|Photo Le Toan
According to experts, when established, Thu Thiem will relieve some of the pressure Ho Chi Minh City currently faces.
The infrastructure within Ho Chi Minh City’s existing central business districts (CBDs) is starting to buckle under the rapid expansion of the last three decades.
“The master plan for Thu Thiem is set to alleviate the lack of supply faced in the existing CBDs,” said Stephen Wyatt, country head of JLL Vietnam. “As infrastructure improves within Thu Thiem, we anticipate that larger firms will start considering Thu Thiem as a viable alternative to the existing CBDs and set up their head offices there.”
Caleb Lau, head of Investment and Asset Management at CapitaLand Vietnam, said that even though CapitaLand does not yet have any projects planned for Thu Thiem, he is very optimistic about the area’s future.
“Over the last months we have seen a remarkable increase of infrastructure activities and this has created favourable conditions for attracting developers and investors,” Lau said at a recent real estate market insight forum organised by CBRE Vietnam.
According to Yong Beom Kim, functional manager at South Korea-based infrastructure developer GS Engineering and Construction Corp., Thu Thiem has been designed to become Ho Chi Minh City’s new CBD.
“After the completion and operation of the infrastructure, including Metro Line No. 2 and bridges 2, 3, and 4 connecting to districts 1 and 7, Thu Thiem will be operating as planned,” Kim said.
Nhan Vo, general director of Empire City, said that besides the ‘hard infrastructure’ developed during the last few years and a developed master plan implemented by the government, investors and the local community are beginning to recognise the strong growth potential of the area.
“However, to make it a desirable place to live, work, play, and learn, Thu Thiem will need soft infrastructure such as a convention and exhibition centre, schools, healthcare facilities, outdoor sports facilities, and entertainment sites to truly become a new fully-serviced urban financial centre of Ho Chi Minh City,” said Nhan.
Thu Thiem is a strategic getaway from Ho Chi Minh City, pointing towards future development areas to the east, including the proposed Long Thanh International Airport. Adding to the connectivity brought by Thu Thiem Bridge 1 and the Thu Thiem tunnel, Thu Thiem Bridge 2 is now under construction and will be put into operation in 2019. Once the three bridges in their planning stages are completed, travel between Ho Chi Minh City’s other CBDs and Thu Thiem will be much easier.
Thu Thiem will also benefit from the future Metro Line No. 2, which stretches from Thu Thiem (District 2) and ends in An Suong (District 12), with a total length of approximately 19 kilometres. Once complete, the metro line should be able to handle approximately 480,000 passengers per day.
Dai Quang Minh, the developer of the Sala project, has been granted the area’s largest land bank in return for constructing four main internal roads (Crescent Boulevard, Central Lakeside road, Saigon Riverside road, and a road through the ecological forest located in the area’s southern delta), Thu Thiem Bridge 2, and a pedestrian bridge.
In addition, other sections of Thu Thiem have been entrusted to Dai Quang Minh to build a 20ha Central Plaza square and 9ha riverside park, the 1/500 master plans of which are in progress.
Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) is to construct a technical infrastructure network for the northern residential area, which consists of neighbourhoods 3 and 4 and the main North-South arterial road. Phat Dat Real Estate Development JSC has also been approved by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee to conduct a study on the construction of Thu Thiem Bridge 4, which would link the peninsula to District 7.
An eastern gateway
As an eastern gateway to Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Thiem consists of District 2 and 9, and Thu Duc along the Saigon River. By 2020, over 10 infrastructure projects will be constructed in this area, with total investment capital of up to VND250 trillion ($11.3 billion).
This will account for more than 70 per cent of the new investment capital poured into Ho Chi Minh City’s infrastructure. Upon completion, Thu Thiem could have a residential population of 150,000, with a daily workforce of 220,000.
Thu Thiem’s developable space consists of 176 land parcels. This includes approximately 3.4 million square metres of commercial space, which can accommodate 217,000 employees, and 3.2 million square metres of residential space for a residential population of 145,000.
So far some big investors are implementing large-scale projects in Thu Thiem. Among these, Dai Quang Minh was the earliest investor with a large-scale project in a 150ha venue on the southern part of Thu Thiem peninsula. The project will include 234 villas, 395 houses, 5,600 luxury apartments, a five-star hotel, and a hospital. Another big investor is Quoc Loc Phat JSC, which is investing $323 million into developing the commercial complex Song Viet in Functional Area 1.
The foreign-backed $1.2 billion Empire City Complex is keeping to its schedule, with the completion of the first residential blocks and the start of an 88-storey building – which could become the tallest building in Vietnam when it is finished.