The weekend of April 1 and 2 marked 2017’s first new residential project launch from Vietnam — RichLane Residences, Mapletree Investments’ maiden condominium project in Ho Chi Minh City. For the largely Singaporean audience, the most riveting fact during the 25-minute presentation by Marc Townsend, managing director of CBRE Vietnam, was that the starting price of US$95,000 ($132,825) for a studio in the highend condo is equivalent to the price of a new Honda Civic in Singapore.

The crowd at the Singapore launch of Mapletree Investments’ RichLane Residences in Ho Chi Minh City

The 243-unit RichLane Residences is a 29-storey condo tower that is slated for completion in 1Q2018. The architect and interior designer are Singapore-based CPG Consultants and Ong&Ong, respectively. Adjacent to RichLane Residences is an Oakwood-branded serviced apartment block. Incidentally, Mapletree purchased a 100% interest in Oakwood, a US-based serviced residences and corporate apartments provider in February this year.

Both the RichLane Residences condominum and Oakwood serviced apartment blocks are part of Mapletree’s Saigon South Place Complex, an integrated development on a 4.4ha site in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 that is modelled after Mapletree’s HarbourFront precinct in Singapore, which features office towers and one of the city state’s biggest shopping malls, VivoCity.

The first phase of Saigon South Place Complex is SC VivoCity, a five-storey shopping mall with close to 692,000 sq ft of gross floor area (GFA). The mall opened in April 2015 and is 94% leased currently, with many of the tenants being international brands. The development is a joint venture with Saigon Co.op.

Within the second phase of Saigon South Place Complex is Mapletree’s first office development in Vietnam, Mapletree Business Centre. Tenants in the 17-storey Grade-A office tower include Standard Chartered Bank, Vietnamese food manufacturer Uniben, textile company Far Eastern Polytex and IT services company SCC UK. There are plans for two more office towers at Saigon South Place Complex.

Integrated development Mapletree Business City (left), SC VivoCity (centre) and the upcoming RichLane Residences and Oakwood serviced apartments

‘Most attractive market in Asean’

The launch of RichLane Residences comes on the back of Mapletree Business Centre’s official opening on March 22. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung were guests of honour.

Prime Minister Lee was in Vietnam on a fourday official visit from March 20. “Singapore is Vietnam’s top foreign investor so far this year, and we hope to have more investment projects in Vietnam,” he said. On March 23, six agreements were inked to expand cooperation between the two countries.