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|🏡 Residence||Point Breeze, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
real estate developer
|👔 Employer||OCF Realty (Founder & President)|
|🏛️ Political party||Democratic|
Ori Feibush is an American real estate developer based in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the president of OCF Realty. In May 2015, he unsuccessfully ran as a Philadelphia City Council candidate for the Second District against incumbent Kenyatta Johnson.
Early life and education
Born to a Jewish family, Feibush grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Dublin. He is a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, and has lived in Point Breeze since 2006.
Real estate business
Feibush founded OCF Realty in Philadelphia in 2008. He opened a café under the OCF brand in the neighborhood of Point Breeze subsequently opened up two more OCF cafés in the Graduate Hospital and Fairmount neighborhoods.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Point Breeze's "almost overnight" transformation "from a forgotten corner of Philadelphia to an up-and-comer, with new houses, cafés and restaurants" has been "largely the work of two innovative, young, and sometimes controversial developers, John Longacre and Ori C. Feibush, who saw the area as a diamond in the rough and began buying vacant buildings."
In August 2012, Feibush spent more than $20,000 of his own money to clean up a derelict city-owned lot abutting a coffee shop he was opening in Point Breeze. 40 tons of debris were removed and the lot was transformed into a landscaped area with planters, wooden benches, and a redone sidewalk. The following month, the Philadelphia Daily News reported on Feibush's efforts as well as the city government's opposition to his actions. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority accused Feibush of trespassing: "Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property." In correspondence with Feibush, the authority threatened to take legal action against him and demanded he immediately return the property to the condition in which he found it. Feibush said he had taken matters into his own hands out of frustration that repeated requests to buy or lease that parcel from the city went unanswered over a number of years. Feibush said he took independent action only after a last ditch effort calling on the city to clean the roughly 30-year vacant lot failed to achieve results.
The story of the dispute between Feibush and the city government, which came to be dubbed "lotgate," quickly went "viral," garnering national and international media attention. The city ultimately relented, allowing Feibush to lease the property and maintain it as a public space until the city sells it.
In an editorial, The Philadelphia Inquirer said, "It’s clear that [Ori's] instincts were good in wanting to see an unsightly area spruced up. Indeed, how much better off would other city neighborhoods be if they were permeated by the same spirit? ... While one man's attempt to keep a vacant lot clean was unorthodox, it offers a reminder to City Hall officials that government needs to do a better job with the properties under its purview." Commenting on the dispute, Philadelphia magazine wrote, "Feibush might be a hero, because he did something that needs to happen more often in Philadelphia: He saw a mess. And he cleaned up the mess. This being Philadelphia, of course he’s in trouble."
Within a year of "lotgate," Feibush said, "We've probably cleaned 40 or 50 lots this year."
Candidacy for Philadelphia City Council
In November 2013, Feibush officially announced he would be running for Philadelphia City Council in the Second District against incumbent Kenyatta Johnson in the May 19, 2015 Democratic primary. The Second District "covers parts of Center City, South and Southwest Philadelphia, as well as the Navy Yard, and the Point Breeze neighborhood." Feibush has criticized Johnson "for what he says is a major disconnect with his constituents." According to Ori, Johnson "does not have a vision. He does not have a plan and collectively, constituents are frustrated with the path and direction of the city, the path and direction of the 2nd District."
Feibush and Johnson have had a number of disputes and incidents in the run-up to the election. In June 2014, Philadelphia magazine reported that Micah Mahjoubian, "one of the most connected players in Philadelphia politics" who had been serving as a political consultant to Johnson, attempted to enlist notorious local blogger and ex-convict Joshua Scott Albert to create, in Mahjoubian's words, "an anonymous blog that chronicles all the shitty things Ori does."
In June 2014, Feibush also filed a lawsuit in federal court "accusing Johnson of preventing him from buying two vacant city lots and thwarting his bid to build on a larger tract, both as political retribution." In an editorial, The Philadelphia Inquirer questioned Johnson's use of councilmanic prerogative, "an often-abused power," to block "Feibush's purchase of two derelict lots on a blighted block of South Cleveland Street in Point Breeze." Given the political rivalry between Feibush and Johnson, The Inquirer opined, "The unseemly appearance of politics at work here is bound to discourage productive development... Because Johnson's actions invite suspicions about his motives, he should back off and allow the Cleveland Street development. The best way for the councilman to keep his job is to push for policies that help Point Breeze realize its potential for everyone."
According to the Philadelphia City Paper, Feibush has unsettled Philadelphia's political class: "At root, their worry stems from the fact that Feibush is something very new in Philadelphia politics: a well-funded outsider who would rather burn down the political class than join it, and who has tapped into a wellspring of disgust with City Hall. That's a threat. That's the sort of challenge that gives lifelong pols the cold sweats."
Both The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News endorsed Feibush over Johnson for the Philadelphia City Council seat in the Second District. Johnson ended up winning by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over Feibush, who said the election effort so depleted his bank account that it impacted his company's ability to build new projects.
- Jewish Exponent: "Philly's New Jewish Visionaries" By Beth D'Addono April 23, 2013
- "He wants to build in Point Breeze; not all residents like the plans". Philadelphia Daily News. 22 March 2012.
- "'Life is not easy. Deal with it.'". Philadelphia Business Journal. 28 September 2012.
- "Changing Skyline: Savvy marketing, social media skills are keys for Point Breeze development". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 23 February 2013.
- "Was spruce-up of Point Breeze lot a trespass?". Philadelphia Daily News. 14 September 2012.
- "Ori Feibush, Philadelphia Cafe Owner, Angers Officials After Cleaning 'City-Owned Cesspool'". Associated Press. 21 September 2012.
- "Real estate developer who spent $20,000 to transform trash-strewn lot into a pretty garden is told by city he was trespassing... and now they want him to change it BACK". Daily Mail. 18 September 2012.
- "Developer Ori 'Lotgate' Feibush Needs a New Nickname". Curbed Philadelphia. 24 January 2013.
- "Philadelphia Officials Disapprove of Man Who Spent $20,000 to Clean City Lot". ABC News. 18 September 2012.
- "Government Prevents Business From Helping Economy". Fox Business. 1 October 2012.
- "Point Breeze developer's fight with city ending?". Philadelphia Daily News. 28 September 2012.
- "Cleaning up the city isn't a job for one man". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1 October 2012.
- "Who Will Be Philadelphia's Ron Paul?". Philadelphia. 21 September 2012.
- "Feibush back to cleaning city-owned lots in Point Breeze". Philadelphia City Paper. 5 August 2013.
- "Ori Feibush Officially Running for City Council". Philadelphia. 15 November 2013.
- "Philly City Council Candidate Ori Feibush Seeks to Build Profile". PoliticsPA. 19 September 2014.
- "City Council at-large seats likely to see competition". Philadelphia Daily News. 6 November 2014.
- "Kenyatta Johnson Consultant Asks Staphmeal Blogger to Start Anonymous Anti-Ori Feibush Site". Philadelphia. 27 June 2014.
- "Point Breeze developer sues Councilman Johnson in federal court". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 28 June 2014.
- "Discouraging development". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 16 April 2014.
- "Nutter on Ori Feibush: "A Little Jerk With a Big Checkbook"". Philadelphia. 24 January 2015.
- "Fight over the future". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1 May 2015.
- "Endorsements For Council". Philadelphia Daily News. 8 May 2015.
- "Feibush looks back on his losing bid". philly-archives. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
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