After Losing the Election, Ori Feibush Is Out of the Development Game
Love him or hate him, Ori Feibush has been the best-known developer in South Philadelphia’s Point Breeze neighborhood in recent years.
But now he’s getting out the game.
Feibush, who lost last month’s race for the 2nd District City Council seat, said he is no longer going to develop new homes or commercial properties. He simply doesn’t have the money.
“There’s no ill will. There’s no personal frustration,” he said. “I live in Point Breeze and I love it. I just don’t have the resources I had before.”
Feibush spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to run for City Council. On May 19th, incumbent Councilman Kenyatta Johnson defeated him with more than 62 percent of the vote.
Feibush said he is planning to keep working as a real estate agent, and he doesn’t doubt for a second that developers will continue to build new homes in Point Breeze. He’s worried about the future of commercial property development in the neighborhood, though.
“Building commercial real estate in the area is a losing proposition,” he said.
Feibush said he has been subsidizing a handful of businesses on Point Breeze Avenue and South Street over the past few years. Without his support, he said they will have to close. He would not name them or provide any other details, other than to say there are fewer than 10 total.
“I don’t have the resources to open up businesses that are otherwise not successful on their own anymore,” he said.
Feibush said he never expected to be able to develop properties after the spring like he had before the election. In fact, he said during the campaign that he had “divested himself of all his properties” except for one.
“I knew I was not going to have capital after running for office to continue to subsidize small businesses, but my hope was that I would be able to effect political change and create an environment where small businesses could open and thrive,” he said. Now, “It’s the worst of both. I don’t have the capital to subsidize and the political climate hasn’t changed.”
Will he try to effect political change again and run for City Council in four years? Feibush said it’s unlikely.
“I’ll never say never,” he said, “but I don’t see a path.”