Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh has agreed in principle to build an underground shopping centre in downtown HCM City along side the city’s first metro line project.
The deputy PM has asked the city’s people’s committee to seek funds from Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans to develop the Bến Thành underground shopping centre project.
The city administration has been asked to work with the ministries of Planning and Investment, Construction and Finance to choose the most appropriate solution and report to the Government for consideration.
The underground 90 metre-wide and 500 metre-long shopping area will run from Bến Thành Market to the HCM City Opera House at a depth of three metres under Lê Lợi Street.
With an area of 45,000 square metres, the shopping centre will be the largest underground shopping centre in Việt Nam, according to Bùi Xuân Cường, head of the management board of the urban railways in HCM City.
Stores will face each other in the shopping area, enabling the space in the middle to function as a walking street, Cường said, adding that the underground walking street will be connected with the Nguyễn Huệ pedestrian street.
There will also be entrances that connect the underground shopping centre with Bến Thành market, stores and office buildings above ground in the downtown area.
The underground trade centre will require an investment of around VNĐ7 trillion (US$326.22 million).
The project has so far attracted only one interested investor from Japan, which has suggested funding 30 per cent of the project, while the remaining would be covered by the Vietnamese Government.
If approved, the underground shopping centre will be constructed along with the Bến Thành central station of the under-construction metro route in the southern metropolis.
From the central station, passengers can board the trains on three different routes to Suối Tiên Amusement Park in District 9, Tham Lương Depot in District 12, and Miền Tây (Western) Bus Station in Bình Tân District under a megaproject running from 2012 to 2023.
Construction of Bến Thành central station and an underground section from there to the Opera House under the city’s first metro line began last month.
It is the last of four phases of the 19.7 km metro line linking Bến Thành market in District 1 to Suối Tiên Amusement Park in District 9.
Of the 19.7 km, 2.6 km is underground. It will have three underground and 11 elevated stations.
The test runs will begin in 2019 and service a year later, two years behind schedule. The metro route is funded by Japan and reciprocal capital from the city. — VNS