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Philly developers say numbers don’t ‘pencil’ out on city’s latest affordable housing scheme

By Jake Blumgart

Ori Feibush may be one of the more controversial developers in Philadelphia, but few would argue about the one-time City Council candidate’s ability to get projects done in the city. Now the man who brought roof decks to Point Breeze is saying that the voluntary development incentives included in a new zoning bill designed to raise money for affordable housing won’t attract the interest needed to make the policy work.

“We found that there wasn’t any project we were looking at where it would work,” said Feibush, who has developed over 1,000 units of new housing in Philadelphia over the last decade. “Our office looks at more than a dozen properties a week, so we have 100 properties we reviewed from the last couple months and we went back to every one of those and it just didn’t pencil.”

That’s a problem because hopes are high for this new voluntary inclusionary zoning bill — now under consideration by the City Council. The legislation would incentivize developers to pay money into Philadelphia’s Housing Trust Fund in exchange for bonuses that allow larger, denser developments than would be otherwise permitted under zoning rules. The bill is projected to bring $18 million to the Housing Trust over the next five years.

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City’s plan to battle blight leaves some neighborhoods out

September 24, 2018 |

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Des Moines city leaders moved forward Monday on a multimillion-dollar plan to revitalize neighborhoods by busting blight, but only four neighborhoods are included.

The Des Moines City Council unanimously approved a $4.6 million pilot program to make improvements to Oak Park/Highland Park, the Drake University neighborhood, 48th Street and Franklin Avenue and the Two Rivers neighborhood.

Cheatom Park Neighborhood Association President Susan Wells said she doesn’t understand why her neighborhood didn’t make the cut.

“They’re stable neighborhoods,” she said. “They don’t have any noticeable infrastructure flaws. The inner-city neighborhoods continually get ignored.”

City officials said the plan comes off the heels of an outside study that says Des Moines needs to focus on stabilizing property values in so-called “middle neighborhoods” — places where the housing market is neither strong nor weak but could begin to struggle if there is more blight.

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