The Southern Regional Centre, typified by urban sprawl, together with the Eastern, Northern, Western and Central region, is poised to further develop, making HCMC a hotspot for real estate investments. This is especially so now with a more comprehensive masterplan in place through to 2025, increasing inflow of foreign investments in real estate, and liberalisation on laws regarding foreign property ownership and real estate business.
The Southern Regional Centre is spread over four districts within HCMC namely Districts 7, Nha Be District and parts of Districts 8 and Binh Chanh. The initial planning goals were to alleviate population pressures in HCMC’s Central Region, establish a green belt, and build infrastructure that will support new sustainable and self-sufficient urban development. This was the first step in the envisioned expansion of HCMC’s growing metropolis and the South was poised to become a center for industry and trade, port services and facilities, logistics, and ecotourism. Strategically located in the South, the Southern districts of HCMC are situated as a natural gateway into the city from the provinces in the Mekong Delta (a key agriculture and seafood producing region).
In line with the plans for the Southern Regional Centre, several ports in the city center are being relocated here; the most prominent destination being the Hiep Phuoc Port in Nha Be District. In addition, many industrial zones are also being set up to make use of the favourable geography of being close to the ports and natural produce; examples of such are the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone and Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone.
Phu My Hung, Southern “poster boy”
In October 2015, it was announced by the municipal government that plans are underway to set up a special economic zone spread over the four Districts of 7, Binh Chanh, Nha Be, and Can Gio to develop its maritime economy and logistics industry. As part of the plans, inefficient agriculture land will be converted to urban areas; eco-tourism will be promoted to aid the preservation of the natural environment; and trade/industry will be further developed.
Taking the Saigon South New Urban Area as the core of the Southern Regional Centre, the South of HCMC has experienced spectacular growth led by Phu My Hung Township, an integral part of the Saigon South New Urban Area and a leading model of urban development in Vietnam. The creation of Saigon South New Urban Area was motivated by the government’s desire to create a “special zone” similar to what the Chinese did with Shenzhen.
The urban area is divided into 21 sectors with a 17.8-km highway (Nguyen Van Linh Parkway) running down the middle. Sections A to E are to be developed and managed by a central investor (Phu My Hung Joint Venture) and the remaining sections are mixed-use public land to be managed by the government. While far from being complete, Saigon South New Urban Area, in particular Phu My Hung, is acknowledged across the country for its high quality urban infrastructure and well-planned urban areas.
What was once a waterlogged swamp land, Phu My Hung City Centre (Section A of Saigon South New Urban Area) is now over 70% built-up with residential areas, commercial zones, infrastructures and public amenities of international quality. The City Centre will be the heart of the entire urban development project. Located at the major turn of Nguyen Van Linh Parkway and close to Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone and just about a 15 minutes’ drive from downtown HCMC, it encompasses 409 ha of land, including 110 hectares reserved for community amenities including parks, schools, civic uses and other support facilities. The City Centre will contain trade centres, offices, hotels, entertainment complexes, healthcare facilities, housing and accommodation well within walking distance to each other.
A piece of Singapore in Saigon
An investment-worthy new residential project in Phu My Hung City Centre is Scenic Valley located in the Medical Campus Area. This project, envisioned and developed by a Singapore company, is a representation of Singapore living standard and acts as an oasis of comfort and elegance. Spreading over 32,548 sq m, Scenic Valley features 7 blocks standing between 16 to 24 floors high, comprising a total of 1,202 units plus a set of special features that help connect the outdoors to residents’ daily life. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, flower gardens, BBQ area, and more are all available for the enjoyment of the residents. The construction density is approximately 30%, with the other 70% set aside for streets, community and green space. This modern residence strives to emphasize the everyday experiences of families. Furthermore, Scenic Valley takes advantage of all adjacent amenities and services in Phu My Hung City Centre such as the International Commercial and Financial District, the Crescent Promenade District (Lakeside), international standard schools and healthcare services.
