Japanese companies are keen to develop commercial facilities at the Ben Thanh underground station of Metro Line No. 1 under construction in HCMC.

Katsuro Nagai of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam told a meeting with HCMC chairman Le Hoang Quan on March 5 that the city government is expected to support Japanese firms to invest in the commercial facilities at the central station near Ben Thanh Market in the center of the city.

Nagai said Japanese enterprises have experience in developing underground commercial facilities.

Metro Line No. 1 stretches 19.7 kilometers from Ben Thanh Market to Suoi Tien Park in District 9, consisting of 2.6 kilometers of underground track and 17.1 kilometers of overland and elevated track. As scheduled, the line will be completed in 2019 and put into operation in 2020.

As designed, the Ben Thanh station covers about 18,000 square meters under Le Loi Boulevard.

According to Nagai, the underground commercial properties need to be developed alongside with the line to bring better economic results and minimize the impact of construction on the environment.

Nagai said Japan’s Tokyu wanted to cooperate with Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation (Samco) to develop facilities around the Suoi Tien station of the line.

Quan said the city is trying to complete the first line as scheduled, and that the city will give priorities to Japanese companies when it comes to development of commercial facilities at metro stations.

Metro Line No. 1 has three underground stations and 11 overland stations. The project had an initial investment of US$1.09 billion funded by the official development assistance (ODA) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the State budget.  However, the cost has been revised up to US$2.07 billion due to adjustments of some components and exchange rate changes.