Hanoi's abandoned projects: blight on cityscape, urgent call for action

Scattered across Hanoi's bustling landscape are a large number of abandoned projects, causing eyesores to both residents and tourists.

The C2 land lot is now turned into a temporary street market

The Constrexim Complex project by CTX Holdings, envisioned as a towering 45-story structure on a prime location at the intersection of Mai Dich Road and Ring Road 3 (Pham Hung), Xuan Thuy Street, Tran Quoc Vuong Street, received its investment certificate by the Hanoi People’s Committee in July 2012 and an approval for its overall layout in 2017. In 2018, the project's progress was stalled due to problems in land clearance, leaving the site a desolate expanse in the midst of a vibrant city.

Many have voiced that this project is a transformation one not for national security or public benefits but for commercial purposes. Therefore, its investor has to negotiate land compensation with affected people in compliance with Article 73 of the 2013 Land Law.

Having its land clearance issues unsolved, the project cannot continue, changing the once-bustling are into a ghost area. The already cleared land lots are now turned into a temporary street market, worsen the situation.

Another prime site that is now vacant is the C2 project by Hanoi Housing Development and Investment JSC. No6 (Handico 6), located on Nguyen Thi Thap Street in Thanh Xuan District. Initially intended to provide healthcare facilities, a cultural center, and parking for residents, the project has remained dormant for over two decades, causing widespread disappointment in the community.

Handico 6 cites legal complexities as the primary hindrances to progress. However, concerns have been raised about the project's viability, given the challenges of recouping investments from service-oriented developments like culture or healthcare.

Inhabitants of the new residential area of Trung Hoa – Nhan Chinh, meanwhile, fear that any conversion into a mixed-use high-rise would further exacerbate the area's congestion. In fact, many land lots in this area used to be planned as parking lots or public facilities to serve the resettlement area, yet are at last transformed into multi-floor buildings for sale.

There are now 712 staggering projects in Hanoi, many of which have been stalled for a few decades, causing concerns in society about order and security. Not much effective work has been done out of the numerous devised solutions.

Assoc Prof Dr Dinh Trong Thinh, an economy expert, emphasizes the need for a thorough review and classification of these projects to identify the root causes and assign responsibility. He advocates for stringent measures to restore transparency in the real estate market and prevent further waste of resources.

Agreeing with that, Lawyer Luong Van Nghia, Director of Bao Chinh Law Co., highlights the provisions of Article 64 in the 2013 Land Law, which stipulate the revocation of projects that remain unimplemented for 12 to 24 months after being granted by the State. Also, it is necessary to select capable businesses to issue investment certificates in order to minimize land abandonment in the future.

“Article 199 of the 2013 Land Law stipulates that citizens have the right to monitor and report law violations in land use and management. Sadly, this useful channel has not been effectively exploited as the public usually lack sufficient project information to carry out the task. Therefore, establishing transparent channels to inform the community about abandoned projects and their respective developers to empower citizens to fulfill their oversight duties is critical”, said Lawyer Nghia.

Besides the above problematic projects, there are a number of unfinished ones in Hanoi like the IFT International Financial Tower project near the intersection between Nguyen Chanh Street – Tran Duy Hung Street, led by Bao Viet Nhan Tho Co; the VICEM Trading and Operation Center project in Cau Giay new urban area; the Giang Vo Complex project, invested by Pacific Thang Long Co. Ltd.

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