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Written by A cuong   

Retail Accommodation in Vietnam

In Vietnam there is, and always has been, virtually no retail accommodation available of ANY standard (apart from the ubiquitous ‘shop-house’), let-alone ‘international’ standard,……whatever that is! Infact, one could argue that there still isn’t any in HCMC, although Vincom City Towers in Hanoi qualifies as a genuine international standard “Shopping Centre” as it provides over 17,000 sqm of quality accommodation that independent and chain-store retailers can happily occupy in conventional 100 sqm units with plate glass windows and sensible width-to-depth proportions. One should therefore make some clear distinctions between a ‘Shopping Centre’, a ‘Department Store’, and ‘Out-of-Town’ or regional centres (see Appendix 1).

The country's first supermarket opened in HCMC in 1994 and in just 9 years the number increased from 12 to 160 supermarkets & 32 shopping centres (including over 60 in HCMC & 45 in Hanoi), with 20 more supermarkets & 35 shop­ping malls in the con­struction pipeline. Although these stores have continuously all achieved average an average growth rate of over 20% a year, their turn­over continues to account for only 10% of the country's total retail sales because of their small size (the largest has a turnover of only about USD$12.5 million per annum), which means that 90% of domestic retail sales are still taking place in the 8,751 large outdoor markets (by contrast, it has been reported that in the US about 80% of total retail sales take place in supermarkets and retail centres). However, around 60-70% of people in HCMC & 20% in Hanoi said they preferred shopping at supermarkets to outdoor markets, and so it is estimated that in the next 10 years these figures could increase to 90% & 50% respectively according to the Chairman of the Vietnam Supermarkets Association. Furthermore, according to recent surveys, Vietnamese people like “big brand” products to prove their position & class and buying decisions are often affected by the fact that they care very much about how others think. For a comparison, in 1990 Thailand’s modern shopping cen­tres and markets accounted for just 5% of the total retail market but by 2000 it had risen to 40% and by 2010 it is estimated to reach 70%.

As a direct consequent of the absence of FDI in real estate for about 10 years from @1995, Vietnam’s cities are now facing a chronic shortage of all types of space, including retail accommodation. However, with a few projects now underway in HCMC (11No.); Hanoi (9No.); Danang (3No.); Haiphong (1No.); Vung Tau (1No.); Can Tho (1No.) & Nha Trang (1No.), the future looks better for tenants,……..BUT these buildings will take 2-3 years to construct, and so space shortages and inevitably rental increases look set to continue in the short term. Furthermore, many of the shopping centres currently under construction are also associated with apartments or office developments, and so is often more a case of “what-to-do-with-the-ground-floor” than being purpose-built accommodation. Thus, retail rentals have increased dramatically recently.

National Economic Overview

Spending by Vietnamese consumers grew to more than 70% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005, higher than in other regional countries : - Singapore (57%); Malaysia (59%); and Thailand (68%). Consumer spending has increased steadily since 2000, and although the average consumer spending was only a modest USD$27.5 per capita in 2005, this was 16% higher than in 2004 and double that of 2000. Similarly, revenue from retail trade & services totalled USD$30.5 billion in 2005 - up about 20% on 2004 and up an annual average 14.8% since 2000 – and is forecast to reach about USD$55 billion by 2010. Retail sales make up about 78% of the total revenue, followed by the hospitality & restau­rant sectors with about 12% and the service sector with about 10%. However, the impressive growth rates is partly due to high inflation rates in recent years which reached about 8.4% in 2004 & 9.5% in 2005 – about the same level as GDP growth. Hence, the domestic consumption annual growth statistics can be considered to be misleading unless Consumer Price Inflation is (CPI) also taken into account. So, the true growth of the consumption market was only about 10%.

According a 2006 report by the international management consult­ancy AT Kearney, Vietnam ranked 8th out of 30 retail mar­kets with the highest growth rate worldwide, because of : -

  • The country’s robust economic growth which is creating is a growing mid­dle class with higher consumer spending power; and
  • The predominantly young population; and
  • A growing busi­ness sector; and
  • A stable politi­cal climate; and
  • Close proximity to major markets like India & China as well as smaller regional markets like Cam­bodia & Laos, it is well situated to attract for­eign retailers who see the country as a test site & gate­way to bigger Asian markets; and
  • Important legal changes to the distribution sector (that is currently off limits to 100% foreign investment) as part of the country's commit­ments to regional and international organizations & partners and as part of the country’s efforts to attain WTO membership in 2006; and
  • The domestic retail sector is often criticized as being weak because of its poor distribution network, substandard equip­ment, and poor management. However, they do occupy existing city centre sites and often possess inside information or preferential access to new developments, so rather than addressing short-comings or merging / otherwise co-operating, the usual response from the mainly State wholly or partially owned enterprises is to seek as­sistance from the Government. This must end with WTO accession though and so more and more foreign competitors will arrive.

