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GuocoLand looking out for more project sites in Vietnam

It breaks ground on its first development in the country – an $84m integrated complex

HO CHI MINH CITY – SINGAPORE developer GuocoLand Group yesterday broke ground on its maiden development in Vietnam – The Canary – and says it is already on the lookout for further development sites.

The US$58 million (S$84 million) investment in The Canary reflects a high level of investor confidence in Vietnam’s booming economy, said a Singapore agency official at the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.

The 17.5ha development will boast residential, commercial, hotel and educational facilities. It is the first integrated project to be built by a foreign investor in Vietnam, outside the commercial centre Ho Chi Minh City and the capital Hanoi.

It is being built in affluent Binh Duong province, 17km north of Ho Chi Minh City, near the Vietnam- Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP).

The flagship industrial zone was started in 1996 by a consortium of five Singapore firms led by SembCorp Parks, in a venture with Vietnamese state-owned Becamex IDC.

With a gross floor area of 290,000 sq m, The Canary is expected to yield 1,200 homes, in addition to a shopping mall with 85,000 sq m of retail space, a hotel, an international school and a sports complex. Homes will also face the popular 27-hole Song Be golf course.

Centre director Chiong Woan Shin of IE Singapore’s Ho Chi Minh City office told The Straits Times that the project reflects the level of confidence of Singapore companies.

Construction of the residential area’s first phase is under way and due for completion in 2009.

The two- to four-bedroom apartments, ranging from 85 sq m to 160 sq m, will be targeted at locals and expatriates alike, said Mr Lawrence Peh, general manager of Guoco- Land Vietnam.

GuocoLand’s international investment general manager Ho Sing added that the group is looking for more locations in Vietnam for further projects.

CBRE Vietnam’s managing director, Mr Marc Townsend, said he expected the project to be well-received. ‘With so many people working at the VSIP, it will be time- and cost-efficient to live there,’ he said.

The project will be launched for sale next year. He estimates that the homes will be priced at a premium above US$800 per sq m, or S$108 per sq ft – a price fetched by a residential project nearby.

IE Singapore’s Ms Chiong added that more Singapore companies were venturing into Vietnam.

But fast-rising home prices are also proving to be the bane of ordinary Vietnamese and even some expatriates. This is exacerbated by speculators flipping properties for a quick profit.

Property prices have jumped 50 per cent in Vietnam since the start of this year, and in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, they have tripled.

The result is that owning homes in the cities is far beyond the means of most ordinary Vietnamese. The issue is a hot topic in the country’s legislature.


Source: The Straits Times 21 Nov 07


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