Archive | December, 2011

Green Urban Areas: New Investment Trend

19 Dec
VNRE Green urban area projects are now a new real estate investment trend, said Phan Thanh Mai, General Secretary of the Vietnam Real Estate Association at a seminar held by Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association and Hanoi Communications Association in Hanoi on December 10.
Ecopark – Van giang, Hung Yen
The seminar, attracting more than 400 participants, is expected to be an annual event. It draws great attention from businesses and investors with green urban area projects, and is also an opportunity for the investors to plan their future property products.
What is a green urban area?
Mr Tran Ngoc Chinh, Chairman of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association said the “green urban area” is a new concept, and it has attracted special attention from people and real estate investors. The model has become more important in the context of increasing environmental pollution in big cities. More people wish to have a house with open air and green space, along with modern facilities. A green urban area must satisfy seven criteria, including environmentally-friendly space, transport and infrastructure works, and good surrounding environment, Chinh added.
To date, Vietnam does not have any specific concept on green urban areas although a number of legal documents have mentioned green factors such as trees and water area in urban area projects. “In many current new urban areas, investors just aim for profit; therefore they plan little or no green area in their projects. Meanwhile, these areas are a very important living space bringing both economic and cultural value for the projects,” said Dr Luu Duc Hai, Deputy Head of Urban Planning and Development Institute.
Planning problems
According to Mr Hai, to ensure green elements in urban areas, urban planning should prioritise environmentally-friendly space which not only includes parks and water, but also green corridor and belt, ecological town, parks and high-quality agricultural production areas, flower growing areas and green preservation areas.
Mr Le Trong Binh, Head of the Vietnam Institute of Architecture under the Vietnam Association of Architects, said the strategy on Vietnam’s urban area development by 2010 and a vision to 2030 still lacks ecological and green urban area development orientations. A number of new urban areas in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other big cities include some elements from green and ecological urban area models. However, in reality, due to lack of criteria on green urban areas and research, surveys and classification on urban areas, many current urban areas often set their own standards. The quality of these urban areas depends on assessment of investors’ and people who live there.
Besides, green urban areas in Vietnam face difficulties like weak infrastructure, particularly transport and water supply systems.
Mr Phan Thanh Mai said, with increasing demand for an open living space, green urban areas will be a future investment trend. “Urban areas with significant green space will attract more customers. This is a good opportunity for investors,” Mai emphasised.
According to many experts, investors must put a higher initial investment into green urban area projects, and return on investment takes longer than other kinds of projects. So, the Government needs to have supporting policies for investors to carry out these projects. In addition, management agencies should apply strict sanctions on investors who fail to meet standards for green urban areas.
Source: VCCI News

IHG signs deals for Crowne Plaza hotels with BIM Group

16 Dec
VNRE Expansion in Vientiane marks IHG’s ‘arrival’ in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, claiming presence in all capital cities across IndoChina; Phu Quoc Resort will be the fourth Crowne Plaza property in Vietnam.

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, today announced the signing of agreements with leading Vietnamese conglomerate, the BIM Group, for two new-build Crowne Plaza properties in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Phu Quoc, Vietnam, both scheduled to open in 2015. Both projects will add about 600 rooms to IHG’s portfolio.
As the first IHG-managed property in Lao PDR, Crowne Plaza Vientiane will mark the hotel group’s strategic presence in all capital cities in IndoChina – in addition to Hanoi, Vietnam and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Resort will be the brand’s fourth property in Vietnam.
“The BIM Group is a strategic partner for IHG in the fast-growing IndoChina market. The group’s success in the various businesses speaks highly of its leadership and influence, complementing IHG’s strength and development plans in the region,” said Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer, IHG Asia, Middle East and Africa. “The debut of the first Crowne Plaza hotel in Vientiane will further invigorate tourism in this part of the world. Crowne Plaza Vientiane aims to generate a new buzz and create additional employment opportunities in this upcoming travel and business destination, as well as provide a comprehensive range of services and products for the MICE sector.” BIM Group’s business interests encompass hotel development, real estate, infrastructure development and construction, and transportation, amongst others.
Crowne Plaza Vientiane
The 200-room Crowne Plaza Vientiane will be positioned on a 2-hectare prime area within the city centre of Vientiane, capital of Lao PDR. It will be located along Rue Samsenthai, adjoining the junction of Rue Setthathilath where the prominent statue of King Fa Ngum stands. Fa Ngum was the first king and founder of the Laotian Kingdom of Lan Xang. 
Located along the Lao PDR-Thailand border, Vientiane is an important gateway and business destination in IndoChina. The city hosts local, regional and international firms, embassies, local government offices, as well as global organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, the UN and the World Bank. It is also a popular transit point for leisure travellers en route to Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world heritage site, and other popular destinations throughout Lao PDR and the rest of IndoChina.
Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Resort
Located on the southwest coast of Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand, 50kms from the Vietnamese mainland and a 50-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Resort will be part of a 155-hectare integrated resort development site in Duong Dong district along Long Beach. Housing 400 rooms, including 95 residences and 5 villas, the hotel will occupy 10 hectares on the site with an exclusive beachfront.
The Phu Quoc International Airport is currently under construction and expected to open in 2013, in time for the next phase of tourism and economic growth in the island – be it from leisure travellers, business travellers, or MICE visitors.

