VietNamNet Bridge – Many old apartments in HCM City, half of which were built before the American War, are in disrepair and in urgent need of renovation or replacement.
Local authorities, however, have faced serious challenges finding investors to pour money into building renovations.
More than 1,020 apartment buildings exist in HCM City, 570 of which were built before 1975, the year marking the liberation of the city from the US-backed administration.
In addition, nearly 170 housing compounds are seriously degraded and still in use, and considered dangerous for people to live in.
Districts 5 and 10 have the highest number of old apartment buildings, most of which are located in populous areas.
In District 5, 240 apartment buildings were built before 1975, some of which have served as residences for up to 60 years, while in District 10 more than 10 apartment blocks are in serious disrepair.
Some of them were initially designed to be hotels and have been adapted or extended for other uses.
Last year, the city upgraded and rebuilt 62 apartment buildings, 25 of which were newly built. But those met only a small part of what was needed.
People living in old buildings want a safer and more comfortable place to reside, but the city's plan to upgrade the apartments has been proceeding slowly, mostly because of lack of financial support.
Rebuilding plans remain on paper at city departments without the involvement of district-level authorities, according to the HCM City Construction Department.
Plans on construction and the resettling of residents to temporary places have been carried out slowly because the role of local authorities has not been upheld.
This has also resulted in a lack of detailed planning information which investors need before making final decisions about projects.
Investors have also been reluctant to fund projects because of several factors, including small land or building spaces that cannot be expanded for other services or use.
With the ongoing development of the city, old apartment buildings have been surrounded by new ones that have displaced land necessary for the rebuilding of old apartment buildings.
The city's Construction Department said that investors did not see much benefit in pouring money into such projects.
District 10 authorities said they had been promoting investment in these projects and had sought financial support from different sources.
But the district faces challenges as a large number of residents must resettle in the same place but the number of new apartments would not be sufficient to house them.
Most of the old apartments are overloaded because residents have built extensions to add more rooms, a factor that has also driven investors away.
To speed up repair of old buildings, the district has asked the city People's Committee to create specific measures that would attract investors to renovate the most seriously dilapidated buildings.
These new measures could offer favourable incentives to investors, who would then be more likely to view the projects as feasible.
In addition, District 5 has asked city leaders to allow contractors to borrow money from the Housing Development Fund to compensate and help residents resettle in housing projects that would not be highly profitable.
The HCM City Construction Department has also asked the city administration to grant it the authority to compile data and a list of available public areas that could be used for resettlement.
Another solution would be to take back public areas used for improper purposes and use them to accommodate displaced residents.
Despite these proposals, the policies on compensating and resettling displaced residents have some shortcomings, which has added to the delay of project implementation.
To further progress, the city's Construction Department has asked the People's Committee to submit a proposal to the Government to amend Resolution 34 on measures to attract investment from a wide variety of sources to upgrade and rebuild old apartments.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News