It is therefore, no real surprise that the Vietnamese retail market is now being eyed by many global retail giants.

Current Market Participants

Currently, only France’s Bourbon Group (trading as Big C), Germany’s Metro Cash & Carry, and Malaysia’s Lion Diversified Holdings (trading as Parkson) have invested, although Lotte Shopping of South Korea; Tesco of UK; and Giant South Asia (part of Dairy Farm International - an affiliate of the Jardine Matheson Group), are rumoured to be entering the retail market soon.

The main problem that such companies face is – just as with office & apartment developers - acquiring access to suitable buildings and / or sites. The obvious solution is to either build your own premises, like Metro Cash & Carry and Big C – who favour ‘out-of-town’ centre locations, or rent an existing shopping centre like Parkson, who have leased the SaigonTourist department store in HCMC & TD Plaza in Hai Phong. Both options are somewhat drastic as they involve long term commitments and large ‘Day 1’ setting up costs, but there are no short term alternatives, and so the spotlight is now being turned onto the very limited supply of underperforming existing stock, such as Trang Tien Plaza in the heart of Hanoi or TAX Plaza in central HCMC (which is due to be redeveloped). A third, perhaps even more drastic option, is to (try to) buy one of the very few existing operators, such as Saigon Co-Op, Maximart or Citimart - although the former are keen to stay independent whilst the latter look set to be (partially) acquired by Dairy Farm.

The same problems face smaller scale retailers, although more sites can be found if one is prepared to be very patient (years perhaps); has deep pockets; and is willing to build premises. The motor manufacturers are a good illustration of this type of retailer eg Toyota & Honda, although there is fierce competition from the banks, insurance companies, and chain stores for such sites – even if they are ‘expensively’ priced.

Co-Op Mart : - The HCM City Trading Co­operative Union (Saigon Co.op) operates 14 Co-op Mart stores but is planning to raise the number in HCM City and the southern provinces to 40 by 2010. It was established in early 1996 and reportedly, only achieves a profit target of 13-14% compared with about 20-25% by supermarkets in Europe.

Maximark : – A HCMC based chain with over 8 years experience in the supermarket busi­ness and half a dozen properties. Apparently they seeking to sell the business as profits are only about 10% and because they make most of their profits from renting out space to other businesses - not from sales.

Citimart / Dairy Farm : - Singapore-based Gi­ant South Asia Investment, which belongs to Bermuda's Dairy Farm International, an affiliate of the Jardine Matheson Group, operates some 2,600 stores & supermarkets through­out Asia as Dairy Farm, and so is seen as having a competitive edge over rivals from Europe given it’s experience in the retail busi­ness in the region. It is reportedly in negotiations to acquire equity and rights to upgrade & operate / re-brand all Citimart’s 5 supermarkets in HCMC, on Le Duan, Le Van Sy, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Trai & Le Thanh Ton streets.

Metro Cash & Carry : - Metro Cash & Carry International operates over 500 distribution centres in 28 countries and is the biggest sales division of the Germany based Metro Group, and is one of the top 3 trading & retailing groups worldwide. Its USD$120 million operation in Vietnam started in 2002 with the first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. In three years, Metro has established 6 outlets in Vietnam : - a USD$15 million outlet in Hai Phong; a 30,000 sqm USD$15 million property located on Thang Long Highway in Hanoi's Tu Liem District; a 36,000 sqm facility in HCMC’s An Phu - An Khanh with an area of 36,000 sqm; and another in Binh Phu with 28,000 sqm.; and Da Nang & Can Tho. Metro Group and Metro Cash & Carry International have selected Vietnam as an important market to support its further growth in Asia.

Espace Bourbon / Big C : - Big C, formerly known as Cora, is opening up an USD$8 million shopping centre in Hai Pphong that will be built on a site alongside Highway 5 and will comprise a shopping area, a food court and a recreation area. It will be the 5th link of the Big C chain across Viet­nam, after the first USD$54 million centre opened in Dong Nai province in 1998. This was followed by 2 others in HCMC worth USD$35 million that opened in 2001, and a USD$30 million complex in Hanoi in 2004. The French investor Vindemia / Espace Bourbon also plans to open another branch in HCMC and 3 more in other major cities shortly.