Source: Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts / IHG

Vietnam real estate projects attractive to Singapore

8 Dec
VNRE – Businesses from Singapore are seeking opportunities and accelerating investment in Vietnam ’s real estate market.

CapitaLand Holdings of Singapore said it plans to increase its investment in real estate in Vietnam from 400 million to almost 2 billion Singaporean dollars in the next three to five years. Meanwhile, Keppel Land is pouring its investment into the Saigon Centre trade complex and Saigon Sports City residential area projects in Ho Chi Minh City and southeastern Dong Nai province.
Secretary General of the Vietnam Real Estate Association Phan Thanh Mai said that real estate remains a field that attracts Singaporean businesses’ attention. In the context where Vietnam ’s projects are in need of capital, it is an opportunity for investors to seek capital and experience from Singaporean partners, he said.
Savills Vietnam Deputy Managing Director Neil MacGregor recently said that despite global financial crisis, Vietnam is ranked as one of the leading destinations for Singaporean investors in Southeast Asia, surpassing Malaysia and India .
According to a survey conducted by the ASEAN Economic Advisory Council in 2010, up to 49 per cent of 120 businesses operating in Singapore chose Vietnam to be their investment destination in the next three years.
At present, Singapore is implementing 50 real estate investment projects totalling more than $7.6 billion in Vietnam.
Source: VNA

Bitexco Group of Company

8 Dec
VNRE Since its beginnings in 1985 as a textile firm in the province of Thai Binh, Bitexco has become a successful multi-industry corporation. It covers real estate investment and development, hydro-power plants, infrastructure, mining and mineral water production. The Bitexco Group has over 1.100 employees with offices in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Thai Binh.
Bitexco began to diversify and expand its business in 1997 in the production of mineral water. The company has invested heavily in modern machinery and equipment for building and developing the brand “Vital” to become the first brand of mineral water in Vietnam, which was first produced by Italian technologies meet the high European quality standards.

In the real estate sector, from 2000, Bitexco has developed various high-profile projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Examples in Hanoi are The Manor and The Garden; while in Ho Chi Minh City there is the Bitexco Office Building, The Manor I, The Manor II and the 68-storey Bitexco Financial Tower. Other major projects underway include the J.W. Marriott Hotel and Hoang Mai Urban Complex in Hanoi, in Lao Cai The Manor Eco+ and Sapa Resort & Holiday Apartments, in Thanh Hoa the New Centre, and in Ho Chi Minh City the Nguyen Cu Trinh Residential Complex and Ben Thanh Towers.

Bitexco has always strived for growth and prosperity. Its reputation in Vietnam is based on its sustainable development and global perspective. The key to its success is the vision of its leaders, combined with the reliability of its business partners and the loyalty of its patrons. Bitexco’s goal is to become the top corporation in Vietnam, an internationally competitive enterprise that exceeds the expectations of its customers with its care for quality and state-of-the-art products and services.

Vision

Bitexco Group’s goal is to be the top leading multi-industry corporations in Vietnam, a global player that is: “internationally competitive by executing world-class projects, and ensuring sustainable development in the local and global markets.”

Our Mission

The Bitexco Group will always be in the vanguard of Vietnamese corporate life. We continually strive for growth and set ourselves international benchmarks for every project we undertake. Only the highest standards are acceptable for both our people and our companies.

