Colonial shop houses at HCM City's historic Cho Lon area. (Source: kienviet.vn)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City has great potential for restoring thousands of villas, houses and buildings, many of them over 100 years old, according to the Architectural Research Centre at the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture.

HCM City has about 3,000 valuable old houses and villas that could be preserved but are likely to be demolished, the centre said.

Of the number, nearly 1,300 houses were built before 1975. About 168 of them are under State management and receive funds from the city for repair and preservation.

The city's Development and Research Institute has classified villas and houses into three types. Type 1 are buildings with significant historical or architectural value that must be preserved, while type 3 includes buildings with less historical or architectural value, but can and should be restored. About 90 per cent of the buildings belong to type 3.

Architect Tran Van Khai said that these old buildings have economic and tourism value in a major city like HCM City, and that local human resources play an important role in preserving and restoring old houses in the city.

However, most of the restoration efforts in recent years have been done by foreign groups.

A representative of Minerva Joint-Stock Company, the owner of a 100-year-old villa on 110-112 Vo Van Tan street in district 3, said the company spent 35 million USD to buy the building in 2016. Earlier this year, the municipal People's Committee gave approval to the company to hire a foreign team to restore the villa over a two-year period

However, the representative noted that local residents and companies as well as the government cannot always depend on foreign teams to do the work. "So, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Van Lang University to offer training courses in restoration and maintenance of old structures," the representative said.-VNS/VNA