City

Feibush Regroups After Point Breeze Arson Fire

There's still no clue as to who set the blaze that destroyed four homes under construction and damaged three others, but the developer is already rebuilding the four and adding seven more at 20th and Wharton streets.

These homes destroyed in a May arson fire in Point Breeze have been cleared to their foundations and are being rebuilt. Developer Ori Feibush is building seven more like them as well – and they will cost more than they did before the fire. Photo | Sandy Smith

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) still has a $102,500 award sitting on the table for anyone who can lead them to the person or persons who torched a row of new townhouses being built by Realtor-developer Ori Feibush in Point Breeze in May.

So far, no leads have come forth, and ATF is still conducting its own investigation. But Feibush himself has cleared away the debris and is building anew.

Billy Penn reported Tuesday (July 25th) that Feibush is at work on 11 homes at the 20th and Wharton arson site, including the reconstruction of the four destroyed ones. Settlements were reached with the buyers of the three homes that were damaged.

Tensions have been running high over gentrification in Point Breeze for several years now, and Feibush has served as the lightning rod for much of the criticism. But Feibush told Billy Penn that the blaze sent a shock wave through the neighborhood.

“I think everyone across the board from every walk of life was upset this happened,” he said. “Politics aside, nobody wants to see a fire in their community.”

Feibush also said that the arsonists did not come from the ranks of the local anti-development forces. And he went on to note that the effect of the fire was the opposite of what those who set it probably wanted to see.

“It’s had a very immediate impact on housing prices in the neighborhood, making them more expensive. Not less,” Feibush told Billy Penn. “The lack of supply this fire created ensured these homes are selling for $50 or $60K more since then.”

What’s happened since Ori Feibush’s Point Breeze block went up in flames [Billy Penn]