The Sense Market under the 23/9 Park in HCM City is going to be shut down as the authorities plan to reorganise the park.
Even though the market was only opened in March last year, the one-hectare site could face problems. The decision was issued by the HCM City People’s Committee. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment was asked to stop extending contracts and all traders must move out by April 30, 2019.
The market has nearly 100 restaurants which offer cuisines from many countries including Vietnam, Laos, Japan, India and Cambodia. There are also more than 400 clothes and footwear stores. The market receives about 5,000 visitors per day.
Many traders have spent hundreds of millions of VND into their stores and haven’t been able to recoup the money yet. Traders, whose contracts expired, already moved out while others are worried about their fate.
Pham Tuyet Nga, a clothes shop owner, said she had poured in VND1bn (USD42,000) and would be in debts if the market was shut down. She hopes the authorities will extend the deadline until the traders recover their money.
Nguyen Binh Phuong, director of Cuu Long Company, the market’s investor, said, “This area was dirty and abandoned. When we were approved by the authorities, we spent VND200bn (USD8.5m) to upgrade and turn this area into a unique destination for both locals and tourists. It also provides jobs for 500 traders who used to work on pavements.”
Nguyen Thi Tranh, director of Saigon Co.op Investment Development JSC, the market’s operator, said the decision was regrettable since this was Vietnam’s first underground market.
They suggested developing underground businesses and services to ensure the green space above.