Ryan Briggs Ryan Briggs is a staff writer and connoisseur of City Hall intrigue, business dealings, neighborhood gossip and local lore. Ryan has studied, worked and resided in Philadelphia since 2004, covering politics and development issues for Hidden City, Next City and Metropolis, amongst other fine publications.
Outrage in Point Breeze, lately the hub of conversations about the impact of gentrification, has been at a simmer for several years. Now, a group calling itself Point Breeze Organizing Committee is throwing fuel on the fire. A protest against gentrification in Point Breeze in general, and developer Ori Feibush in particular, is planned for this Saturday.
The controversy over the neighborhood's rapid development spilled onto the Newbold Neighbors Facebook page over the weekend, with Feibush and protest organizers trading barbs online. The protest, which was planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, would culminate outside OCF Realty's offices, Feibush's development company.
Feibush fired back that protest organizer Mindy Isser lived in a house constructed by OCF Realty on Titan Street with fellow organizer Gary Broderick. Isser denied this, but Broderick acknowledged in the discussion that he did reside in the Titan Street house, which he says his girlfriend purchased with inherited money.
Broderick called for a "democratic" development process, saying OCF was building too quickly for the neighborhood, and chastised Feibush for revealing his personal address online.
Feibush responded, "Your address is relevant because you live in what you protest." Later, he backtracked and said he shouldn't have revealed someone else's personal information online.
Critics also accused Feibush of trying to get a block party permit in order to erect a moon bounce in the path of demonstration, then storming into the local police district when he was denied.
It's the latest chapter in a bitter gentrification battle, fueled in part by Feibush's own hectoring of his opponents. But a developer outing a protester as a closet gentrifier? That may be a first.
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