Parkson / Lion Group : - Malaysia's Lion Group plans to set up 10 Parkson department stores which it expects will require about US$70 million. They have considerable retail experience, including operating 43 department stores in China, where they first opened in Beijing in 1994. Their 1st outlet was a long-term lease of the SaigonTourist Department store in 2005 followed in 2006 by a 18,000 sqm lease of 4 floors at Hai Phong’s TD Plaza.

Lotte : - South Korea’s leading retailer, Lotte Shopping, is looking to open a chain of wholesale and retail super-stores in Ho Chi Minh City. They plan a USD$15 million investment in the initial stage of devel­opment. The following stages will see Lotte Shopping's investment value in the country rise roughly 30 fold over the next 12 years. Lotte Shopping have secured a partnership with a local trading company, whose shareholding ratio is only 10% of the venture. Lotte Group, which is recognised as the 8th largest busi­ness group in Korea in terms of assets and the chain includes 19 Lotte stores with an average floor space of 1,100 sqm each and with a total annual revenue of almost USD$6 billion.

Tesco : - The UK’s largest and world’s 6th big­gest retailer, with a turnover of US$40 billion a year, is reportedly exploring possibilities.

Seiyu : - One of Japan’s largest retailers are reportedly investigating investment opportunities.

Shenghui Group : - Chinese real estate group Shenghui is hop­ing to build a USD$300 million shopping centre on 17-20 hectares in Saigon South or District 9. Shenghui has sought a 100% FIE (foreign owned enterprise) licence as it wants to retain sole ownership of the project - so they may have to be patient and wait for the removal of current legal restriction with WTO implementation.

Hanoi

The capital city's population has increased remark­ably in recent decades. The city was home to more than 3 million in 2004, with an average density of 17,868 people per kilometre. How­ever, this rate is much higher in the central districts. The most densely populated is Hoan Kiem District and especially Hang Bo Commune. The high density popula­tion results from the fact that each person in these areas have an average living space of only 2 square metres. Because almost all of the narrow, twisty roads are lined with tiny shop-houses with ground floor retail accommodation, development sites are almost impossible to assemble.

There are very few buildings above 4-6 floors and almost all were built since 1975 and most in dreadful condition. Infact, according to a recent survey 5% must be destroyed as soon as possi­ble and 62% in need of upgrades. Because of the small nature of the building stock, the small roads, and the flat geography, there are very few genuine landmark buildings except for the few with lakeside locations. Consequently, there are also very few bespoke retail developments such as : -

Vincom City Towers : - The 6 floor 28,000 sqm Vincom Shopping Centre is part of a Ukranian Viet Kieu funded USD$38 million twin-tower complex in Ba Trieu that opened in 2004 and also provides 48,000 sqm of office space. The retail space was so popular that almost all had bee leased out in only 2 for between USD$20-USD$70 / sqm. About 90% of the space was leased out for selling international brands such as Elle, Esprit, Adidas, Levi's, United Colours of Benetton, Giordano, Bossini, Misaki, Bonia, Braun, Buffel, and most of the rest went to HCMC based Ben Thanh Trading & Marketing Company took 2,200 sqm on the 4th floor to operate “the largest electronics supermarket in Vietnam”, and Intimex (the operator of 2 supermar­kets in Hanoi), leased 1,400 sqm for another supermarket. Most of customers are reported to spend at least VND100,000 / USD$7 per visit and during peak hours on busy days the shopping cen­tre receives between 20,000-30,000 visitors per day.

Trang Tien Plaza : - Situated near Hoan Kiem Lake, TT Plaza was arguably Hanoi's 1st international standard shopping centre. It opened in 2002 and provides about 8,000 sqm of accommodation. Shop units are from 20 sqm and leases were agreed at an average of about USD$38 / sqm per month.

Me Linh Plaza : - Otherwise known as the Building Material & Interior Design Trade Centre, this USD$24 million out-of-town property is situated on the Thang Long - Noi Bai Highway (8km) in the suburbs and claims to be the 1st first large-scale material showroom centre in Vietnam. It was developed by T&M Vietnam Investment Co with 100% foreign investment from T&M Trans Company and provides 67,000 sqm of building materials & furniture floor-space or producers & distributors; a 12 floor 12,000 sqm office building with about 3,000 sqm of apartments; 1,000 sqm of restaurant space; and a 30,000 sqm warehouse. Rentals range from USD$7 - USD$12 / sqm per month.

