s economy continues to defy expectations and investors return with renewed confidence.

In the next article(s), we will explore the progress of the Eastern and Southern Regional Centres as part of HCMC’s urban renewal masterplan and how urban sprawl has affected the areas outside of HCMC’s central region.

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