Saigon Tax Center throughout history

Thanh Nien News

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The Saigon Tax Trade Center, scheduled to close by late September, was first built in 1880.

The following photos show the evolution of the center throughout its 130-year run in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

 What we now know as the Tax Center was built in 1880 by the French, who named it Les Grands Magazins Charner (GMC). FILE PHOTO

The building went up in the center of District 1--the heart of Saigon. FILE PHOTO

GMC traded luxury goods imported from England and France that catered to the urban rich and wealthy landlords from throughout the south. FILE PHOTO

The building, along with other French-colonial constructions like Ben Thanh Market, the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, the Central Post Office, the Saigon Opera House, helped win the city its reputation as the “Pearl of The Far East". FILE PHOTO

GMC’s owner decided to add an extra level to the top of the building. The neon sign that topped the building could be spotted from afar. FILE PHOTO

In the 1960s, GMS was renamed the Tax Trade Center. The center was split into a series of small stalls rented by various salesmen. FILE PHOTO

The intersection remained a bustling place throughout the war. FILE PHOTO

Many well-known brands entered the country at the time. FILE PHOTO

After 1975, the Tax mall was handed over to the city People’s Committee, the municipal administration. The center temporarily ceased to be a shopping center and instead became used as showroom for industrial machinery. In 1981, the People’s Committee intended to change the center into a “municipal shop of miscellaneous goods.” The shop, managed by the city’s trade department, became the largest commercial space in the country. FILE PHOTO

 On January 19, 1998, the “Tax Trade Center” sign returned to the top of the building, marking the reappearance of a name familiar to old Saigoneers. FILE PHOTO

The Tax Trade Center received a major makeover that culminated in a grand reopening ceremony on April 26, 2003. FILE PHOTO

After occupying one of the most beautiful locations in the city for most of its history, the Tax mall will be torn down by late September to make way for the construction of a new skyscraper. Tran Thuy Lien, the center’s director, said that the five-story trade center in downtown Ho Chi Minh City will be replaced by a 40-story building on the same site.

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