Ocean Place / Luxury Mall : - The Luxury Mall is a 100% for­eign owned project providing about 5,000 sqm for approximately 30 luxury fash­ion & accessory boutiques and high-end luxury consumer goods retailers on the bottom 3 floors of the USD$24 million 21 floor Ocean Park Office building which overlooks Lenin Park and Bay,Mau Lake, developed by the Vietnam Maritime Corporation.

Ground floor street-facing retail stores in grade A buildings typically cost between USD$50-USD$80 / sqm.

In many ways, Trang Tien Plaza’s 12,000 sqm of space was the first in Hanoi of any real sort of international standard. Things have moved along very slowly since so occupancies have always effectively been 100%. Rental rates are therefore high, and given the absence of significant additions to the total stock for a couple more years, look set to rise even more as demand for prime-pitch city centre accommodation will continue to far outstrip the supply – especially given WTO accession and the continuing impact of Vietnam’s “ASEAN Free Trade Area” (AFTA) implementation, with effect from 1st January 2006, and the increasing demand from domestic enterprises for international standard retail accommodation.

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However, Hanoi will have about 250,000 sqm more of retail space over the next couple of years when about 8 new projects are com­pleted - most of which are combined with either up-market apartments or office developments, and include:-

Garden Lifestyle Mall : - Bitexcoland’s Garden Lifestyle Mall is Phase 2 of the Manor Hanoi development. The 1st Phase opened in 2006 providing 500 luxury residential units, 9,540 sqm of detached villas & 5,880 sqm of retail space in 2 towers. The Garden Lifestyle Mall will finish construction in 2007 and provide a total 51,160 sqm of retail accommodation, of which 1,346 sqm will be leased out to a supermarket operator; 4,880 sqm for a department store; 607 sqm for the Golden Class Cinema; and 872 sqm for an entertainment & recreation area. The complex will have a trade hall which will organise monthly exhibitions and events as well as shopping areas for men & women.

BIDV Smart Tower : - The Bank for Investment & Develop­ment of Vietnam are setting up a JV with Singapore's Bloomhill Holdings to develop an office & shopping centre com­plex at 194 Tran Quang Khai. The 25 floor tower, will be put into operation in 2008. The total investment is about USD$44 million.

The Cau Giay Com­plex : - This 15 floor USD$13 million commercial center project in Cau Giay District will provide about 11,500 sqm of retail accommodation; 12,800 sqm of office space & 15 floors / 8,100 sqm of apartments.

Hoa Binh Tower : - Situated on Hoang Quoc Viet, this 15,000 sqm mixed-use property opened in 2006 providing residential, office and about 7,000 sqm of retail & leisure accommodation on 4 lower floors.

Hanoi City Complex : - The USD$115 million property on 1.3 hectares at the Lieu Giai - Dao Tan Intersection adjacent to the 5 star Hanoi Daewoo Hotel and overshadowing the adjacent Australian Embassy will be Vietnam’s tallest at 65 floors. Developed by a group of foreign investors including Coralis SA of France and Lohr Industries of Germany the building will provide office & retail accommodation.

Ciputra Mall : - The USD$30 million Ciputra Commercial Centre will house the nation's largest shopping complex and many foreign tenants are eyeing the hypermarket & department store even before construction has commenced. The shopping complex will host about 1,260 stalls and 48 restaurants & cafes in about 120,000 sqm.

Pacific Place : - This 16 floor Taiwanese mixed use USD$40 million development provides residential, office and retail accommodation on Ly Thuong Kiet in Hoan Kiem District. The lower floors are used for 7,500 sqm department store.

Ho Chi Minh City

The local consumer’s habit of spending a substantial amount of time and effort in finding products at cheaper prices - and these lower prices are usually found outside commercial retail centres. The popularity of local shops & markets coupled with the predominant use of motorbikes for inner city transportation, has proven convenient to Vietnamese shoppers for now but has also adversely affected the development and expansion of shopping centres. The limited supply of purpose-built shopping centres has not only created few choices for local distributors who want to expand their brands, but also limited the amount of foreign retailers entering the country. Currently, HCM City only has about 10 shopping centres with a combined leasable area of about 90,000 sqm (excluding supermarkets). For a comparison, Me Linh Plaza in Hanoi provides about 115,000 sqm of accommodation – albeit not all retail, and with an emphasis on building products & supplies. The limited currently supply includes : -

Tax Plaza : - Situated on the super prime pitch of the corner of Nguyen Hue & Loi in District 1, the 14,670 sqm 4 floor building was constructed at the beginning of the 20" Century as the Charner Hotel. It was completely refurbished in 2002 for about USD$3 million but due to the design still feels dated, which is why the landlord – Satra (Saigon Trading Corporation) – intends to redevelop the whole site for a USD$121 million as a 43 floor offices & retail complex with an international exhibition section, conference rooms, car parks and a heliport at the top.

