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Saigon to Shutter Market, Food Court Underneath September 23 Park

Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee announced that private businesses are to be removed to reclaim and upgrade September 23 Park.

Sense Market, an underground market underneath September 23 Park is to be closed in the near future, Dan Tri reports. The market covers a one-hectare site and was just opened in March last year as a cooperation between Saigon Co.op and Cuu Long company.

The market houses approximately 100 food stalls offering cuisine from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India and Japan, along with 400 clothing stores and shoe shops.

In July of this year, municipal officials announced that the city will reclaim and upgrade the park and ordered the Department of Planning and Investment to stop extending leasing contracts to businesses. All businesses currently occupying the park's space are to move out by April 30, 2019.

According to the statistics provided by Sense Market's management board, the market welcomes 5,000 visitors per day. However, activities have stalled recently.

Stall owners whose contracts expired have already moved out while some haven't been able to recover the money they invested in renting the space. Store owner Pham Tuyet Nga said that she will be in debt if the market is shut down and wishes that the deadline could be extended to when owners have fully recouped their investment money.

"This area was dirty and abandoned. When we were approved by the authorities, we spent VND200 billion (USD8.5 million) to upgrade and turn this area into a unique destination for both locals and tourists. It also provides jobs for 500 traders who used to work on pavements," said Nguyen Binh Phuong, director of Cuu Long company, a co-operator of the market.

Saigon Co.op Director Nguyen Thi Tranh agrees with the decision to reclaim the park but suggests that underground spaces can be utilized for services while keeping the ground floor intact.

[Photo via Doanh Nghiep & Thuong Mai]

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