Ori Feibush Offers $90K for Arson Info, Bringing Reward Money to a Whopping $100K

Developer Ori Feibush is offering a $90,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist or arsonists who police say ignited the fire that destroyed several of his Point Breeze properties earlier this month.

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Police Department’s Arson and Explosives Task Force released footage of a “person of interest” in its investigation of the fire, a two-alarm blaze at 1310 South 20th Street, which required 75 firefighters to bring it under control. Police say the fire was started around 4:15 a.m. on May 1st.  Read more »

Police Release Image of “Person of Interest” in Feibush Arson

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Police Department.

With hope that the public may be able to assist in their ongoing investigation, police have released a grainy surveillance image of an unidentified man considered a person of interest in the May 1st arson in Point Breeze that gutted four partially built townhomes owned by developer Ori Feibush.

At approximately 4:15 a.m., officers from the 17th District responded to reports of a fire at 1308 South 20th Street, which had spread to 1316 South 20th Street by the time police arrived to the scene. Read more »

Fire at Feibush-Owned Point Breeze Property Ruled Arson

Photo | Sandy Smith

Photo | Sandy Smith

On Monday, four Point Breeze townhouses owned by developer Ori Feibush burned to the ground – and now officials say the cause of the fire was arson.

The two-alarm fire at 1310 South 20th Street started at 4:15 a.m. on Monday, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ Philadelphia division. It reportedly took 75 firefighters about an hour to bring the flames under control. Read more »

Burg’s Hideaway Lounge Opens in Point Breeze

Burg's Hideaway Lounge | Photo by Arthur Etchells

Burg’s Hideaway Lounge | Photo by Arthur Etchells

Last night we cruised by Burg’s Hideaway Lounge at 21st and Federal to see what the progress looked like. And low and behold, the former Buckminster’s was open. It was a very soft opening with no food and just draft beer available for sampling. But Ori Feibush’s redo of Burg’s was welcoming neighbors to check out the place. Gone are the white and teal walls of Buckminster’s, replaced with browns and wood. A mishmash of bar stools now line the bar. Tables in the front have been replaced by a wraparound communal table that can seat at least ten.

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Philly Developers ‘Terrified,’ ‘Intrigued’ to Have One of Their Own As President

AP Photo/John Minchillo URN:23754236

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Real estate developers tend to have a funny relationship to politics. On the one hand, they often flood local elections with campaign donations and relentlessly lobby for policies that will make their work easier and more profitable. On the other hand, they need friends in government in order to make deals and get important approvals, so their public political statements are usually diplomatic, calculated to achieve a certain result without offending anyone powerful.

President-elect Donald Trump, who started his career as a real estate developer, fits that mold in some ways and smashes it in others. While his pronouncements are calculated for advantage, they are also routinely offensive, though more often to the powerless than the powerful. And in some respects—his bombast, his ego, his unembarrassed pursuit of profit and tacky opulence—he provides the world with a cartoon picture of the stereotypical real estate man.

I was curious how some of Philadelphia’s more prominent developers felt about having one of their own in the White House, so I asked a few. Philadelphia is, of course, a Democratic Party town, and for the most part, these developers’ comments echoed the sort of restrained, cautious acceptance we’ve seen from prominent Democratic officials in the wake of the election. But in many instances, I detected an undercurrent of despair.

“The public perception of real estate developers, as a result of Trump’s ascension to the Presidency, has already changed,” said Ken Weinstein, a Germantown developer and owner of the Trolley Car Diner. “More than a few people, upon learning that I am a developer, have already asked if I pay taxes, if I stiff my subcontractors and how many times I have filed for bankruptcy (yes, no and zero).  Most developers are ethical business people so using Trump as an example of a typical real estate developer is not accurate.”

“I think he has developed many abysmal projects with little thought given to the value of community impact or design,” said Lindsey Scannapieco, who owns the former Bok Technical High School, one of the biggest buildings in South Philadelphia, which not been free of controversy. “However, I hope that his push on infrastructure investment provides momentum for thoughtful and important re-investments that create a more equitable landscape across the country.” Read more »

Ori Feibush: The DNC Has Been Great for Small Businesses

Ori Feibush | Photo via OCF Realty

Ori Feibush | Photo via OCF Realty

Everyone’s favorite real estate developer Ori Feibush took to Facebook Wednesday morning to pat the city on back.

After two days of Democratic National Convention fanfare, business has apparently been good for Feibush’s five OCF Coffee Houses sprinkled across select city neighborhoods. Read more »

Point Breeze Among Best “Bad” Neighborhoods for Home Buyers

Image via Google Maps

Today’s run-down block, tomorrow’s golden opportunity. | Image via Google Maps

The good news: Ori Feibush is right. The bad news: Ori Feibush is right.

If a newly-released RealtyTrac analysis of property sales data in marginal neighborhoods across the country is any guide, we can expect continued fireworks in Point Breeze for years to come.

That’s because according to RealtyTrac, zip code 19146 is one of the “35 Best Down-and-Out Neighborhoods to Buy a Home.”

Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac analyzed data on 3,561 urban ZIP codes in the United States to come up with its list of 35 “Rough-and-Tumble Neighborhoods on the Rebound.” Read more »

Sorry, But the Johnson-Feibush Verdict Won’t End Councilmanic Prerogative

City Council Entrance

The verdict in the federal civil lawsuit between Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush and 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson was remarkable for a couple reasons.

Think about it on the most basic level: A federal jury determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a sitting Councilman was guilty of the kind of petty abuse of power that everyone suspects, but can never prove, that Philadelphia politicians are involved in all the time. In the jury’s view, Johnson had blocked the sale of two city-owned lots to a developer because that developer was a political opponent. Johnson maintains that politics had nothing to do with it, but the jury rejected that. They saw it as cheap retaliation under the color of the law.

On another level, it was remarkable to hear judges, jurors and city attorneys talk openly in court about Councilmanic prerogative, an unwritten tradition that lets Council members control development in their districts. The tradition occupies a shadowy sort of space in the mythos of local politics. How real is it, reporters and political observers sometimes wonder? How powerful? How ripe for abuse? And then right there in court, lawyers for the city government flatly stipulated that Councilmanic prerogative is so solid a custom that it might as well be written policy.

But even though the jury ruled that prerogative was the moving force that led to the retribution against Feibush, the verdict won’t end the tradition. It’s unlikely even to slow it down. Here’s why: Read more »

The Ori Feibush V. Kenyatta Johnson Verdict Is In: Feibush Won

Kenyatta Johnson. Photo | Jeff Fusco. Ori Feibush. Photo | Creative Commons SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39111166

Kenyatta Johnson. Photo | Jeff Fusco. Ori Feibush. Photo | Creative Commons SA 2.5

A jury determined on Wednesday that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson blocked the sale of two vacant lots in Point Breeze to developer Ori Feibush in an act of political retaliation.

The jury found in favor of Feibush, who filed suit against Johnson in the summer of 2014 in the midst of a campaign to take Johnson’s City Council seat. It awarded Feibush compensatory damages of $34,000. Feibush had sought damages of $275,000.

Read more »

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