Dec 28, 2006

Saigon DC : Part V

Firstly, I would have been posting a lot earlier but for this, now at least I have a lot of back up material for blogging!

So, let's get started.

This post may be the most riveting on TFW yet, it's entirely about rubble.....

The astonishing rate of growth in Vietnam is astonishing. I just said astonishing twice because I'm so astonished by it. The old District One is slowly being demolished and replaced with sleek glass office buildings and expensive apartment blocks. Diamond Plaza is quaking in it's boots at the number of new shopping centers planned or under construction. It is easy to get ahead of oneself when thinking of HCMC's develpoment but remember, DP is the biggest shopping center in town -- PATHETIC! I was just in the KLCC, Kuala Lumpar, you need a map and some flares in that place -- they have a 4 floor Parksons inside the department store. There's also Times Square and the Mid Valley Mega Mall (over 4 million sq ft) which are even bigger (they have search and rescue teams in these ones). Anyway, I digress.

It's gotten to the stage where I picture old decrepid D1 buildings as guilty school children loitering at the back of the classroom hoping the teacher doesn't notice the smashed window. Their days are numbered. Here are some of the sites that are currently ready for huge new projects and once completed will really have changed the entire face of D1. For those who have recently been in Vietnam and are familiar with 'Saigon Sqaure', take a look at it now! A Japanese corporation is developing here.

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This site is just off of Ham Nghi, on the corner of Ho Tung Mau. Huge plot levelled for I don't know what.

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The following is a thick, juicy medium rare slice of land bordering Dong Khoi on one side and Nguyen Hue on t'other. If you can read, look at the words etched into the green fence to discover the future of this particular rubble pile.

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Next we have the site of the 'Saigon Tower' project, set to be the tallest building in Vietnam if I'm not mistaken. It's down at the end of Ham Nghi and will overlook the tunnel currently being constructed under the Saigon River (which will thankfully get rid of the horredendous juggonaut traffic that currently has to trundle down Ton Duc Thang). The picture sums it up for me. In the foreground is a women sifting through the trash looking for whatever she can use to earn a few thousand dong. In the background slum like corrugated iron houses somehow still survive sandwiched in HCMC's hotel and banking district. It's difficult to see, but behind those small gates is a huge water filled pit soon to be drained and filled with concrete

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for the foundations of a building that will eventually look like this:

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And speaking of the tunnel -- work down there is coming on as well.

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Stay with me here, further down the road on TDT is this one right next to the Saigon Trade Center:

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After this turn right down Le Duan and head to bottom and Nguyen Binh Kiem where you'll find this spanking new beast:

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Don't go just yet, I have more pictures of building sites for you....back in town is this one on Le Thanh Ton, just down the road from the nearly completed Lancaster -- the security gaurd is just off to see what in God's name I am taking a picture of. Ooo they don't like any kind of intrusion on their turf. I'd gone by the time he turned around and wagged his finger anyway.

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Don't know what's gonna be here, but I'm sure the location is recognisable to anyone who's been to Saigon -- the New World Hotel with its tasteful shade of yellow stands in the background.

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And finally, it seems like it was only yesterday that I noticed this pile of rubble which is now a finished building, although it wasn't yesterday of course, it just seemed like yesterday. This is the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Loi, just before the Opera House.

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With all this constructing going on, who can blame these guys for grabbing some shut-eye, allbeit in a rather unorthadox place, i.e, on the street.

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Also see Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.


Anonymous said...

Jon, you have a good eye for the new sites around town. I am still trying to figure out why there is often a delay between site clearance and foundation construction for alot of these sites -- the Times Square site on Nguyen Hue is a prime example -- there was a flurry of activity to clear the huge site, and now it has site quiet for a few months. Happy New Year to you and Chi.
-- Mel

Anonymous said...

Ah, you beat me to this post, mate. I've been meaning to motor around town for some time to take pics of all the construction going on around here, even in my lil' ole' neighborhood in district 3. There is a really funky new building going up near the waterfront in D1, some kind of financial tower. Well, it's not actually going up yet, but there is a razed pile of rubble there and there is a big sign depicting what the finished building will look like. It looks like a twisted piece of licorice.

Anonymous said...

Great Jon, always fascinated by the changing face of D1 - and indeed other areas of HCMC I am familiar with.
Are you aware of any work commencing on the proposed MRTS subway?

Anonymous said...

Wow--it's been so long since I was last in SG; I can't believe the growth, the change. Would you say that the development is occurring in a well-planned, aesthetically-pleasing manner?

Jon Hoff said...

Happy New Year everybody!
Mel - the site of the Saigon Tower has been dorment for at least a year.
Charvey - sorry!
Phil - I haven't seen or heard of any activity on the subway system front - only print stories. The government has just given the goahead for the new international airport, due to be finished in about 2014 I think. I forget where it is, but inbetween Vung Tao and HCMC, with a huge budget for a new raod from the airport to link up with the main artery into the city (through D2 and over the Saigon Bridge, then using the new tunnel maybe and bang, you're in the Sheraton before you know it). Also the new Japanese constructed terminals at Tan Son Nhat are nearly finished....leaving the old building as a domestic only terminal.
Preya - I'm not really qualified to answer, but in my humble opinion, they seem to be doing it well. The new buildings that are finished look good.

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