Saigon Centre : - Developed by Singapore’s Keppel Corporation in the mid 1990’s in a JV with Sowatco & Resco on Le Loi, the property represents what was to have been 1st Phase of 3. The others never got off the ground. The top half of the tower are apartments called Sedona Suites with office accommodation below. The bottom 4 floors are what was to be part of a much larger retail area.

Saigon Superbowl : - Situated close to Tan Son Nhat airport on the approach road, this early 1990’s ‘box’ type development by Singapore’s SUTL provides about 5,000 sqm of space and is home to a Saigon Superbowl on the top / 1st floor.

Saigon Trade Centre : - Developed in the mid 1990’s by Luks Land (Vietnam) Ltd (part of Hong Kong’s Luks Lavico), this 40 year 1993 UDS$52 million JV provides about 4 floors of retail accommodation in the lower levels, of what still is – 10 years later – the country’s tallest building.

Zen Plaza : - Developed in 1995 as a 14 floor USD$29.2 million JV between Japan’s Hasegawa & Saigon Co-Op as the Nhat Nam / Southern Fortune Commercial Center office building, the property became one of, if not the first property to go 100% FIE (foreign owned) in 2002 and was then renamed Zen Plaza in 2003. The top 5 floors only are now used for offices with the lower 7 floors new used for retail and inter-connected by a series of escalators that were subsequently inserted.

Me Linh Point Tower : - Developed in the late 1990’s as a JV between Singapore’s listed Centre Point Properties & Chuong Duong Beverage Co, the strategically located 22 floor building provides 16 floors of office accommodation above 4 floors / about 3,000 sqm of retail space.

Diamond Plaza : - Situated opposite the Cathedral, this striking looking green plate-glass building is one of very few that have been constructed using steel – because it is a 40 year USD$78 million 1995 JV between Korea’s Posco & Vietnam Steel. The lower 3 floors opened in around 2001 and operate as the Diamond Department Store that includes a 4th floor Saigon Superbowl outlet.

Thuan Kieu Plaza : - Situated in District 5 the Thuan Kieu Commercial Center is a USD$50 million 1994 development between Hong Kong's Kings Harmony International United & the District 5 Construction and Trading Co and comprises 3 floors with about 20,000 sqm of retail accommodation as part of the larger 33 floor apartment complex.

Saigon Square : - Situated on the super-prime pitch on the corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, the site was originally due to be developed by the 1996 Asiana Plaza JV between South Korea’s Kumho Construction & Engineering Inc and SaigonTourist / Ben Thanh Incorporated (Sunimex) & the District 1 Housing Development Company as a USD$223 million office & apartment complex but never got off the ground. Since 2000 the site has been operating, on a temporary basis, as Saigon Square Shopping Centre, though its days look numbered as the JV has recently been killed off and local partners are making plans for redevelopment of the 13,600 sqm site a as a huge luxury retail & apartment complex with a 5 star hotel.

Parkson : - Situated on the super-prime pitch corner site of Dong Khoi (ex-Rue Catinat) and Le Thanh Ton, Parkson took a 25 year lease of 4 floor 17,000 sqm SaigonTourist Department Store in 2004 and reopened as the county’s first Parkson in 2005. About 150 retailers have outlets selling mainly luxury fashion brands such as Lewis Jeans, CK, Baleno, Lois Jeans, Guess, Urago, Escada, Alain Delon, CR2, and VJ Jeans, and high quality cosmetic brands like Estee Lauder and Clinique. Among the Vietnamese brands are WOW, Nguyen Jenny and Donga Silk.

An Duong Plaza : - Situated in District 5 on the busy corner of An Duong Vuong & Su Van Hanh the site was originally supposed to have been developed in 1993 by Viet Hoa Bank before being suspended in late 1997 due to financial difficulties. The new owner, Van Thinh Phat, resumed construction in June 2002 and completed the mixed use property in 2004. The building has a 18,000 sqm shopping centre, restaurants & service section from the 4th - 7th floors and the 5 star 392 room Windsor Plaza Hotel from 8th – 21st floors. The developer was selling 10 year leases of retail units from between USD$11,000 - USD$160,000. Most of the leases are transferable mid-term ie @2009.

