City, developer hold a coffee klatch - yeah, right!

Posted: September 23, 2012

ABATTLE BETWEEN the city and a real-estate developer who spruced up a city-owned lot in Point Breeze without permission got uglier Friday.

City officials held a news conference at the vacant lot, near 20th and Federal streets, to dispute claims from developer Ori Feibush that he had been ignored in repeated efforts to buy the lot, situated next to his new coffee shop. Feibush has landscaped the site, which he says was full of trash.

Ed Covington, who heads the Redevelopment Authority, said the city found no evidence of repeated efforts by Feibush to buy the lot. Covington said that an inquiry came through an attorney in May 2011, apparently on Feibush's behalf, and that the agency responded. But, he added, the city never heard from the attorney again.

He said the city did not get another message from Feibush indicating that he wanted to buy the property until several days ago, although the city and Feibush had conversations about the condition of the lot in August.

Covington also said the city has cleaned the lot nine times since June 2011, though Feibush and neighbors said they had never seen cleaning crews.

Feibush, who attended the event, unleashed an emotional tirade against the city.

"Neighbors drive by, they walk by, they say, 'Thank you,' " Feibush said.

Covington said the city has gotten other expressions of interest in the lot and will soon hold an open sale for the property, which will cost more than $50,000. Feibush said he will continue to try to buy the lot.


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