Point Breeze Real Estate Dispute Is Bigger Than Vacant Lot

Ori Feibush—the developer that made headlines for cleaning up a lot in Point Breeze against the wishes of the City of Philadelphia—has larger concerns about the neighborhood as its property values increase rapidly and the city looks to condemn other lots.

Feibush said he was surprised to learn in April that several lots he owned, including several he had ironically just acquired from the PRA itself, were on a list of those threatened by eminent domain. While his lots have since been taken off the condemnation list, Feibush says he is representing other owners whose land is threatened with PRA seizure.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office issued a statement on the topic and his chief of staff explained that they’re looking out for the residents of Point Breeze. They say that Mayor Nutter’s AVI will have a profound affect on the neighborhood because of the rapid development.

“We have a number of neighbors, older neighbors, who say ‘Oh my god, they’re moving me out. They’re building a $300,000 house down the street from me, and and I can’t afford the taxes with AVI’ and things of this nature,” said Sample, referring to the city’s not-yet-implemented Actual Value Initiative, a property reevaluation program that is expected to increase taxes in developing neighborhoods. Sample said he envisions the “renewal zone” including 40/60 split between affordable and market-rate housing with the affordable units selling in $150,000 range and the other 60 percent selling at higher price points.

Feibush, though, is insistent that  the City stop condemning properties in the area for the purpose of the affordable housing contract. He says that, although he and other developers may be painted as greedy, the folks behind the affordable housing initiative stand to make a higher profit margin.

Feibush and other private property owners in the area are currently lobbying the full City Council to halt the condemnation process, although he says there has been no progress since the April board meeting.

“We will stop this condemnation,” he said. [New American City]