Land in desirable locations lies abandoned despite project approval

November 09, 2022 - 09:31
Many real estate projects were abandoned due to a lack of specific policies and procedures for investor selection.
A 4,000 sq.m plot of land with two facades on Nghi Tàm Street and No 161 Yên Phụ Street has been abandoned for many years in Tây Hồ District.—Photo

HÀ NỘI — Many plots of land in the biggest cities have been abandoned despite being in ideal locations, wasting resources that would otherwise serve the development of cities.

In Hà Nội, an 8,000 sq.m plot of land at No. 94 Lò Đúc Street, Hai Bà Trưng District, have been abandoned for a decade.

Real estate experts say a plot like this is rare in downtown Hà Nội. It has a large area and three facades bordering the busy streets of Lò Đúc, Nguyễn Công Trứ and Hòa Mã.

The plot is full of commercial potential, the experts said.

Nguyễn Hoàng Hải, 62, a resident living in Nguyễn Công Trứ Street, said: "It's very wasteful to abandon the plots of land for a long time."

The State should review the responsibility of officials and organisations that allowed this waste to happen, he added.

The plot was managed initially by Hà Nội Liquor Joint Stock Company – HALICO. However, according to the policy of relocating the company out of the inner city since 2013, the People's Committee of Hà Nội implemented land clearance, the Thanh Niên (Young People) online newspaper reported.

Then, the land was given to Thiên Bình Urban Development and Business Investment Company Limited for a development project.

The company was established in 2013, and its headquarters is at 94 Lò Đúc Street. The legal representative is Đỗ Anh Dũng. Dũng, who is also the Chairman of Tân Hoàng Minh Group Joint Stock Company, has been prosecuted and detained by the Ministry of Public Security since April.

In 2014, Thiên Bình Urban Development and Business Investment Company Limited signed a mortgage contract with a bank on property rights with the entire project to build a complex of office buildings, hotels, schools, and commercial centres at the land plot.

By 2018, the company continued its mortgage contract with the bank to borrow nearly VNĐ240 billion (US$9.6 million).

Also related to Tân Hoàng Minh Group, another land plot, nearly 4,000 sq.m with two facades, on Nghi Tàm Street and No 161 Yên Phụ Street in Tây Hồ District, which was given to the group to develop a project, has also been abandoned.

According to real estate experts the land plot locates in a "diamond" area of the district next to West Lake and very near famous hotels. As a result, the land plot is full of commercial and tourism service potential.

The People's Committee of the district said that the plot is planned for implementation of a project to build a green area combined with a sports field and service works to do business.

In July 2007, The People's Committee of Hà Nội gave 3,931 sq.m of the land plot to implement a project.

After the adjustment in 2013, 1,530 m2 of the plot was used to plant trees, build technical infrastructure, and service works to do business.

The land plot has a 50-year term of use and must not be used to build housing for sale or rent.

The People's Committee of the city and the district have already allowed the implementation of land clearance since 2019 at the plot. However, the land plot still remains abandoned.

In Đà Nẵng City, three projects with nearly 30,000 sq.m in prime locations have been abandoned for many years.

The projects are the Đà Nẵng Centre Project of Vũ Châu Long Building Land Joint Stock Company; Viễn Đông Meridian commercial centre, office, hotel and luxury apartment project of Viễn Đông Việt Nam Land Joint Stock Company; and a high-class commercial, office, hotel and apartment complex Golden Square of Đông Á Land Joint Stock Company.

The Đà Nẵng Centre Project was granted an investment certificate in 2008 at a land area of 7,878 sq.m in Phan Châu Trinh Street, Hải Châu District. The project implementation schedule was licensed from March 2008 to March 2011 and extended to October 31, 2018. However, the investor only constructed walls around the project before abandoning it.

Similarly, Viễn Đông Việt Nam Land Joint Stock Company's project at 84 Hùng Vương Street, Hải Châu was granted an investment certificate in 2008 over an area of 11,170 sq.m. The investor also built walls and then abandoned them for many years.

The same situation also happened to the 36-storey building project of Đông Á Land Joint Stock Company. The project was given an investment certificate in 2008 in an area of 10,664 sq.m in Hải Châu District.

The project was licensed for construction until February 2011 and extended to October 31, 2018.

However, the project has only completed the diaphragm walls, two basements and four floors.

Causes and solutions

The Golden Square building project has been abandoned for a long time in Hải Châu District, Đà Nẵng City.—Photo

Phạm Thanh Tùng, an urban architecture expert, said that many real estate projects were abandoned due to a lack of specific policies and procedures on investor selection, leading to investors lacking the capability to implement the projects then they abandoned the projects, causing a waste of land.

At the same time, the supervisory role of the managerial agencies was still loose, he said.

He said that one reason was the lack of determination to recover the land of the managerial agencies.

Tùng said inspections related to land issues needed to be implemented more effectively to limit land violations.

He said that coordination among relevant agencies must be strengthened to monitor the progress of land-use projects and handle violations related to land issues.

He said that it was necessary to urge investors to fulfil their commitment to implement the project on schedule and have a plan and roadmap to overcome difficulties.

Đặng Hùng Võ, former Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said it needed stronger sanctions to punish investors to deal with the situation of holding land and then abandoning it, causing waste.

A fine of 30 per cent of the payable land-use fee might be imposed for each one-year delay in putting the land into use, he said.

In case an investor fails to implement the project, it must return the project so that another investor with enough capability could implement the project, he added.

A representative of Hà Nội's Planning and Architecture Department said the land plots had been abandoned for many years due to many factors.

He said the main reason was the entanglement between the Law on Land, the Law on Investment, the Law on Planning and the Law on Real Estate Business.

He added that many land-use projects in Hà Nội had to wait for the amendment and supplement of the Land Law before construction.

The Hà Nội Natural Resources and Environment Department said that the capital People's Committee recently requested to strengthen the State management of land. Therefore, the review process was being actively conducted to get results soon.

The department said the plan to deal with violations would depend on the review results.

Tô Văn Hùng, Director of Đà Nẵng City's Natural Resources and Environment Department, said that the delay of the projects was mainly related to the failure to fulfil financial obligations according to regulations.

Because the financial obligations still need to be fulfilled, he said the procedures to implement the projects were almost unsolved, such as receiving construction permits and investment policies from the managerial agencies.

To fix the situation, the department had ordered the investors to closely coordinate with relevant agencies to remove difficulties and put the land into use soon, he said.

If the investors fail to do that, the department would advise the City's People's Committee to withdraw the projects, he said. — VNS