Point Breeze developer's fight with city ending?

Developer Ori Feibush
Posted: September 28, 2012

THE "brew-haha" sparked by a Point Breeze developer who cleaned up a debris-strewn city lot next to his coffee shop may soon be settled.

"I'm considering an option to lease the property, where my office will take over 100 percent liability of the lot and maintain it as public space," Ori Feibush, who transformed the lot without the city's permission, said Thursday.

The lease would remain in effect until the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority sells the lot.

Feibush has made no bones about the fact that he's been trying to buy it.

"We want to make sure there is an open bidding process and that when the property does go up for auction, language [in the agreement] will require it to go to the highest bidder," Feibush said.

Paul Chrystie, a spokesman for the RDA, said by email Thursday that there isn't yet a signed agreement, but that "the goal is to reach one soon."

Feibush owns the OCF Coffee House, on Federal Street near 20th, adjacent to the disputed lot, at 20th and Annin streets. Feibush said he spent more than $20,000 clearing 40 tons of debris from it in August.

Neighbors said they were pleased to have a clean place to sit on wooden benches next to plants.

But the Redevelopment Authority, which owns the lot, warned Feibush that he was trespassing and ordered him to "cease and desist," and to "remove your contractors and materials," or the authority would sue him.

Feibush also owns OCF Realty LLC and has been developing properties in the area for seven years.

Even though he's a developer, Feibush said that if he buys the lot outright, he wants to keep it as a garden and open space for the neighborhood "in perpetuity."

Contact Valerie Russ at russv@phillynews.com or 215-854-5987. Follow her on Twitter @ValerieRussDN.

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