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International architect sees third project put on hold

The £78 million Foster-designed River Tower in Vietnam has been put on ice because of market conditions. Developers behind the tower in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh said construction had been due to start at the beginning of next year.

But the office scheme, a collaboration between German developer FOM Real Estate and Israeli investor Igal Ahouvi in the city's District One area, will not now go ahead with no date being given for a start.

It is the third blow for Foster and 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 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, have also been shelved.

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 are also reviewing other projects because of the global economic downturn including commercial and residential projects. '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,' said a spokesman for Igal Ahuvi.

But a spokesman for FOM hinted at further problems. 'It's the situation with the market, the situation with the vendor, the whole package is not working,' he said.

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