HCM City metro line a year behind schedule

Monday, May 05, 2014 08:28

"If design changes and site clearance go as smoothly as planned, the Metro line No2 can be brought into operation in 2019."— File Photo

Compiled by Le Hung Vong

A section of the Metro Line No2 in HCM City linking Ben Thanh Market in District 1 with Tham Luong in the suburban District 12 can begin operating only in 2019, one year behind schedule, if things go smoothly, authorities announced at a conference in HCM City.

Nguyen Van Quoc, deputy head of the HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways, said that design and construction works were originally planned to be completed in 2017, and the test-run of the 20km Metro Line No 2 designed to start from Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2 to Tay Ninh Bus Station was expected to take place in 2018.

"If design changes and site clearance go as smoothly as planned, the Metro line No2 can be brought into operation in 2019."

Last year the route's consulting unit suggested making changes such as building a flight of stairs and ventilation tower on the pavement in Cach Mang Thang Tam Street and altering certain things in a station there.

But local residents strongly objected to these changes, saying they would cause an adverse impact on their livelihoods and business operations.

They wanted to be paid "proper" compensation, or higher than market prices, if the authorities wanted them to move to make room for the project, Quoc said.

On 7 January Nguyen Huu Tin, a deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, told the urban railways authority to revise the designs of the stairway and ventilation tower to use less land and reduce site clearance and compensation costs.

He called on the contractors not to destroy the existing infrastructure around the station but instead consider moving it out temporarily so that the land could be returned to the residents later.

Construction of the line has not started yet mainly due to the problems with site clearance around the station.

The 11km route will have 11 stations and run through Pham Hong Thai, Cach Mang Thang Tam, and Truong Chinh streets. A 9.3km section will go some 18m under the ground.

The work is expected to cost VND26.1 trillion (US$1.24 billion) and will be funded by ODA loans and the Government.

Ground was broken for the Metro Line No 2 in August 2010.

Bright spot

In the first quarter of 2014 the hospitality market was a bright spot in the real estate industry and continued to show positive movements, according to a report from CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Viet Nam.

More and more international flights are further expanding Da Nang's links with new destinations. Jetstar Pacific began direct flights between Macau and Da Nang in March.

Vietnam Airlines plans to begin direct flights between Narita in Japan and Da Nang, operating four flights a week starting in July.

The number of international flights to Da Nang International airport during the quarter was some 64 per cent higher than a year earlier and 126 per cent up the 2012 period.

International arrivals to Da Nang by sea went up to 75,000, almost double the number from the previous year.

Commenting on these trends, Duong Thuy Dung, associate director, head of research and consulting at CBRE, said: "These improvements will positively influence the real estate market in general and the hospitality market in particular."

Performance across hotel segments saw an upward trend in Q1 2014. Beach-front five-star properties continued to be the best performers, with their average RevPar achieving the highest growth of 35.2 per cent year-on-year, mostly because of Crowne Plaza and the high room rates at the Intercontinental Sun Peninsula resort.

Five-and four-star city properties followed the same trend, with their average RevPar respectively going up by 2.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent.

Unlike these segments, however, the decline in the average occupancy rate caused by one new opening in the second half of 2013 led to the average RevPar of the four-star beachfront segment falling by 6.7 per cent to $34.64 per room per night.

The rapid growth of the city developments in recent years has helped the hospitality segment dominate the property market.

But in the near future beachfront hotels will come to lead the market. In 2014 and 2015 around 1,951 new beachfront hotel rooms will be available compared with approximately 742 city hotel rooms.

Most of these new openings will be in three-and four-star hotels. New five-star hotels will follow in 2016 and 2017 due to a longer construction process.

In the next few quarters, beachfront properties will have an increasing influence on the Da Nang hospitality market.

It will be interesting to see how this new supply affects market performance. It may be a tougher challenge for city developments since beachfront hotels have a distinct advantage thanks to location that allows them to meet the needs of a variety of guests including MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions), leisure, and business travellers.

Visitors from China, Hong Kong, and Macau continued to be the top arrivals in Da Nang. In the first quarter flights by China Eastern, China Southern, Dragon, and Macau Airlines increased sharply compared to the same period last year.

International arrivals by sea were mostly from China, according to the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

In the next two quarters, with summer arriving, the rate of international arrivals may slow down slightly though there would be a significant number of domestic tourists, CBRE said. — VNS.

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