Zoning meeting madness: South Philly Homes and Ori Feibush

Rendering Provided by Spruce Law Group

Another heated South Philadelphia Homes zoning meeting is in the books, this time concerning Ori Feibush’s plan to develop 1245-1249 Point Breeze Ave. into a grocery and three floors of studio apartments. On Monday evening, Dr. Andre Ford, vice chair of the Homes RCO Zoning Committee, did his best to run the meeting at St. Barnabas Church, 1814 Wharton St., that considered three projects: Feibush’s, 1922 Gerritt St. and 2227 Latona St.

All of them seem to strike a nerve with long-term residents who don’t like to see change in their neighborhood, be it three-story homes with roof decks or increased amounts of cars resulting in dwindling parking and frustrating traffic.

“Why do you all want to go so high?” one resident asked of the 2227 Latona developer.

“It does not look like the rest of the block!” another meeting attendee commented.

2nd District City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s Community Planner and Engagement Liason, Jasmine Sadat, was in attendance.

“My office has built quite a number of houses. The sole purpose here is to bring a fresh grocer to Point Breeze Avenue,” Feibush said, meeting with a mix of applause and boos.

In fact, a flyer circulated ahead of the meeting that read “Ori’s back trying to build more condos and luxury apartments on Point Breeze Ave. to push us out – we need everybody to come out and vote no – show Ori he can’t bully Point Breeze.” At the meeting, Feibush said they would all be rental apartments that his company, OCF Realty, would manage.

He reported researching grocery co-ops and non-profits and plans to rent the first floor of the property for $1 annually (Feibush joked that he “trolled” the South Philly Food Co-Op, but it wasn’t interested because the majority of the members live east of Broad Street). He even said he plans to put a deed restriction on the property so that the only permitted use will be as a grocery store. That met with more applause than boos.

The 15 studio apartments will be small, 370 to 470 square feet, and rent at approximately $800 to $900.

Most of the questions from the audience were about parking and what kind of grocer would come in. A caller the following afternoon suggested that abandoned grocery stores should be considered before anything new is built, namely the Bottom Dollar, Pathmark at 3021 Grays Ferry Ave., or the Drug Emporium at Point Breeze Avenue and Dickinson Street. – By Bill Chenevert