 

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Between 1999-2004 Ho Chi Minh City’s population experienced an increase of more than 1 million people or an average of 200,000 inhabitants a year, according to Municipal Economic Institure & the city’s Planning and Construction Institue, which also said that migrants account for 30% of the city’s 7 million people. The city is undergoing ‘urbanisation’ so rapidly, that by 2020 the 17 inner city districts are expected to have a population of 5.8 million to 6.4 million, while the suburban area will have 3 million to 4 million residents. Consequently, the retail sector will also have to inevitably under-go rapidly development, changes and perhaps most importantly, growth in the size of stock. An indication of these can be seen from the numerous projects that are now either being developed or planned which will double the size of the stock to about 250,000 by 2009 :

  • Thu Thiem Peninsula New Town : - This project is arguably the most important for the city’s future economic development (a bit like Shanghai’s Pudong in this respect), as it will link the existing long French-established District 1 with the 770 hectares banana-palm covered swamps on immediately other side of the river. The new town comprises An Khanh, Thu Thiem & An Loi Dong Wards and part of Binh An & Binh Khanh Wards in the city’s District 2.
  • Saigon Pearl : - Situated on Nguyen Huu Canh in Binh Thanh District between District 1 and the Saigon Bridge / Highway No 1, the site is being developed by a 50%-50% JV between Hong Kong’s Vietnam Land & SSG Construction & Real Estate Company (Vietnam Land SSG Ltd) to provide 8No. apartment blocks of upto 37 floors and 2-4 officer towers of between 13-25 / 40 floors each & 126 villas. The 10.4 site on river opposite the Thu Thiem peninsula was acquired at action for USD$56 million ie @USD$540 / sqm and will be developed to provide a total of 2,112 apartments between 82-328 sqm. Viet Trang Import Export JS Company is heading a conglomerate of enterprises who have clubbed together to pay for the USD$156 million project. The Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (BIDV) have loaned USD$32.3 million, accounting for 60% of the investment price. Vietnam Land is a JV between seven Vietnamese and a Hong Kong partner that includes the Sun Wah group and Japan's Marubeni Corporation. Prices are being quoted at between USD$1,200-USD2,000 / sqm
  • Bitexco Commercial Complexes : - The Binh Minh Trade Import Export Company (Bitexco) is planning to develop two huge high rise office & apartment complexes covering about 10 hectares in the down-town areas of Ma Lang & Ben Thanh. The buildings will be between 40-55 floors and the investment required is estimated in the region of USD$460 million. More than 1,800 houses and 13 offices will be affected and compensation is anticipated to be about USD$80-100 million.
  • Saigon M&C Tower (formerly ‘Saigon Spaceship’ site) : - At the end of 2001 Saigontourist bought out the foreign partner (Cibex International & Societe de Development Hotel Pointe des Blageurs) in the mid-1990’s dormant USD$76 million JV, that had a licence to build a hotel, office, shopping & apartment complex. The site is arguably the most central in Sai Gon since it is at the end of Ham Nghe opposite the Cot Co Thu Ngu flag-pole. A new @USD$31.8 million JV has been formed between Saigontourist (30%) and Saigon M & C Real Estate Co (60%) and Thu Do Land Company (10%), to develop the 6,000 sqm plot with revised USD$65 million plans for a striking looking 40 story shopping mall, apartment complex & office tower. The apartments will all have 3 bedrooms and range in size from 150 to 200 square meters and are provisionally being quoted at @USD$2,700 / sqm making the them the most expensive in the country.
  • Le Loi Plaza : - Gemadept, Vietnam's largest shipping agency, has bought a 45% stake from Hong Kong's Keangnam Enterprise Ltd in Le Loi Plaza to develop a 25 floor office building with ancialry retail on Le Loi Boulevard.
  • Vietcombank Tower : - A JV between Ben Thanh Tourist & Vietcombank with Hong Kong Bonday Investments are looking to revive a long dead project to develop a 3,232 sqm site for USD$55 million as a 35 storey office & retail building with 77,000 sqm of space on land at Me Linh Square bordered by Ton Duc Thang & Hai Ba Trung.
  • Financial Tower : - Bitexco is investing USD$100 million in building a stunning looking 60 floor steel & glass walled commercial & financial centre just off Nguyen Hue on a site bordered by Hai Trieu, Ho Tung Mau & Ngo Duc Ke which will provide 100,000 sqm of space in the tallest building in HCMC if not Vietnam.
  • New World Tower : - A joint venture between New World Hotels Holdings Hong Kong & Saigontourist Holding Company (which built the 560 ­room New World Saigon Hotel), is looking at developing the adjacent 1,850 sqm corner plot as a 25-35 floor office building with ancillary retail for about USD$25 million.
