Two multi-million dollar ventures for Thu Thiem New Urban Area, both backed by South Korean giants, are picking up the pace after this summer’s restrictions fell into the rear-view mirror.
Thu Thiem projects gear up for another push forward
A long-delayed $900 million eco-smart city developed by Lotte Group affiliates, and the 1-15 land plot invested by GS E&C are the first foreign-invested projects to be green-lit for new procedures after being frozen by the pandemic. Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee on October 12 issued two documents for continuous administrative procedures for both projects.
The committee assigned Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture to adjust the detailed zoning of Lotte’s eco-smart city in functional area 2A of Thu Thiem New Urban Area.
“This assignment was a step to push this project forward after all projects were halted earlier this year,” a source from the committee confirmed.
Lotte Group first initiated the construction of the eco-smart city on a 5-hectare land plot in 2009. one of the reasons for the long delay were its legal status after the Government Inspectorate pointed out that the city People’s Committee had issued an improper licence for the project in 2015.
The following year, Lotte advanced VND120 billion ($5.2 million) for land compensation and other preparations.
At the end of 2020, Lotte was permitted by the government to remain the developer of the project based on Article 26 of the Law on Bidding, which regulates the selection of investors in special cases. Lotte was the first and only investor proposed for the venture.
Also last week, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee issued a document to assign Thu Thiem New Urban Area Management Board to propose the use of an additional 1,600 square metres of land in the 1-15 land plot invested by GS E&C. The extra land was not included in the land certificate. The block is in a 0.6ha land area near Thu Thiem Square, to be developed with Grade A+ office towers.
According to Hoang Tung, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thu Duc city where Thu Thiem is located, the call for investment into the area is being carried out through suitable policies. “The current investors with activities in the new city are pushing to collaborate with local authorities to finish all necessary procedures to continue their projects,” Tung said.
Architect Vo Kim Cuong, former deputy chief architect of Ho Chi Minh City, added that Thu Thiem New Urban Area was designed with a long-term vision.
“The mission right now is to mobilise investment from sources other than the state budget to push up the establishment of the urban area,” Cuong said.
Located opposite District 1 over the Saigon River, Thu Thiem New Urban Area has a total scale of 675ha and will be built into a new business hub and financial centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Master planning for the site began back in 1998.
Among the eight functional sub-areas, functional area No.2 is located at the centre, comprising a commercial centre, multi-functional residential area, and entertainment.
In this area, two projects have been offered to large-scale investors. Area 2A was handed over to Lotte Group, while 2B was offered to a joint venture between Singapore’s Keppel Land, Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners, and domestic Tien Phuoc Real Estate JSC and Tran Thai Real Estate Co., Ltd. This joint venture is developing Empire City, at the total investment capital of more than $2 billion.