Starbucks, New World Saigon Hotel latest offenders in ongoing ‘sidewalk clearing’ battle
Updated: 03/24/2017 18:30 GMT + 7
A five-star hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City and its next-door Starbucks outlet had their concrete steps and flower boxes destroyed for blocking the pavement in Wednesday’s latest ‘sidewalk reclamation’ crackdown.
District 1 deputy chairman Doan Ngoc Hai, leader of the campaign, led his team to New World Saigon Hotel, a five-star hotel fronting three streets just 500m away from Ben Thanh Market, to check whether or not the 11-step stairway in front of the venue had been removed as previously requested.
The team had demanded on Tuesday that New World Saigon Hotel demolish the structure and clear the walkway for pedestrians.
When Hai’s team arrived, the steps had not been completely removed and the demolition team was ordered to do the job, with the hotel footing the bill.
A representative for the New World Saigon Hotel arrived on site and pledged that the hotel would do the removal work on its own, warning that the oil tank located beneath the concrete steps could endanger those involved in the removal process.
The plea fell on deaf ears, with Hai insisting the steps be immediately removed and agreeing that his team would only clear the surface part of the structure.
A deadline was given for the hotel to handle the underground part of the project.
New Work Saigon Hotel, facing Nguyen Thi Nghia, Le Lai and Pham Hong Thai Streets, is one of the most highly-regarded luxury hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
The establishment is known for having accommodated three U.S. presidents – George W. H. Bush in 1995, Bill Clinton in 2000, and George W. Bush in 2006.
Next door, the ‘sidewalk clearing’ team found that the concrete flower boxes in front of a Starbucks store were built beyond the hotel’s zoned space and had to be removed.
Located on Le Lai Street, the offending outlet was the first Starbucks location in Vietnam when it opened in 2013.
As part of Wednesday’s crackdown, Hai's team also removed several steps blocking the sidewalk in front of the Ho Chi Minh City Play Theater on Tran Hung Dao Street and ticketed a few illegally parked cars on Hai Trieu Street.
One of the cars was ready to be towed when the owner showed up. Hai agreed to let the owner take the car only after issuing a ticket.