HCMC to remove city center administrative roadblocks

HCMC authorities are rushing to deal with delayed construction projects taking up auspicious locations in the city center, causing financial loss and tarnishing the landscape.
The long-awaited Spirit of Saigon project near Ben Thanh Market
The long-awaited Spirit of Saigon project near Ben Thanh Market

Ownership transfer proves efficient

There are currently 34 delayed projects within the central HCMC area, said the HCMC Department of Construction. In which, 9 projects began constructions before getting a permit and had to be dismantled, 16 others were granted permits but never started constructions and their permits all expired, and 9 projects have had their progress ceased indefinitely by owners.

Among them is the Saigon One Tower that takes up a prime location at the Ton Duc Thang - Vo Van Kiet intersection but has been in construction hell for nearly 10 years, its investor currently serving time in prison.

A project called Spirit of Saigon is located at Pham Ngu Lao - Calmette - Le Thi Hong Gam - Pho Duc Chinh quadrangle in District 1, with a total land area of 8,537.4m². It is expected to serve many functions, including office space, commercial service, residential apartment and hotel, with a construction floor area of about 180,000m² and having 55 floors.

The project’s original investor was Bitexco Group but then was changed to its subsidiary company called Saigon Glory Co., Ltd., said the HCMC People’s Committee.

This change was proven to be advantageous, because the new investor in May 2019 continued constructions after the project had been neglected for a long time. They have also issued bonds worth millions USD since June 2020, and city officials hope the project will be ready when the new metro line is finished.

Resolving legal complications

Tong Duc Tien, a leading official from HCMC Department of Construction said every project in the city center is granted legal documents, as well as being eligible for ownership transfer.

He suspected that construction delays are due to the world financial crisis in 2008 that led to economic downturn. As a result, many businesses changed their investment objectives or projects’ functionalities.

City authorities have called many meetings to resolve the issue in the past. Chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association Le Hoang Chau suggested identifying the exact cause of delayed projects to have directions suitable for each investor and project.

The main goal should be to prevent neglected projects by implementing heavy fines or seizing the land fund if investors deliberately fail to meet deadlines, he said.

In addition to strict law enforcement, it is advised that the government urgently issue policies on tax, credit, and planning to handle land funds effectively and curb unauthorized land hoarding by investors.

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