  • September 23rd Park : - This long ‘dead’ JV earned the pseudonym ‘The Black Hole’ due to its scale and decade of inactivity. Located on 10 hectares of the 23rd September Park that is surrounded by Cong Quynh, Pham Ngu Lao, Ton That Tung & Nguyen Trai near Ben Thanh Market, this 1995 70-30% USD$525 million Vijico JV (Saigon Cultural & Commercial Complex - SCCC), between Taiwan’s Jin Wen Corporation and the Urban Development Service Company – UDESCO - (15%), the Public Park & Greenery Company (9%), and Ben Thanh Tourism Service Company (6%)/ went 100% locally owned in 2005 when SRECO (Saigon Real Estate Corporation) took over / were told to take over the foreign partner’s stake in this long ‘dead’ project. The JV envisaged developing a 5-star hotel with a 38 floor skyscraper, a 72,000 sqm commercial centre and many other state-of-the-art business & leisure facilities. In 2006, Korea’s LG Engineering & Construction (LG E&C) negotiated a deal as an incentive as part of developing the new 14 km Tan Son Nhat-Binh Loi outer beltway new ‘airport road’, the rights over a 1.2 hectares plot in the former SCCC JV. There are reports that they now plan to develop a mixed use commercial residential scheme on the site including a Xi (Extra Intelligent) Park Tower – one of Korea’s top serviced apartment brand-names.
  • Artex Building : - This wonderfully located 800 sqm site opposite the Opera House and Caravelle on the corner of Le Loi & Dong Khoi is being developed by RESCO for Artex Saigon (a subsidiary of SATRA) as a 7 floor USD$3.6 million building, partially for owner occupation. The ground floor, mezzanine & 1st floor will be to accommodate this handicraft company’s products with offices in the 5 floors above.
  • BIDV Tower : - The state run Bank for Investment & Develop­ment of Vietnam is developing a 40 floor building that will provide over 100,000 sqm of accommodation at over USD$100 million.
  • Times Square : - This long delayed 1996 JV between Larkhall & Savico will cost an estimated USD$95 million and provide high end retail, residential, office & hotel accommodation on a 4,500 sqm site on Dong Khoi in the very centre of District 1.
  • Hoang Quan Plaza : - Situated in the District 8 section of the Saigon South Urban Area, the USD$44 million complex is being developed by Hoang Quan (95%) & Lang Thanh to provide 9 high-rises of 15 to 18 storeys with 653 apartments of between 90-222 sqm, with 14,000 sqm of office accommodation, and a 20,000 sqm shopping centre on a 3.76 hectare site. The quoted price for apartments is between USD$1,200­-USD$1,400 / sqm and purchasers obtain 10 year 60% loans from the Mekong Housing Bank.
  • Saigon Paragon : - Situated in Phu My Hung oppo­site the planned International Exhibition & Conference Center in District 7, this Japanese designed USD$20 million commercial & entertainment centre covers 4,850 sqm and will provide 37,620 sqm of accommodation in a 10 floor tower. The bottom 4 floors will be used as retail accommodation; the 5th for cinemas & recreational areas; the 6th – 8th for offices; the 9th for health & beauty care; and the top floor for fash­ion shops & restaurants. Monthly rentals are being quoted at between USD$25 - USD$45 / sqm per month.
  • Asiana Plaza : - The 13,600 sqm Kumho Saigon JV was licensed in 1996 to build a USD$223 million com­plex on the corner of Le Duan & Hai Ba Trung comprising a luxury apartment & office building with a 5-star hotel and shopping centre. Korea’s Kumho 65% stake was purchased by Saigontourist and the District 1 Housing Development Company in 2005
  • Satra Commercial Centre : - The Saigon based conglomerate are planning to redevelop a 6,000 sqm super-prime site next to Tax Plaza on the corner of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi at a cost of USD$100-120 million. The 30-35 floors of space will include a retail section, offices, con­ference facilities & a car-park and reports says investors from Malaysia, Singapore, US & Switzerland have showed interest in Joint Venturing including Malaysia's Shangri-La, Thailand's Central Plaza, Hong Kong Land.
  • Hung Vuong Plaza : - Situated in bustling District 5, the USD$33 million property is being jointly developed by local companies M&C Corporation and Kinh Do and will have two 29 floor towers with 276 apartments from the 8th-29th floors of between 117-128 sq.m. Kinh Do will occupy the first 7 floors of the plaza for a department store with luxury shops, offices, 20 restaurants and cafes, and five cinemas with a combined 1,500 seats. The Eastern Asia Commercial Bank (EAB) will provide 50% loans to purchasers repayable over 10 years.
  • Saigon Sports City : Situated in District 2’s popular An Phu about 5kn from central District 1, the project is being developed by Chiap Hua (Hong Kong) & Keppel Land (Singapore) to provide over 3,000 condominiums with office and retail / leisure facilities on about 75 hectares.

