The battle over Hoa Binh Plaza — Philadelphia’s first Vietnamese plaza — continues.
Dozens of people packed a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on Wednesday to protest the demolition of the plaza, on Washington Avenue between 16th and Chadwick Streets. There were so many that most had to wait in the lobby.
The board hears appeals regarding land use in the city.
After seeing the outpouring of community support, acting Chairman Confesor Plaza asked for a special hearing on the plaza plans to be scheduled at a later date. The delay also would give the developers and business owners time to negotiate.
Residential developer Streamline of Philadelphia has proposed to tear down the center and redevelop the property with about 40 units of townhouses and condominiums. The company’s attorney said at the hearing that it amended its plans on July 8.
“To my understanding, a lot of people are talking about how the landlord sold the property without telling the tenants,” said Mike Stillwell, Streamline CEO. “That’s not what we’re involved with. We’re real estate developers. That side of Carpenter is pretty much all residential, so that’s what we’d like to do.”
Hoa Binh Plaza was built in 1990 and is said to be the first shopping area for Asians outside of Chinatown. As of this morning, nearly 12,000 people had signed a petition online to save the plaza. Last week, the Planning Commission took a public stand on the issue when it voted to oppose the variance.