HCMC government scraps plans to have helicopter pad, tunnel

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Ho Chi Minh City's new government center will occupy the whole block between Pasteur, Ly Tu Trong, Dong Khoi and Le Thanh Ton Streets in District 1. Photo credit: Google Maps Ho Chi Minh City's new government center will occupy the whole block between Pasteur, Ly Tu Trong, Dong Khoi and Le Thanh Ton Streets in District 1. Photo credit: Google Maps

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Ho Chi Minh City's leaders have abandoned plans to add a helicopter pad and tunnel to the downtown administrative center, an official said.
Nguyen Thanh Toan, director of the city’s Department of Architecture and Planning, told news website VnExpress on Tuesday that the latest plan doesn't include the two items, which were first alluded to in August.
Toan didn't offer any further explanation for their omission.
The new building will occupy 18,088 square meters between Pasteur and Dong Khoi streets.
Its front and rear entrances will face out onto Le Thanh Ton and Ly Tu Trong, respectively.
An old apartment building at the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Thanh Ton was dismantled earlier this year to make way for the building.
The old French Colonial hotel that currently houses the city People’s Committee and the city legislature will be preserved and linked to the new center.
Though work has already began on the streets around the center, squeezing traffic on Le Thanh Ton, there still isn't a precise design for the building, nor has the precise estimate for the renovation been revealed.

Toan’s department will hold an open bid with 14 design consultants to choose the best ideas. 
Although the city capped the center's height at 30 meters, he said designers can design higher and the city will later determine its feasibility.
The building will provide a space for around 1,400 municipal administrators and house the offices of the Departments of Interior, Information and Communication, Industry and Trade, Transport, and Natural Resources and Environment.
The city's total number of government workers is expected to hit 1,700 in the near future.
Nguyen Trong Hoa, director of the HCMC Institute for Development Studies, told news website Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon (Saigon Times) in April that the plan is to open the ground floor to the public and cultural projects.
“The new administrative center aims to create more interaction between the city government and the people,” Hoa said.

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