Asia Pacific Prime Retail Rentals & Yields (2005)

 
Rental - USD$/sq.m/month
Yield - %

Singapore

Hong Kong

Shanghai

Melbourne

Sydney

240

125

95

135

120

10

6,5

11

6

7

 

APPENDIX 1

SHOPPING-CENTRES : - A shopping centre / mall, or shopping arcade is a building or set of buildings that contain stores and have interconnecting walkways that make it easy for people to walk from store to store. The walkways might be enclosed. Indoor multi-vendor shopping is not a recent innovation as the Grand Bazaar in Tehran dates from the 10th Century AD. The Burlington Arcade in London was opened in 1819, and the Arcade in Rhode Island introduced the concept to the US in 1828. Milan followed in the 1860s and is closer to large modern malls in spaciousness. In the mid 20th Century, with the rise of the suburbs & car transport, a new form of mall was created away from city centers. The Valley Mall in Wisconsin was built in 1954, and is recognized as the first enclosed shopping mall in the US. It is said that the design is modeled originally after the inner city shopping district of Vienna. A very large shopping mall is sometimes called a mega-mall. The race is now on to build the largest mall : - Beijing's Golden Resources Shopping Mall opened in October 2004 with 600,000 sqm (approximately 6 million sqft); Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur is advertised at 700,000 sqm; and the Mall of Arabia inside Dubai Land will opened in 2006 with 929,000 sqm (10 million sq.ft). A Shopping Centre can refer to a shopping mall, which is a place where a collection of shops all adjoin a pedestrian area, or an exclusively pedestrian street, that allows shoppers to walk without interference from vehicle traffic. A larger, often only partly covered but exclusively pedestrian shopping area is in Britain termed a shopping precinct or pedestrian precinct. The majority of British shopping centers are in town centers, usually inserted into old shopping districts, and surrounding by subsidiary open air shopping streets.

REGIONAL-MALLS : - A regional mall is a shopping mall which is designed to service a larger area than a conventional shopping mall. As such, it is typically larger, and offers a wider selection of stores. Given its wider service area, these malls tend to have higher-end stores that need a larger area in order for their services to be profitable. Regional malls are also found as tourist attractions in vacation areas. Super-regional malls are usually shopping centers with over 1 million square feet of retail space and serve as the dominant shopping venue for the region that it serves.

STRIP-MALLS : - Strip malls developed along with the rise of suburbs & car transportation. As such, strip malls have been the subject of the same criticisms leveled against suburbanization and suburban sprawl in general. In the UK these are called retail parks or out-of-town shopping centres. Strip malls are shopping centres where the stores are arranged in a row, with a pavement in front. Strip malls are typically developed as a unit and have large parking areas in front. They face major traffic arteries and tend to be self-contained with few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods. In the U.S., strip malls usually come in two sizes. The smaller variety is more common, and often located at the intersection of major streets in residential areas; they cater to a small residential area. This type of strip mall is found in nearly every city or town in the US. Newer strip malls are often built with elaborate architecture to blend in with the neighborhood or be more attractive. In some cases, strips malls are broken up into smaller buildings to encourage walking. Sometimes the buildings will wrap around the parking lot to hide the parking from the road or residential areas. Due to land use issues, strip malls in the UK are typically found on the edges of cities on green-field sites, and are known as out of town shopping centres. Ones in more urban areas (often brownfield redeveloped sites) are more typically known as retail parks.

DEPARTMENT-STORES : - A department store is a retail establishment which specializes in selling a wide range of products without a single predominant merchandise line. Certain department stores are classified as discount department stores. Discount department stores commonly have central customer checkout areas, generally in the front area of the store. Department stores are usually part of a retail chain of many stores situated around a country or several countries.

 
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