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Redevelopment Authority threatens to sue developer for improving dilapidated lot

9/21/2012 | Real Estate Blog

Philadelphia real-estate developer Ori Feibush had an article published in the Daily News last week in which he recounted how the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority had ignored him after he made numerous calls expressing interests in purchasing or leasing a run-down vacant lot next to his coffee shop. Frustrating with the long-time non-responsiveness and the harm being done to his business, Feibush went ahead with some improvements on that property.

According to sources, Feibush spent $20,000 of his own money to haul off 40 tons of debris, plant cherry trees, place benches and fencing and pave the sidewalk. As a result, the authority threatened him with legal action. The authority is apparently demanding that Feibush return the newly rejuvenated lot to its former condition. Ironically, Feibush has been cited three times in past years for failure to remove snow from the neighboring lot and one time for litter on the lot.

According to the city, Feibush never tried to purchase the lot and was instructed not to intervene there. Mayoral Spokesman Mark McDonald says Feibush sent a letter to the authority on Tuesday, which was his first official declaration of interest in purchasing the property. Several other parties are said to have asked about purchasing the property before Feibush made improvements there.

Still, Feibush claims that he’s expressed interest in the property at least seven times since 2006, visited four times, and volunteered to manage the clean-up of the neighboring lot. The communication between the various departments of the authority, he claims, has been horrible.

In response, City Controller Alan Butkovitz has criticized the city agency for its non-responsiveness to a citizen that wants to work toward beautifying and improving the quality of life in his community.

This story is a good example of how inefficient local government can be, and how its failure to act can harm business owners.

Source:, “Controller blasts city for dispute over Point Breeze lot,” Phillip Lucas, September 19, 2012