The cluster will be built under a project jointly set up by the city Urban Railway Management Board and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
After the project is approved by the Government, city authorities will call for investment from private investors and proceed with procedures to obtain loans from Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund.
According to the project’s design, a central underground terminal for the metro lines will be located under the Ben Thanh market square, and the trade center will be under Le Loi Street in District 1.
Le Khac Huynh, deputy head of the standing office of the board, said two of the metro lines, No. 1 and No. 2, will be completed and put into operation in 2017.
The terminal will be built 40 meters underground for four metro systems and it will be surrounded by shops. The total area for these facilities is nearly 20,000 square meters.
Meanwhile, a trade center covering around 25,500 square meters will be located underground along Le Loi Street.
The trade center will serve the needs of shopping for passengers and part of the profit gained from the center will be used to make up for the investment cost of the metro routes, he explained.
The model that combines a metro system and a trade center has been applied successfully in many other countries around the world, Huynh said.
Of the total cost of $900 million, $479 million will be for the trade center, and the rest for the terminal.
Work on the project will greatly affect existing underground structures in the downtown area. Therefore, the relocation of these systems, including telecommunication, electricity and water infrastructure, will be carried out properly under instructions of the city People’s Committee, Huynh said.
Work on the No. 1 metro line, which will link the Ben Thanh market area to Suoi Tien in District 9, is scheduled to start on August 28, 2012 and be completed in 5 years, he said.
Besides the four metro lines under the proposed project, the city is planning to build three others in different areas, he added.