Feibush condos in Fishtown, under construction, target of arsonist

For the second time in four months, new condos built by developer OCF Realty were the target of an arsonist, police say.

Someone tried to light a fire in the soon-to-opened condos at 1834 Frankford Ave, early Tuesday. The building includes 24 condos and 17 apartments in a quickly developing part of Fishtown.

The would-be perpetrator was caught on security cameras installed at the site, prompting calls to police, who responded around 7:30 a.m, OCF president Ori Feibush said. Feibush said there was only minimal damage to the building.

The small fire was under control by 8:30 a.m. as fire marshals continued investigating, Capt. Will Dixon of the Philadelphia Fire Department said.

In May, four Point Breeze townhouses owned by Feibush burned to the ground and five nearby sustained damage in what officials labeled an intentionally set fire. The two-alarm blaze at 1310 S. 20th St. took about 75 firefighters an hour to put out. No arrests have been made in that case, said Charlene Hennessy, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

More than $100,000 in reward money is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction in that case. Feibush has offered $90,000, the  ATF is offering $10,000, and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office offered $2,500.

Buildings owned by Feibush, who has developed properties around the city, mostly in Point Breeze, have been targeted before.

In 2016, several people defaced the OCF realty office on Washington Avenue in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood. In 2013, someone threw a brick through a window of one of Feibush’s coffee shops. That same year, someone sprayed graffiti on the side of one of his buildings in Point Breeze, and a tire on his car was slashed.

The condos in Fishtown have units with roof decks starting at $399,000 and garden units starting at $309,000.

Feibush said he recently added a security system to all of his job sites after what he described as a spike in vandalism and fires at development sites around the city.

“It’s not called for,” Feibush said. “It’s not productive. It creates dangers for neighbors, dangers for firefighters, for everyone. It’s sad, and I hope that it stops.”

Feibush said he thinks the vandalism and the arson are related.

“I don’t want to speculate who, specifically, but I’ll suggest that the overwhelming majority of residents in Philadelphia have no interest in property damage,” he said. “By definition it’s certainly a small group.”