Hoa Binh Plaza is the first Southeast Asian plaza in the Tri-State area. For over 30 years, customers have come to the plaza to get Vietnamese banh mi, restaurant supplies, fresh vegetables, and imported CDs and movies. Hoa Binh has been a community space and economic lifeline for new immigrants and working-class people in the neighborhood.
Streamline, a luxury developer, is planning to tear down this historic plaza to build condos. Over 50 people will lose their jobs if these 10 long term local businesses shut down. Nam Son Bakery, a beloved and acclaimed banh mi shop and Vietnamese bakery, has already been forced to close. For years, wealthy investors have been targeting Hoa Binh businesses with false health violations in order to tear down the plaza. 1
We’re building power by fundraising to make sure this doesn’t happen to any more small business owners at Hoa Binh Plaza.These businesses can’t afford to wait any longer. It’s time to take the fight to Streamline. We need to raise $3,000 by November 27 to hire a lawyer to represent Hoa Binh small business owners.
This money will:
- Hire a lawyer to defend these refugee-owned businesses and represent them before Streamline and the ZBA
- Allow business owners to focus on keeping their stores open
There was a huge show of community support at the July 24th meeting. Streamline requested a continuance to delay their request for changing the commercial zoning. The Zoning Board (ZBA) approved the continuance and, owing to the volume of attendees, promised a date that would be devoted solely to this project. Streamline is supposed to meet with Hoa Binh business owners and the community to negotiate a new plan, but it’s been months we’ve only just heard back from them last Friday (Nov 6th). We need the funds so the business owners can be properly represented when meeting with Streamline, and make sure this is just not another delay tactic from them as we kick this process into high gear. The ZBA is supposed to call another meeting to make a final decision once this happens.
Thomas Sinnison, Nam Son’s owner, worked 14 hours a day and never earned much after paying rent and utilities. He said, “for all my customers, I’m very thankful for the six, seven years they stayed with us. They loved what I’m doing. Because my customers loved the hoagie, and I loved what I’m doing, that’s why I still stayed there.”
Steamline’s plan is to destroy Hoa Binh Plaza to build single-family homes and 22 luxury condos. Fewer than 5 of the condos provide an affordability component at $240,000. 2
In a city where the median income is $39,000 for a family of four, we ask: affordable for who? Luxury developers like Streamline are pushing out long-term residents and small businesses who have made South Philly the diverse, economic hub it is today.
If you’ve shopped at Hoa Binh, eaten at one of its restaurants, and understand the value of places like Hoa Binh for our people, please donate. We’re raising $3,000 so these small businesses get the legal defense they need to stay in the community.
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