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SIH pitches for My Dinh space   2010-03-27 - VietNamNet/VIR

Singapore’s SIH last week demanded land on Pham Hung street, a golden land area of Hanoi, as compensation for its scrapped four-star hotel project in Thong Nhat park. 


Thong Nhat park is seen as the green lung of Hanoi

In the wake of public outcry that Thong Nhat Park was a historical heritage and the capital’s green lung, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in April last year decided to stop construction of the Novotel Hanoi On The Park, and required the Hanoi People’s Committee to find another land lot for the investor.


The Hanoi Planning and Investment Department had introduced a 7.657 square metre land lot at 94 Lo Duc street for the investor to set up a four-star hotel.


However, in a meeting between SIH and the municipal People’s Committee last week, the investor asked to develop another 24,000sqm land lot on Pham Hung street for a trade centre, office and hotel building, in addition to the lot on Lo Duc street, citing the land site on Lo Duc street was much smaller than the project site in Thong Nhat park.


Nguyen Van Tu, deputy director of the department, told VIR that the proposal from the investor had been recognised by city authorities. However, he said, it would take a long time to consider the proposal.


Tu said My Dinh being a sensitive area and Hanoi’s masterplan not yet approved by the Politburo or the government meant the proposal needed to see opinions from related bodies. “The department has decided to introduce the land lot on Lo Duc street to the investor because it meets all of the different conditions required by the city authorities.”


Moreover, he said, this land lot was suitable for the investor’s proposal for a hotel, but not a residential development, a segment which city authorities planned to limit in the city’s centre in order to decentralise the population.


Although the final decision was not made, Tu confirmed that the city’s authorities would treat the investor well to protect its rights and compensate its expenses from the old Thong Nhat Park location. According to the project’s investor, project expenses were around $80 million. However, the figure needed to be revised and audited by the independent consultant Grant Thornton.


SIH also asked the committee to transfer the investor’s expenses from the project to the 50-year land leasing tax for the two future projects. Hanoi People’s Committee deputy chairman Phi Thai Binh requested the investor and other related bodies calculate the expenses so the committee could give a final evaluation.


Originally in 2008, a joint venture between Singapore’s SIH Investment and the Hanoi Tourism Corporation received a license to invest $40 million in a four-star, 376-room hotel inside Thong Nhat Park.


The project was designed to cover 10,300sqm, of which 9,000sqm would have encroached upon the park. It was scheduled to be completed in time for Hanoi’s 1,000th anniversary in October, 2010.

The construction then received criticism from local residents and architects.


The 50 hectare Thong Nhat Park was built in 1958 and inaugurated in 1961. At that time, the country was divided, with two different political regimes. The park was named Thong Nhat to express hope for the country’s “reunification”. 

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