BackStories » Saigon » Saigon Officials Seek Private Funding to Upgrade Old Apartment Buildings, Relocate 20,000 Households Along Canal

City officials are hoping to upgrade deteriorating apartment buildings and relocate 20,000 households along Saigon’s canals through private funding.

According to VnExpress, municipal authorities are requesting governmental permission to ease the city’s bidding regulations in an effort to attract more private investors, whose much-needed funds could help to relocate canal-side residents and redevelop the city’s waterfront areas.

During a working session attended by both the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and the Ministry of Construction, officials presented two main goals: to relocate 20,000 canal-side households and to upgrade at least half of Saigon’s pre-1975 apartment blocks, reports Saigon Giai Phong.

HCMC People’s Committee vice chairman Le Van Khoa told VnExpress the makeshift houses along Saigon’s canals are unsafe for residents and contribute to pollution in the area. City officials have long planned to revitalize urban canals, however the high cost of such projects presents a challenge.

At the working session, Khoa said several companies have already come forward with offers to invest in clean-up and relocation projects throughout the city, according to VnExpress. The Saigon Housing and Infrastructure Investment JSC, for instance, is willing to spend VND9.3 trillion (US$417.5 million) to remove houses along District 8’s Doi Canal, while a Hanoian firm could pledge VND5 trillion (US$224 million) for work on Binh Thanh’s Xuyen Tam Canal.

As for apartment blocks, the city is home to 474 buildings in need of renovation, Tran Trong Tuan, director of HCMC’s Department of Construction, told Saigon Giai Phong. City officials aim to complete renovations on half of these structures by 2020, reports Saigon Times, however just 32 apartment buildings have received upgrades over the past decade, leaving 237 more buildings to renovate in the next four years.

This is not a new issue for municipal authorities. Last year, Saigon earmarked 61 old apartment buildings for demolition, while the city's Department of Construction has plans to complete 39 low-cost housing projects between now and 2020. City authorities have also gone to work relocating makeshift housing along the water: in March, phase three of a Japanese-funded canal clean-up effort moved 5,800 households from canals in Districts 4, 7, 8 and Binh Chanh.

[Photo via Flickr user Giang Dong Du]

Related Articles:

5,800 Saigon Households to Relocate Ahead of Canal Maintenance

Saigon to Demolish Old Apartment Buildings, Construct New Low-Income Housing

Saigon to Demolish 61 Old Apartment Buildings

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