Ori Feibush builds building. Point Breeze resident gets upset. Ori Feibush launches counterattack. If you’ve followed Ori’s career at all, none of this should be surprising. But this latest episode has brought the legal guns out, and has become a little more intense than usual. Or as Liz Spikol puts it over at Property: Spicy.
Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush is at odds with fellow resident Haley Dervinis over Feibush’s plan to build four homes on 20th Street, where Dervinis’ home is. He says she’s made defamatory comments about him on public forums. [E.g. "Shady, "Crass," "Cut throat."] She says she’s just exercising free speech.
So his lawyer’s threatening to sue her if she makes just one more during a public hearing taking place this very moment. For more on exactly what’s going there, follow the Daily News‘s Jan Ransom who’s live-tweeting the ZBA meeting where the fate of the project will be decided.
Full house at ZBA hearing. Lawyer calls for show of hands in support & against. More against Ori Feibush project.
Final point of irony: One of the biggest complaints Point Breezers make about Ori is that he’s a Center City carpetbagger trying to push them out of their neighborhoods. The project many are opposing today? (Including powerful neighborhood association South Philly H.O.M.E.S., which used to support it?) That’s where Ori’s trying to build a home for himself. [Property]
Yesterday, a 52-year-old construction worker who fell 30 feet from the steel frame of a building he was working on at 19th and Arch was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital, where’s he’s in critical condition. Meanwhile, at the same site, a fireman suffered a seizure that resulted in head injuries. He’s also at Hahnemann, in stable condition. It’s unclear whether the two incidents are connected. It’s also not clear if there’s anything more to this incident than a couple of freak accidents. But after the Market Street collapse a couple of weeks ago, an extra level of scrutiny will no doubt be paid to the construction site. [Daily News]
Somewhere between turning South Columbus Boulevard into an extension of South Jersey and turning Northern Liberties into a newer Old City, developer Bart Blatstein figured out that he wasn’t the brand name.
In doing so, he has managed to pull off a trick few high-profile megadevelopers have successfully managed to do: Raise his personal profile without sabotaging his own business.
Most large successful developers are faceless. Can you name any of the members of the Brandywine Realty Trust? (They might include you, if you own shares either directly or through a mutual fund.) The few whose names have become household words eventually succumb to their own publicity machines and, like Donald Trump, become caricatures of themselves. Read more »
“This has been a helluva week for Philly’s animal population. A turkey in West Philly. A celebrity dog with a cleft palate. Rats in Rittenhouse. And now a giant Johnny Doc-backed rat on wheels, fashioned out of a mini-van for $14,000. The Post Brothers’ Mike Pestronk, a likely target of Rat 2.0, told the Daily News he wasn’t too concerned. ”We are used to being threatened with physical violence by guys standing in front of our homes. A new minivan doesn’t sound like it will be a big deal.” [Daily News]
This is a big spring for the Zoo—your new parking garage and new children’s zoo and education center, KidsZooU, both open this month. What can we expect at the kids’ zoo?
It’s going to be phenomenal in so many different ways. It will include things that people will find familiar, but it will also have new ways in which they can experience things—seeing heritage-breed animals, or learning about sustainability, or understanding that their actions have an impact on our wildlife. Read more »
For the seventh time in the past month-and-a-half, (seventh time) a 27-story high-rise dormitory Morgan Hall has caught on fire. All seven fires have been smallish, and all appear to be arsons. The latest, which was set in a trash can, occurred at the garage level. All the others were set higher up, above the 10th floor. (Rival arsonists?) Luckily for the students, there are no students yet, as the $216 million building is currently under construction.
“It’s another annoying fire that we believe the same individual or individuals are doing,” Woltemate said. “When they do get caught, they’re going to be charged and arrested, probably at the federal level.”
Indeed, the feds are serious, and have teamed up with the dorm’s construction firm to offer a $15,000 reward to anyone who identifies the arsons. [The Temple News]
One of Philadelphia’s most watched civic dramas could be coming to a close and escalating, all at once. Developers Matt and Mike Pestronk are opening the Goldtex apartment building on Wood Street on May 1st, and they will begin taking leasing applications on Friday. Read more »
Profiting off our property tax increases?! Outrageous! Oh wait, that’s what we want. When the Nutter administration decided that his AVI plan would be revenue neutral, (executed instead in the name of property tax fairness), many likely had this thought: “You’re raising property taxes on 60% of the population and not brining in any new money? What’s the point?” Well, according to real estate experts, it seems that based on market forces, the city will indeed make some money from AVI, beginning in 2015. (Next year’s assessments won’t affect revenue.)
Kevin Gillen, a real-estate expert who worked as a consultant for the city on AVI, said the real-estate market usually grows one or two percentage points faster than overall inflation…”Revenue will rise because [the city's] property-tax base is growing and not because its property-tax rate is growing,” he said.
In other words, as long as the city doesn’t dip its tax rate, suffer through another housing crash, or drastically rejigger its assessments again (it plans on re-assessing properties each year, though its unclear how that’ll affect tax bills), AVI should help pad the city’s bank account. And from there, perhaps, better fund the broke school district, which relies on property taxes. [Daily News]
Ed Covington, who’s headed the city’s Redevelopment Authority (RDA) since 2010, is reportedly out at City Hall. It’s unclear if he stepped down, was fired, or what. You may recall Covington as the man who sparred against Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush during last fall’s “lotgate” hubbub. (Feibush cleaned up a city-owned lot, Covington threatened to sue.) For his role in the affair, Covington was targeted by both benign do-gooder petitions and savvy hacktivists. [Daily News]