Contributing to Vietnam’s economic development and improving the quality of life for the country’s people is central to our philosophy. As a player on the international stage, The Bitexco Group is responsible for advancing national interests and promoting the image of Vietnam around the world as a dynamic, prosperous nation.

In a rapidly modernizing world, sustainable development at both home and abroad will always be a priority.

Strategic partners

For further information, please contact:

Bitexco Group of Company

– Hanoi Office: 1st Floor, The Manor Towers, My Dinh, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Ha Noi.
Tel: 84.4.3785 5588 – Fax: 84.4.3785 5599
Email: bitexcohn@bitexco.com.vn

– Hochiminh City Office: 19th Floor, Bitexco Office Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Tel: 84.8.38211 033 – Fax: 84.8.38211 005
Email: bitexcohcm@bitexco.com.vn

– Thai Binh Office: 102 Quang Trung, Thai Binh Province.
Tel: 84.36.831 674 – Fax: 84.36.834 010

Las Vegas Sands plans to build $2 billion resort in Hochiminh city

8 Dec
VNRE – On the afternoon of 12/7/2011, at a meeting with Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City’s Party Committee Le Thanh Hai, Chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelson, said the group plans to invest in building a resort complex in the city, with total investment up to over 2 billion USD.
The projectwill have similar scale and nature to Marina Bay Sands resort of Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Singapore, including the hotels, restaurants, exhibitions, conferences, shopping center, spa, sports, theaters, museums and a variety of entertainment, recreation.
Mr. Adelson said that Vietnam has great potential to build resort complex, not only to attract tourists but also to help Vietnam becomes a destination for conferences, trade fairs, international exhibitions.
The project was designed preliminary with two sail-shaped buildings on the foundation of a lotus flower.
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest economic center of Vietnam, in which service sector accounted for the largest proportion in the city’s economic structure, and is also the  trade gateway of Vietnam with international, especially with Southeast Asia countries.

Hanoi in the sunset

7 Dec
VNRE These days Hanoi is entering winter, cold and dry air. Sunlight is more colorful. From above looking down, the city is like a vibrant picture:

Photo courtesy of Nhat Minh | Zing

Serviced apartments still hold potential: expert

6 Dec
VNRE – Vietnam’s serviced apartment segment still holds great potential, even when compared to other housing segments, a recent conference on the subject heard.

In the face of the entire real estate industry’s recession due to macroeconomic difficulties, the segment is facing many challenges, said Marc Townsend, managing director of CBRE Vietnam at the “Vietnam Serviced Apartment Investment Conference 2011”.
“They include falling rents and fewer tenants due to the worsening economic situation, as well as stiff competition from individuals buying apartments for sublease,” he said.
However, the serviced apartment segment has a great chance to grow as the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) returns as the local economy recovers, the rapid urbanization process in major cities continues, the growth of Vietnamese manufacturing industries holds steady, and the number of international travelers to Vietnam continues to rise.
There are many other factors that could boost the future development of the segment, including the growth of investors’ appetite for operating assets and the lack of existing products.
There are only 3,595 existing serviced apartment units in Ho Chi Minh City, while the number of work permits for foreigners in the city last year jumped to 6,700, excluding ‘grey’ expats, or those working without permits, Townsend added.
According to CBRE, HCMC still leads the country in the number of serviced apartments available with 3,595 units, followed by Hanoi with 2,300 units, and Da Nang with only 146 units.
CBRE believes that the number of serviced apartments on offer is too low to meet the needs of the foreigners and the nearly 81,000 overseas Vietnamese who work in Vietnam.
In the future, the number of foreigners working in Vietnam will rise, leading to increased demand for serviced apartments, but the existing supply is too limited for this expected upturn in demand, as are the plans to develop this potential market.
Ben Thanh Luxury project, one of only two projects in the center of HCMC where apartment buyers will be granted permanent ownership, will be invested and transferred into high-end hotels for lease, a form of investment in serviced apartments, said Nguyen Cao Tri, Chairman of Ben Thanh Real Estate Investment Joint Stock Co.
The capital recovery period is six years if investment is shifted into serviced apartments, a temporary solution while the real estate market is frozen, he added.
Source: TTO