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Here’s What Will Replace Saigon’s Historic Tax Center

Just a couple months after Saigon’s 136-year-old Tax Center met a sudden and untimely end, Japanese hotel firm Okura Nikko Hotel Management has announced a partnership with the southern hub’s Saigon Trading Group (Satra).

According to travel trade publication TTG Asia, the Okura Prestige Saigon will be among the tenants of Satra's 40-story multipurpose commercial tower. The hotel, set to open in 2020, will feature 250 guest rooms, a rooftop bar, Japanese restaurants, multipurpose banquet and conference space, a gym and an outdoor pool.

Okura Nikko already manages two other properties in Vietnam: the Hotel Nikko Saigon and Hotel Nikko Hanoi. According to Hospitality Net, Hotel Okura president Toshihiro Ogita said in a press release: "We are focusing on hotel development in Vietnam because of its stable and highly promising GDP growth rate, which is averaging 6.5 percent annually, and its affluent and youthful population up to age 30, which accounts for half the nation's population.”

The loss of the historic building is a sore spot among Saigon’s heritage building lovers, as Satra promised to preserve the lobby of the old building. Saigoneers had heard little information regarding the structure until early October, when news outlets suddenly reported the building was being demolished. Over the summer, the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities’ archaeology department dismantled the lobby’s historic Moroccan mosaic after conservationists had repeatedly called for foreign experts to do the job.

“Mosaics in [Vietnam] are completely different from Moroccan zellij, and in our view there are no suitably qualified people here to do the job. It's highly specialized work,” historian Tim Doling told Saigoneer last year. “That's nothing to be ashamed of, as every country has its areas of specialism. But we impressed upon Satra how crucial it is in this case to use overseas conservation experts, ideally with mosaic experience, and sent them a long list of possible candidates in Australia, USA and [the] UK. The French Consul General would also be willing to advise on suitable experts in France.”

Demolition of the old building is expected to finish in January. In addition to the Okura Prestige Saigon, Satra’s new structure will include office space, a commercial area, a conference center and a helipad. The skyscraper's basement will also link to the metro’s Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line.

[Rendering via Business Wire]

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