HCM City People’s Committee officials look at a model project to be located in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong has approved a plan to auction the right to use nine land plots in Thu Thiem new urban area in District 2 with total starting price of 27 trillion VND (1.18 billion USD).

Addressing a press conference in the southern metropolis on May 2, Vo Van Hoan, chief of secretariat and spokesperson for the municipal People’s Committee, said due to the large scale and importance of the project, the city would also call for foreign investors for the auction.

“Investors who win the auction must comply with the approved plan and function,” Hoan said, adding: “The auction of land aims to improve the city’s urban development for people to live better.” 

To be eligible, investors must ensure the project’s progress, prove management capacity and responsibility to develop the project with the surrounding area, accept deposits as collateral, and must mobilise capital well, Hoan said. 

“For example, investors of the Central Square in the new urban area must complete it on or before April 30, 2020,” he added.

Representatives of the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said the auction process would follow the ministry’s Circular 14, which ensures an accurate measurement area and hires independent consulting companies to determine the prices at auction.

This would be submitted to the city People’s Committee before starting the auction, while the Department of Justice’s Auction Centre will be the auctioning unit.

The nine so-called “golden” land plots for the auction are located in an area that is expected to be a highly dense multi-function commercial centre, according to city authorities.

Under the plan, towers will be built along Arc Avenue and Central Square, with building height gradually reduced towards the Saigon River and the central lake.

Major public buildings include an exhibition centre, a museum, a building for a symphony orchestra, and a planning information centre.

Phong asked the management board of the new urban area to work with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and other agencies to approve the detailed plan (1/500 scale) and auction the land plots in accordance with current law.

The city leader also asked agencies to relocate religious establishments in the urban area (Thu Thiem Church and Thu Thiem Lovers’ Church), as well as acquire land where the existing Thu Thiem Primary School is located. This will be used by the investor to build a riverside park and riverside roads.

Covering a total area of 657 hectares, Thu Thiem new urban area is located on Thu Thiem peninsula in HCM City’s District 2, which faces downtown District 1 across Saigon River.

Approved by the Government in 1996, the proposed financial district and mixed-use urban area of HCM City is set to become the largest inner-city development in Southeast Asia.

Thu Thiem will relieve some of the pressure the city currently faces. The infrastructure within the city’s existing central business district is starting to overload due to rapid growth during the last three decades, city authorities have said. 

According to a master plan, the new urban area has five main areas: the central core, the northern residential area, the residential area along Mai Chi Tho Avenue, the eastern residential area, and the delta area in the south.

To develop such a project, it took more than 10 years for site clearance of most of Thu Thiem peninsula, with as many as 15,000 households being resettled.

In a document sent to the Prime Minister in 2015, the city authorities said total costs in the new urban area for clearance compensation and resettlement, technical infrastructure, and loan interest had reached more than 29 trillion VND (1.27 billion USD).

Of the figure, about 12 trillion VND is from commercial credit institutions, resulting in an interest of around 2.9 billion VND per day.-VNA