The largest and first-ever underground parking lot deleted

August 27, 2019 | 13:14
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The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has just officially decided to revoke a $110 million project to set up an underground car parking lot after more than ten years of delay.

The Le Van Tam Underground Parking Lot was initiated in 2008 under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract invested by the Underground Space Investment Development Corporation (USIDC).

However, according to Document No.3427/UBND-DA signed on August 20, 2019 by deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Vo Van Hoan, USIDC had violated the contract’s terms and was disallowed from continuing the project.

the largest and first ever underground parking lot deleted
Le Van Tam Park, where the $110 million parking lot was set up. Photo: Le Toan

In November 2018, the investor claimed that it was having financial difficulties and could not mobilise enough capital for this project.

Therefore, it suggested that the Committee fully subsidise the interest of the loan taken up to finance the project from Dong A Bank during the construction period and then pay 3 per cent of the interest in the first ten years of the project's operation.

Moreover, USIDC also asked for permission to adjust the function of the future parking lot. Accordingly, land reserved for public parking was suggested to be reduced to 65.9 or 67.3 per cent from the planned 70 per cent while the rest would be used for trading and services to recoup the investment capital.

The investor also asked permission to set parking fees by themselves according to market price. Currently, all parking fees in state-owned areas are fixed by the Committee, to prevent abuse by operators.

However, none of the above suggestions were approved by the local authorities and the Committee had decided to revoke the project.

The local Departments of Transport, Justice, as well as Natural Resources and Environment were assigned to review and implement all related procedures to revoke the project according to current regulations.

Dong A Bank – the lender – and USIDC are responsible for resolving all loans and interest payable after the project.

Located in Le Van Tam Park at the heart of District 1, this is the first-ever underground parking lot to be set up in Vietnam.

The project was meant to accommodate 2,000 motorbikes, 1,250 cars, and 28 buses and trucks on an area of 100,000 square metres. The project broke ground in 2010, but stalled soon after.

HTE Singapore had drawn up a plan to remove and restore green trees, while German Bauer was assigned as the contractor for the foundation of the project.

Saigon has so far planned four underground parking spaces in the downtown Districts 1, totally accommodating 6,300 cars and 4,000 motorbikes. None of these have been implemented yet.

These include lots under Le Van Tam Park, Tao Dan Park, Trong Dong Stage, and Hoa Lu Stadium, all in District 1.

The parking lot to be built under Hoa Lu Stadium has an estimated investment of VND3 trillion ($130.43 million), with space for 2,550 cars and 2,870 motorbikes.

With investment of VND740 billion ($32.17 million), the 10-level Trong Dong lot would be able to accommodate 890 cars and 400 motorbikes.

The parking lot at Tao Dan Park would provide parking space for 1,200 cars and nearly 900 motorbikes, with the total investment of VND896 billion ($38.96 million).

Parking space in the downtown area of the 13-million strong Ho Chi Minh City now only meets around 7 per cent of total demand, according to urban planning experts.

By Bich Ngoc

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