City Council’s Rules Committee approved today a measure sponsored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson that would allow the Redevelopment Authority (PRA) to acquire dozens of properties through eminent domain to build affordable housing.
The controversial plan was called a “land grab” by developers who said they owned some of the properties the city was set to take. But Johnson and city officials said they want to preserve affordability in parts of Point Breeze, a neighborhood ripe with development.
PRA director Ed Covington said that after speaking with private developers, the city will condemn 28 properties down from 43. Eleven of those properties are city-owned.
Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush told Council that he either owns or is representing developers who still own some of the properties on the city’s condemnation list. Feibush made national headlines recently over a fight with the city for a formerly trash-strewn lot. He asked Council not to approve the bill.
The measure could be approved by Council in two weeks.