Shop owners in southern Vietnam’s Saigon Tax Trade Center are trying to bargain away their goods so that they can sell out their stuff in time to move away from the shopping center, which will be torn down to make room for a skyscraper.
Many are offering up to 50 percent discounts or more from now to the end of next month to unload all their stocks as fast as they can in order to meet the removal deadline.
All shop owners have been told to move out of the 134-year-old trade center by the end of September to make way for the construction of a 40-story building.
At the request of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, 500 square meters out of a total of 15,000 square meters of the center’s gross floor area will be set aside for the construction of a part of a metro line station.
The committee has required the area to be handed over to the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board for building the ventilation structures of the metro station, one of 14 stations of the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line, by October.
The planned subway, 19.7km long, is the first-ever to be constructed in Vietnam that will run from District 1 through Binh Thanh District, District 2, District 9 and Thu Duc District in Ho Chi Minh City before reaching Di An Town in neighboring Binh Duong Province. It is estimated to cost US$2.49 billion.
The remaining area of Saigon Tax Trade Center, managed by state-run Saigon Trading Group (Satra), will be pulled down for the development of the skyscraper, which will start next year.
The center’s management board and shop owners previously agreed that the owners would be informed of its demolition at least six months before any leveling work.
But the board could only notify shop owners of their required relocation on August 12 because of a late notification from higher authorities.
To make up for this lateness to some extent, the management board has decided to exempt shop owners from two months’ rental fees.
Moreover, they are entitled to an option to move to other Satra shopping centers at C6 Pham Hung Street in District 8 or Saigon Supermarket in District 10.
The board has also proposed that Satra give those adversely affected by the sudden displacement the rights to have a place in the new shopping center inside the planned skyscraper.
It will allow shop owners to sell their goods at 50 percent discounts at the center lobby on the ground floor for better visibility from September 1 to 30, whereas the owners normally can offer such discounts at their stores only.
To be a history
Construction work will begin on the multi-million-dollar 40-story building in the first quarter of next year, according to a Satra plan.
The skyscraper will be named Tax Plaza, which includes a shopping center, offices for lease, exhibition and convention areas, conference rooms, and underground parking facilities that can house about 2,100 cars and motorcycles.
Saigon Tax Trade Center is a long-standing and renowned commercial center with a total floor area of 15,000 square meters, located in the heart of District 1.
Built in 1880, the building, originally named Les Grands Magazins Charner, bears the characteristics of French colonial architecture like those found on such constructions as Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Saigon Opera House, Reunification Palace and the seat of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
According to Satra’s website, Les Grands Magazins Charner sold luxury items imported mainly from Britain, France and other Western countries to the elite in Saigon, former name of Ho Chi Minh City, and rich landowners in provinces in the southern part of Vietnam.
In the 1950s, world-renowned brand Hermès even made its debut in Vietnam at Le Grands Magasins Charner.