Here is the third annual Ho Chi Minh City construction update (following on from the 2019 and 2020 construction updates). Continuing from last year, COVID-19 continues to cast a shadow over the construction sector. In fact this year has been worse, as Vietnam was one of the best performing countries in handling the virus in 2020. Now Vietnam, like the rest of Southeast Asia, is battling the Delta variant of the virus.
Ho Chi Minh City entered a new social distancing period in June 2020, but construction sites were still operational. By July the virus was still spreading, so the city went into lockdown mode. Some construction sites were still open, but that may change as well.
This construction update is a snapshot of progress of major projects around the city. I keep a full list of projects at the Future Ho Chi Minh City page.
One Central HCM
The most prominent project in Ho Chi Minh City (in terms of location and design) is One Central HCM. Since the last update in 2020, the project has been renamed (it was previously Spirit Of Saigon) and a new developer has taken over. The apartments are being marketed by Masterise Homes, and the Ritz-Carlton has been confirmed as the signature hotel. The Ritz-Carlton was the original hotel, but they had pulled out of the project, so now they are back on board.
As of July 2021, the podium was finished and work was underway on the two towers. The main challenge now is how much construction time will be lost during the latest pandemic lockdown.
Read more about One Central HCM.
Ben Thanh Station
In front of One Central HCM is the Ben Thanh Station construction site. This is the underground central station of the HCMC Metro that will be an interchange for three lines. It will include an underground plaza connected to One Central HCM. It is being reported that the construction site will be cleared by August, though the metro won’t be operating until at least the end of next year.
[Metro entrance next to Ben Thanh Market.]
Grand Marina Saigon
Grand Marina Saigon is the biggest new project that has started since the last construction update. This is on the site of the former Alpha King project, which was formerly part of Vinhomes Golden River. Grand Marina Saigon is being developed by Masterise Homes, and it will feature the largest Marriott branded residences in the world.
There are seven towers planned here. The first stage includes building three towers on one block and finishing the half-built tower that was abandoned by Alpha King.
[Vinhomes Golden River, the former Alpha King Tower, and the worksite of 3 Grand Marina towers.]
The Sun Tower
Another project that has restarted in the Ba Son area is the Sun Tower office building. This was originally being developed by Capitaland, but it is now part of Masterise Homes.
[The Sun Tower construction site – April 2021.]
Satra Tax Plaza
There have been no public updates on the status of the Satra Tax Plaza building, which includes The Okura Prestige Saigon hotel.
I have a list of stalled/abandoned project in Saigon so I’m not going to rehash projects that haven’t shown any signs of life here. I’ve included the Satra Tax Plaza here though because the future building is integrated with the Opera metro station.
The Opera station has been completed, and there is a service tower for the metro that is built on the site of Satra Tax Plaza. If you look at the podium of what the building will look like, you can see a white section that doesn’t match the rest of the building. That is the service tower of the Opera metro station.
The Empire City project in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area has been progressing at a steady pace, with residents moving into the first lot of towers, and another section nearly being completed.
The signature tower is being built last, and there were signs of life with soil testing on the site. Word has it that the developer has applied to increase the size of the tower. The current design is for 88 floors at 333 metres.
[Soil testing at Empire City 02/05/21.]
Read more about Empire City.
The Hilton Saigon is structurally finished, but workers are still on-site working on the interior. With no inbound international travel for the foreseeable future, they don’t appear to be in a hurry to finish it.
[Hilton Saigon (right building) at Me Linh Square.]
Hyatt Place Hyatt House Tower / Eco Green Sai Gon
The Hyatt Place Hyatt House Tower was scheduled to start construction this year. The 69-floor/275-metre tower is part of the Eco Green Sai Gaon project, which is partially completed with some apartments having been finished.
In this video below, the Hyatt Place Hyatt House Tower will be to the left of the apartments that are lit up.
LED lighting on the Eco Green Sai Gon apartments, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City. Viewed from the Tân Thuận 2 Bridge at the Tẻ Canal. pic.twitter.com/RS3FfoeaC9
— Future Southeast Asia (@futureseasia) July 26, 2021
Customs House Tower
The new customs tower was completed in 2021, and the historic Customs Directorate building was still being renovated.
Techcombank Saigon Tower
Techcombank Saigon Tower on Le Duan St had topped out, though work had stopped during the citywide lockdown of July 2021.
The Lancaster Legacy apartment complex and shopping mall began construction after years of delays. Foundation work was completed in December 2020.
[Lancaster Lagacy construction site – May 2021.]
Metropole Thu Thiem
Metropole Thu Thiem has been making progress, with the first stage (The Galleria Residence) now completed.
[Metropole Thu Thiem – February 2021.]
The Opera Residence is now under construction, so named for the planned opera house. I saw this model at the Metropole show room at 53-55 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 3.
Thu Thiem 2 Bridge
The Thu Thiem 2 Bridge has been on a stop-start journey ever since it was first announced, and 2020/21 has been no exception. Construction work stopped in 2020 due to land not being handed over to the developer. The land is owned by the Ministry of National Defence, and they have been slow to release the land. Defence ministries have their own level of power across Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam.
Work restarted in May, and the most recent update has the bridge being completed in the second quarter of 2022.
Read more about the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge.
Bach Dang / District 1 Riverfront Redevelopment
The riverfront of District 1 is an underutilised park/open space of the city, so the good news is that work is about to commence on landscaping the area.
The bad news is that they will be cutting down trees for park renovation, which seems like an oxymoron.
The area that is being redeveloped is the Bach Dang Terminal Park, where the ferries for Vung Tau depart. Opposite the terminal area is Me Linh Square Park. This semi-circle plot of land is also planned to be revamped. It’s from this point that there will be a new pedestrian bridge to the Thu Thiem side of the river.
What hasn’t been released is the official design of the bridge, and how people will cross the road to get to the riverfront. To open up the riverfront to the city the pedestrian crossings need to be fixed up. It’s a nightmare to try and safely cross the road by foot. I think the pedestrian bridge should begin at Me Linh Square, so it should be redesigned with the bridge in mind.
Another part of the District 1 riverfront that is being redeveloped is the area around the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge. This area has been off-limits to civilians as it is owned by the navy. There will be an on-ramp here for cars to get to the bridge and a pedestrian walkway under the bridge.
[Former naval area near the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge.]
Ben Nghe Canal Flood Barrier
The Ben Nghe flood barrier sits next to the Rainbow Bridge in the canal that separates District 1 and 4. This is one of six major barriers that are being built for flood prevention in Ho Chi Minh City. The flood barrier project has faced many difficulties with delays and cost blowouts. The Ben Nghe barrier had resumed construction in the previous year.