Plan to sell government guest house raises concern

23 May
VNREThe Ministry of Finance’s decision to allow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to auction off the Government Guest House in Ho Chi Minh City to raise funds for other projects is making local residents and architects worry.

Under the plan, the HCMC People’s Committee will soon decide a starting price for investors to bid for the right to use the 3.5-ha guest house, located at No. 1 on Ly Thai To Street in District 10 or what is considered a “golden spot” in HCMC.

Despite the monetary benefit of selling the old French-style villa, many are worried lest it should be turned to trade centers or modern apartments and thus lose its historical and architectural values.

Architect Le Quang Ninh for instance said for whatever economic purpose it should serve, this villa, and several others like it throughout Saigon, reflects a great architectural style typical of pre-1975 Saigon and should thus be preserved.

Researcher Nguyen Dinh Dau agreed.

Dau said this villa lies within a group of green and low-rise landscapes including the Saigon Zoo, Le Duan Street, Reunification Palace, and the area from Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street to Ly Thai To Street that were built by the French to attract winds from the eastern seas to cool down the Sai Gon – Cho Lon residential areas.

Ninh suggests the best way to use this villa should be to turn it into a five-star restaurant for tourists.

By doing so, both monetary and architectural interests can be served, he said.

Nguyen Thanh Quy, a senior resident in Ward 1, District 10, said the government should not destroy old villas to build modern apartments.

“The old trees in these villas are like the city’s lungs,” Quy said. “If they are destroyed, billions of dongs can’t buy them back.”

Source: Tuoi Tre

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