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HCMC proposes underground shopping center

Released at: 06:36, 16/08/2016

HCMC proposes underground shopping center

Photo: Duc Anh

Shopping center to be built by Japanese consortium around urban railway station at Ben Thanh Market.

by Khanh Chi

The Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee has sent a proposal to the government on permitting Japanese investors to build an underground shopping center where an urban railway station is being built at Ben Thanh Market.

City authorities suggested the government approve the joint venture between a Japanese consortium of the Toshin Development JSC, JOIN, Nikken Sekkei Civil Engineering Limited, and Osaka Chikagai.

The project will be a public-private partnership (PPP).

The city also proposed policy approval of the use of official development assistance (ODA) to carry out construction of walkways, squares and other underground works in the area by increasing the funding for the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien urban railway line.

The line is expected to be completed in 2019 and put into operation in 2020.

Total investment is around $312 million for the shopping center, in which development of the Ben Thanh area will cost $170 million and the remaining capital spent on the nearby Le Loi Street area. The project has an area of about 45,000 sq m, including a shopping area of 18,100 sq m and an underground square of 21,500 sq m.

According to the city the underground shopping center is an inseparable part of the urban railway line project and should receive investment shortly so it is built at the same time as other parts of the project.

The Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien urban railway line runs for nearly 20 km, from District 1 to District 2 and District 9 and Binh Thanh and Thu Duc districts in Ho Chi Minh City and Di An district in Binh Duong province.

About 2.6 km is underground with three stations below street level: Ben Thanh, Saigon Opera House, and Ba Son, with more than 17 km aboveground with eleven stations: Van Thanh Park, Tan Cang, Thao Dien, An Phu, Rach Chiec, Phuoc Long, Binh Thai, Thu Duc, Hi-tech Park, Suoi Tien, and Suoi Tien Bus Station.

The Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien urban railway line requires total investment of up to $2.5 billion, with $2.2 billion coming from Japanese ODA loans and $290 million from the city. Construction began in August 2012.

Trains will have a maximum speed of 80 km/h underground and 110 km/h aboveground, allowing passengers to travel from Suoi Tien to the downtown area in around 29 minutes.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee last month submitted a portfolio of transport projects to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in planning to mobilize investment capital under the PPP form.

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