Most retailers occupying the 3rd to 6th floors of the 68-story Bitexco Financial Tower in HCMC have moved out in recent times, unable to afford the enormous rents.
When VnExpress visited the building on Feb 24 the ground floor remained as vibrant as ever with cafes and cosmetics stores bustling with customers and people visiting the offices above.
But from the first floor upward the place was virtually deserted. The few visitors on the second floor were at a hot pot restaurant and a cafe.
The third to sixth floors, which used to be a crowded dining and amusement area, are closed off now with elevators and escalators no longer stopping there.
Thu Thao, who works in an office near Bitexco, said with eateries leaving the tower since last year she and her colleagues no longer go there for lunch.
“What a pity that the cinema on the third floor, which I had been going to since I was a student 10 years ago, also closed in April 2022!”
The average rent at Bitexco is around US$80 per square meter, or 15-20% higher than at other buildings and malls in similar prime locations, which are also proving to be more flexible about rents amid the difficult economic situation.
The former food court on the fourth floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower was deserted on February 24, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Dong
A manager of Bitexco Group, which owns the building, said this quarter all the retail space would be taken back for upgrades to offer “special experiences” to customers.
The Saigon Skydeck observation facility would also be renovated to improve visitors’ experiences, he said.
Some of the upgraded sections would be put back into use in the second quarter, he added.
Built in 2010, Bitexco Financial Tower houses numerous finance, insurance, law, auditing, media, electronics, fashion, cosmetics, and cuisine companies.
A symbol of the city’s development, when built, at 262.5 meters, it was the tallest building in Vietnam and kept this status until January 2011 when Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower surpassed it.
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