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Vietnam pulls plug on resort part of project that threatens Nha Trang ecosystem

The administration of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa has suspended a multibillion-dollar resort project on a Nha Trang beach, dealing a blow to the provincial chairman’s utopian dream of making the resort city more beautiful than the U.S. island of Hawaii.

The administration of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa has suspended a multibillion-dollar resort project on a Nha Trang beach, dealing a blow to the provincial chairman’s utopian dream of making the resort city more beautiful than the U.S. island of Hawaii.
The administration of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa has suspended a multibillion-dollar resort project on a Nha Trang beach, dealing a blow to the provincial chairman’s utopian dream of making the resort city more beautiful than the U.S. island of Hawaii.

India’s Dewan International Vietnam will no longer be allowed to implement the part covering more than 74 hectares along the Nha Trang beach of its Phoenix Beach project, Pham Van Chi, former head of the province’s Committee Party, said after a meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by many former leaders of Khanh Hoa, who discussed how the project would be treated following public protests that it would destroy the ecosystem of the famed beach city.

The Indian firm was licensed in October 2014 to carry out the project, consisting of many resort facilities and skyscrapers on the Nha Trang beach and on a land plot running south to Tran Phu Bridge.

The project is also expected to cover part of the surface of Nha Trang Bay, a national attraction that is supposed to be kept intact.

After the Tuesday meeting, Khanh Hoa’s leaders “decided to only allow Dewan International Vietnam to carry out the project near the Tran Phu Bridge,” Chi said.

No high-rises will be allowed to be built on the beach, where facilities serving the community will be constructed instead, he added.


An artist’s impression of part of the Phoenix Beach project to be built on Nha Trang beach.

The Phoenix Beach project is worth VND26.25 trillion (US$1.25 billion), according to its investment license. But Dewan International Vietnam said on its website the total investment is as high as $2.63 billion.

The project, scheduled for completion in 2020, is included in an approved zoning for development east of Tran Phu – Pham Van Dong, two main streets in the resort city known for its beautiful beaches.

Dewan International Vietnam had erected signs claiming its ‘sovereignty’ over the beach area earmarked for its Phoenix Beach project, but had to remove all of them late last week following an order from the province’s administration.

Khanh Hoa Chairman Nguyen Chien Thang said last week the Phoenix Beach project, as well as the scores of skyscrapers constructed on several streets in Nha Trang in recent years, will enable the beach city to “become even more beautiful than Hawaii.”

He said Nha Trang is “a municipality, not an ecotourism area,” and thus needs to be developed in a different way from what “a shortsighted minority” wants it to be.


An artist’s impression of part of the Phoenix Beach project to be built  near Tran Phu Bridge in Nha Trang.

However, Thang may also pull the plug on Phoenix Beach if Dewan International Vietnam fails to accumulate enough capital for the project as registered on time, according to a source close to VnExpress  newspaper.

Thang has notified the company of the request via a dispatch, the source said, citing the administration’s office.

According to its investment license, Dewan International Vietnam has a registered capital of VND2.1 billion ($100 million) and is required to find that sum by June 30, otherwise it will face a license revocation.

“Dewan International Vietnam has yet to complete the capital contribution in accordance with the required progress,” Vo Tan Thai, director of the investment department, told VnExpress.