Point Breeze protesters outraged over new apartment complex without community input

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Neighbors in Philadelphia's Point Breeze section voiced their anger with elected officials over new development in the community.

They claim a new luxury apartment building is going up without their input and that it is threatening the future for residents who have called the area home for decades.

Protesters stood on the 1400 block of Point Breeze Avenue in front of the very point of contention Tuesday afternoon and demanded answers.

"For many years, these were thriving Black businesses. We want Black economic development, not luxury apartments unaffordable for most of the community," said Connie Walker, an organizer for Black Point Breeze Matters.

Organizer Tiffany Green said, "The problem is that there was no community process, no vote, this is the new Jim Crow development. They're putting us on the back of the bus."

Community members and business owners claim they had no say in the redevelopment.

While Action News did reach out to the developer and did not get a response, many protesters say most of the blame falls on their elected officials.

But Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, who oversees the district, said the former grocery store is a by-right property.

"The individual purchased the property, and they pretty much have the right to actually develop the property without going through the community process," said Johnson.

Still, protesters aren't buying it. They say if City Council passed the neighborhood preservation overlay bill, which they've been asking for since 2013, they wouldn't be in the predicament that they are now.

Those opposed to the new development said that piece of legislation would make their business historic property, and that neighbors would have the ultimate say about what happens on that property.
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