Thuan Kieu Plaza – Apartments & Shopping Mall
Thuan Kieu Plaza is located at 190 Hong Bang Street, Ward 12, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. The construction of this building was started in 1994 and finished in 1998, Thuan Kieu Plaza was the first apartment building in the city and housed the first shopping center in District 5 at that time. Thuan Kieu Plaza comprises of 3 old blocks with a height of 110 m, a total floor area of 100,000 m2 . The total area of apartments was 60,000 m2, shopping center covered an area of 20,000 m2, it provided a 10,000 m2 parking and a 10,000 m2 area for entertainment and sports.
Less and less customers and residents
This 33-story building was crowded with residents and people coming to the shopping mall. However, most people lived there have leave their apartments, no one go there to buy anything. The electric elevators are wet and dark, garbage is everywhere in the building.
One of reasons why people have left Thuan Kieu could be that apartment was designed in Hong Kong style. Investors would like to build Thuan Kieu Plaza for Hong Kong people who was thought to leave their country when Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. But most of them decided to stay because of good policies. In fact, locals don’t like Hong Kong-style apartments in Thuan Kieu Plaza which are small with low-ceiling. In addition, the corridors are dark and wet so that there is lack of air in the building. Residents felt uncomfortable and was usually sick when living there. In 2004 and 2009, there were 2 fires were reported on 3rd floor where many restaurants were located.
Most traders and shop owners lost their money in the shopping and entertainment centers. This may come from economic crisis. Shopping centers have grown in numbers in the city, management of Thuan Kieu Plaza was bad and the shopping center didn’t meet sellers and buyers expectation.
Thuan Kieu Plaza – the ghost building
There are more and more hearsay, rumors and stories about the building. It has been said there were ghosts in Thuan Kieu Plaza. A male shot his girlfriend, then killed himself at a restaurant in Thuan Kieu Plaza. This couple has been said to still be around and usually groan. Someone saw a Chinese lady wore cheongsam went around without touching the ground. Many owners have dreamed of fires and ghosts teasing them every night. They were stress and became sick all days.
People say that the building with 3 tall thin blocks looks like 3 big incense sticks which are used to burn and pray for peace, calm and richness. Other says that the building keep ghosts and demons in China Town so that they couldn’t go out to disturb human. There is another interesting story about Thuan Kieu Plaza which has been said to be similar to a ship with 3 tall chimneys. Government built a street across the building – Pham Ngoc Thanh Street which made “Thuan Kieu ship” wreck.
Less and less people come to Thuan Kieu to shop and eat, residents and traders have left the building and it has become the ghost building in the city where there aren’t enough houses and apartments for people to live in. Although investors and government have done so much to save the building, they didn’t success.
The Garden Mall
In 2015, An Dong Investment Group belonging to Van Thinh Phat Group bought Thuan Kieu Plaza from Kings Harmony International Ltd for VND 600 billion. The pink buildings were repainted green which represents the renewal and development, the facade and interior were rehabilitated. They have not announced the sale of apartments, the Garden Mall was inaugurated on 3rd November 2017.
The Garden Mall shopping center spreads over 3 floors, with the total floor area of 24,000 m2. It features dozens of luxury restaurants, cafes, supermarket, cosmetics, fashion and accessories stores, gym, game center. The Cholon cultural area include souvenir store, Cocochin food court serving Western and Asian foods, especially Chinese foods in Cholon style, Cho Lon Theater where to introduce Vietnamese traditional performing arts such as hát tuồng, hát bội, cải lương. This make The Garden Mall unique among various shopping malls in Saigon. The remarkable is the biggest Phuong Nam bookstore with an area of 2,000 m2 on the 1st floor.
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