Downturn halts Foster's Vietnam tower

Downturn halts Foster's Vietnam tower

A Foster-designed tower in Vietnam has been put on hold, taking the architect's tally of mothballed schemes to three in just a month, Building has learned.

Developers behind the $120m (£78m) River Tower in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh said the project had been put on ice due to market conditions.

The office scheme – a collaboration between German developer FOM Real Estate and Israeli investor Igal Ahouvi in the city's District One area – was expected to be between 30 and 40 storeys high. Construction was due to start at the beginning of next year. UK consultants Gleeds and Buro Happold are also on the project team.

The news will be a blow to Foster + Partners, which has seen two other international projects fall victim to the credit crunch in recent weeks.

Work on the £600m Russia Tower in Moscow has reportedly been stopped more than a year after the first stone was laid, and plans for the tallest building in Ireland, Dublin's £162m U2 Tower, were shelved at the end of October.

Vietnam, which relies heavily on revenue from exports, has been hit hard by the global downturn. The government has warned that foreign direct investment could fall by as much as 50% next year, and economic growth is expected to fall to 6.5% this year and next, down from 8.5% in 2007.

The developers – operating through special-purpose vehicle Tarcon Company – were understood to be planning many more commercial and residential joint projects.

A spokesman for Igal Ahuvi added: “Our commitment to Vietnam remains the same and we still believe there are opportunities there, but with everything that's going on we have to evaluate things.”

FOM said: “It's the situation with the market, the situation with the vendor – the whole package.”

By Olivia Boyd/