Representatives of the Finnish Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City have sent a letter to the HCMC People's Committee and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposing a number of measures to conserve part of the Saigon Tax Trade Center.
The mosaic-tiled floor.
The first solution proposed would be to maintain the lobby lounge, the mosaic tiled floor and the major stairs of the center. These parts would be integrated into the design of the new building.
If the first solution is not implemented, the second solution would be to dismantle, move and retain the mosaic-tiled floor, the balustrades, handrails and carved stair components of the main lobby staircase and lobby.
The letter also said that under the mandate of the French Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and the foreign consular delegation in HCM City, they promise to arrange labor and costs to implement the second solution.
It said that later the dismantled parts will be "integrated into the museums and other works". To do the dismantlement, the letter suggested that competent authorities give them some time, about 15-20 days.
The HCMC People's Committee has approved a Saigon Trading Group's project to build a 40 storey office and hotel center. Construction is expected to start by the first quarter next year to replace the Saigon Tax Trade Center.
The Saigon Tax Trade Center, which closed on October 1 for the construction of a skyscraper and part of a metro line station, has a 134-year history of foundation and development but it will bite the dust soon to give way to a skyscraper and part of a metro line station.
Founded in 1880, Les Grands Magazins Charner (GMC), the old name of Saigon Tax Trade Center, along with other French style architecture including Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, and Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon (now the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee headquarters), was considered a part of the glory of Saigon (former name of Ho Chi Minh City) at that time.
In the 1940s, the three-level GMC building, which was a mix of French and Asian architectural styles, comprised a clock tower of Western style on top as well as windows of East Asian style. It had stood on two of Saigon's well-known boulevards, Bonard (the old name of Le Loi Street) and Charner (the old name of Nguyen Hue Street), serving as a shopping mall which sold expensive goods for high-class people.
In the 1960s, GMC was renamed Tax Plaza by the Trade Association. It was broken up into small areas for hundreds of merchants to rent and run their own businesses.
The Tax Plaza in the period of 1960-1970 when it was considered one of Saigon's busiest shopping centers. The mall attracted more foreigners, especially American shoppers. The merchandise included clothes, handicrafts, cameras, watches and electronic items, which were imported from Japan, the U.S., and Taiwan.
On November 12, 1981, the Tax Plaza was again renamed, this time the Ho Chi Minh City Department Store and put under the management of the HCMC Trade Service. The period of the 1990s was the store's most prosperous time as it welcomed a huge number of customers.
In the 1990s, the store enjoyed prosperous business and received a large number of foreign shoppers, mainly from Europe. Due to the very successful trading activities with partners from Russia, this place was also called the “Russian Market.”
On January 19, 1998, after a short time of façade refurbishment, the building was named
In 2003, the Saigon Tax Trade Center was upgraded, becoming a higher, modern building which officially began operations on April 26 in the same year.
To serve the latest project, all shop owners were told to move out of the trade center by the end of September. At the request of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, 500 square meters out of 15,000 square meters of the center's gross floor area will be set aside for the construction of a part of a metro line station.
The committee has required the area to be handed over to the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board for building the ventilation structures of the metro station, one of 14 stations of the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line, by October.
The planned subway, 19.7km long, is the first-ever to be constructed in Vietnam that will run from District 1 through Binh Thanh District, District 2, District 9 and Thu Duc District in Ho Chi Minh City before reaching Di An Town in neighboring Binh Duong Province. It is estimated to cost US$2.49 billion.
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