Real estate developer and local businessman Ori Feibush recently spent $20,000 of his own money to refurbish a
trash heap vacant lot next to his new coffee shop on 20th and Annin streets in Point Breeze.
The once dreary and presumably dangerous eye sore is now a nice place to sit and relax, as improvements included a picnic table, a few benches, a wooden fence and a brand new sidewalk. The city of Philadelphia, however, is now telling Feibush to return the lot to its original state, because who wants a park when you can have a trash heap?
Feibush’s company, OCF Realty, which has been met with considerable backlash from Point Breeze residents in past, made several attempts to purchase the lot over almost a decade and after being denied each time, Ori requested that the lot be cleaned. When nothing came of those requests, he and a team of workers removed 40 tons of trash, weeds and highway dividers.
They completed the work in just a few days, just before Feibush’s most recent business venture, a coffee shop, opened right next to the now-inviting lot.
The city’s Redevelopment Authority denies claims of Feibush requesting to purchase the property. But Naked Philly, which is owned by OCF Realty, published a rather telling email correspondence, disproving the Authority’s claims.
To make matters worse, Feibush even received citations from the city for failing to clear snow from the sidewalk in front of the lot, and last August he got a citation for the trash in the lot, which, again, he does not own.
Of course, if Ori now decides put back , he’ll probably get a stiff fine for littering.
As Philebrity reports, Feibush now has a government official on his side. City Controller Alan Butkovitz has thrown his hat into the ring to defend Feibush’s actions. In a letter to the Redevelopment Authority, Butkovitz says their response was unreasonable. He maintains that city agencies should be helping residents to improve their surroundings instead of stifling their efforts, adding, “This will enable the city to protect its interest while enabling local citizens to participate in beautifying and improving the quality of life in their communities.”