Spring had just sprung last year when we last updated you on the long vacant lot on the northwest corner of 17th & South. At that time, developer Eugene Bukh had just presented his plans for the site to CCRA for the third time, proposing nine rental apartment units and a large commercial space on the first floor. At the meeting, one neighbor (shockingly) complained about the height, the density, and the lack of parking.
Despite the concerns of some near neighbors, the ZBA approved the application and it seemed that the developer would finally be able to break ground. But in June, three neighbors on Rodman Street appealed the decision to the Court of Common Pleas. A month later, in an effort to get the neighbors to drop the appeal, Bukh offered them $150K. But as you can see in the emails copied below, this wasn’t enough for the
On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 6:47 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
Is the total offer 150K or 75K for each appellant? If the court denies your motion to quash or otherwise allows the [second appellant] in the appeal, will you pay $225K? Or is the offer just 150K no matter what the court decides about the [second appellant's] standing to appeal?
On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 6:52 PM, “Eugene Bukh” wrote:
On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 7:33 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
Ok. Forget it. We’ll see you in Court.
On Tue, Aug 15, 2012 at 4:33 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
Just making sure you saw the Court Order from Monday. If you want to revisit a settlement in light of this development, let me know. Otherwise we’ll argue it next year.
Would this be so bad?
Two weeks, ago, the Court of Common Pleas upheld the ZBA’s decision. So now you’d think finally, the developer would be able to break ground, right?
But not so fast.
These emails between the developer and an appelant from the last couple of weeks show that the neighbors are now willing to drop the matter, and for a lower price!
On Jan 14, 2013 at 7:59 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
Spoke with my neighbors. We are going to move forward with an appeal to Commonwealth Court, where our chances of success are expected to be much improved.
However, we remain willing to negotiate a solution and should have more flexibility now in light of the CCP order. So if you want to eliminate your risk and delay we can discuss again. If not, we’ll file our papers and take our chances. Let me know if you want to revisit.
On Jan 14, 2013, at 9:37 PM, “Eugene Bukh” wrote:
I’m willing to listen, just note that the 150K i offered is no longer on the table, nor is any 6 figure number.
On Jan 22, 2013 at 9:44 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
I never heard back. So we’re going to file the appeal. Willing to drop it for $95K. Interested?
On Jan 24, 2013, at 1:24 AM, “Eugene Bukh” wrote:
I was away for business last 4 days boarding plane now call you tomorrow after I talk to my partner.
On Jan 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM, “Appellant” wrote:
If you don’t see any risk to your project there is probably no reason to meet. I’d rather go to Commonwealth Court than settle for nuisance value since I continue to believe the Court will not ignore its own law. If the Common Pleas Court could have defended the variance it would have written an opinion to that effect.
So I’m not going to withdraw the appeal for just the cost of your delay or attorney fees. Without a risk premium the number will not be meaningful and I’d rather take my chances at getting the variance overturned.
So I think the ball is in your Court. I recognize that you’ve won at lower levels and won’t pay six figures. So I came in at 95K. I am happy to listen to any counter.
For what it is worth, if we settle I will also promise not to sue you. If we don’t, and if you win in Commonwealth Court, I may still pursue litigation beyond the land use appeal as appropriate to protect my interests.
Rodman Street, we officially anoint you the new NIMBY capital of Philadelphia. Your move, Kater Street.
OCF Realty is the parent company of Naked Philly. OCF is the broker, but does not have any ownership stake in the project described above.