Another good example of a residential project in Phu My Hung is Green Valley; it is the second condominium project situated opposite to Saigon South Golf Course after Happy Valley Condominium project launched last year. Hence, Saigon South Golf Course acts as the special boundary to connect these two “valleys” that creates a peaceful, comfortable and self-contained living area. With different apartment sizes at an affordable price, Green Valley is the “perfect choice” for stableincome people such as officers, middle-management levels, and small/medium business owners.
Residents get to enjoy modern community amenities and services; a swimming pool, flower garden, community room, and convenient stores are all located on-site. Additional sporting amenities nearby includes the Saigon South Golf Course, tennis courts, and public swimming pool. As for location, from Green Valley it is convenient to reach more amenities located in the Crescent Promenade District, the International Commercial and Financial District, Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC), and so forth.
Growing urban sprawl
However, although Phu My Hung is the “poster boy” of the Sothern Regional Centre, it does not wholly encompass it. There are significant other growth clusters outside of Phu My Hung, notably the Nguyen Huu Tho Belt, a long arterial street stretching from Kinh Te Bridge (bridging District 4 to District 7) all the way southwards into Nha Be District with many real estate developments sprouting on either side of it. At the start of Nguyen Huu Tho Street nearest to Kinh Te Bridge sits Sunrise Cityview, another well located project by Novaland Group built on the success of the completed Sunrise City. Inheriting most of the superior features of its predecessor, Sunrise Cityview ensures continuity in deliverance of a modern, cosy and well thought-out living environment. Within a radius of 5 kilometres, residents here can easily find all the necessary amenities such as schools (RMIT University, Vista School, Southern Saigon International School, etc.), medical facilities (France- Vietnam International Hospital, Tam Duc Cardiology Hospital, etc.), supermarkets and malls (Lotte Mart, SC VivoCity, Crescent Mall, etc.), green public spaces, restaurants and so much more. Moving further south down Nguyen Huu Tho Street crossing the bridge from District 7 to Nha Be District is yet another prominently situated project by Novaland Group. Developed at the boundary of District 7 and Nha Be District separated by a river, Sunrise Riverside as its name suggest has a beautiful view of a river meandering past it and beyond it the skyline of Phu My Hung City Centre.
The project, made up of 8 towers between 21 to 25 floors spread over 2 separate zones (2 towers in Zone E and 6 in Zone G), includes essential facilities. Residents have access to children’s play areas, swimming pools, supermarkets and health care within the project’s compound. Moreover, Sunrise Riverside inherits public amenities in close proximity, owing to its illustrious neighbours, the developed Phu My Hung City Centre, operational SC VivoCity Shopping Mall and Lotte Supermarket. Sunrise Cityview is the epitome of suburban living; with large swaths of greenery and undeveloped land to its South and West, yet having a modern urban area to its North and East, it clearly represents the urban sprawl and shift in developments from HCMC’s center to its urban fringes.
The transition of rural areas into vibrant urban centers takes a long time and lots of monetary investment. The process of HCMC’s expansion (urban sprawl) was borne out of necessity to alleviate growing problems and strains placed on the socioeconomic infrastructure of the city. Development on the Regional Centres had started more than 10 years ago; despite much time being wasted due to downturns in Vietnam’s economy (such as the frozen real estate market lasting from 2008 to 2014), setbacks in urban planning (limited success of both the 1993 and 1998 predecessors of the current masterplan) and policy making (as typified in unclear laws that limit the full potential of foreign investments), HCMC’s real estate market is finally on a firm footing to realise its full potential. With a more comprehensive masterplan now in place through to 2025, increasing inflow of foreign investments in real estate, and liberalisation on laws regarding foreign property ownership and real estate business, the much talked about Eastern and Southern Regional Centres in once undeveloped urban fringes is imminently poised to further develop and materialise, making HCMC a hotspot for real estate investments.