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The Delay Continues for Saigon's Parking Lot Project Under Tao Đàn Park

Ten years after it was first approved, construction of the parking lot below District 1's Tao Đàn Park has again been delayed.

Hanoi-based construction firm Dong Duong Group claims that a need to review and revise the plans is causing this current delay. The ten-level, 5,300-square-meter parking lot would accommodate 700 cars and 400 motorbikes and cost VND900 billion (US$38.7 million).

Groundbreaking on the structure was to occur in 2015, but by 2018, when no progress had been made, the city threatened to reallocate the land. In July 2019, Dong Duong was told they could proceed with the project if they began by June of this year and finished in 2022. This hasn't happened, and the company now claims that they were not informed that plans would have to be revised because sections of it would overlap with a planned metro line.

Further complicating matters, the city’s Planning and Architecture Department has requested that the parking structure's first floor be used for communal public space and not for commercial purposes as originally intended. The construction firm is balking at the idea, claiming it was planning to rely on that area to bring in revenue to offset construction and operation costs. 

This is just the latest in a long list of expected parking lots falling behind schedule or being outright canceled. Last year a decades-old contract that was never realized for a lot beneath Lê Văn Tám Park was officially scrapped. Previously approved parking options including one beneath the zoo and one beneath Lam Sơn Square have also not been built. 

The projects stalled amidst red tape and arguments between contractors and various officials, leaving Saigoneers devoid of space to keep their vehicles. Urban planning experts estimate downtown parking options meet a paltry 7% of need.

If there is any silver lining, it is that one of District 1's most beloved parks will remain free of disruptive construction equipment, barricades and tree-cutting initiatives for a little longer. This means Saigoneers can continue to enjoy peace and quiet while puzzling over the park's mysterious, un-excavated Lâm Tam Lang tomb, or drawing inspiration from the park's resident one-legged martial arts master

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