FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 17th, 2022
Press Contact: Wiley Cunningham – 215-626-8818
Tenants of University City Townhomes travel to landlord’s office in Ft Washington demanding an end to displacement and immediate relief. Altman properties LLC/IBID Associates has announced the sale and mass displacement of residents in July 2022
Resident Action Group, the tenant association representing University City Townhomes, (3900-3999 Market St) and supporters caravaned to the Ft. Washington Township headquarters of Altman Properties LLC to confront their landlord, Brett Altman. He has demanded that residents leave by July 2022, when he plans to demolish their property and sell the site to the highest bidder.
“The residents are demanding that Altman stop the demolition and properly maintain the property or transfer it to an owner who will,” said resident Gail Jones.
Altman family purchased the West Philadelphia property in July of 1982 from Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA) for $1 with a deed restriction that it serve as low-income housing for 40 years. RDA acquired the land through eminent domain, part of urban renewal plans led by City Planner Edmund Bacon and the University of Pennsylvania. The plan seized about 3,000 properties in the Black Bottom and created University City, a name many long-time Black residents still contest.
Altman notified the Department of Housing and Urban Development in July 2021 that he would no longer seek the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) allowing him to demolish the property. Under the city’s existing zoning designation of CMX-4, new construction will by-right allow for building up to 500% of the lot size. Reporting on the impending sale from last October estimated the land’s value to be upwards of $100 million.
“It’s not just about the sale, Altman has steadily taken away services from us, from closing the community room, to removing all maintenance people. This is about treating us with respect. We don’t have to take this!” said resident, Consuela Astillero.
The tenants claim that Altman needs to explain their current business strategy of investing in luxury and Drexel and Penn student housing while letting properties like theirs deteriorate. Tenants complain about years of neglect on the part of Altman in terms of maintenance and repairs. The 70-unit housing complex currently has no maintenance personnel and has been without a manager for nearly a year. Residents have documented ongoing health and safety issues such as sewage leaks and insufficient trash service. They hope that Altman or new ownership would make quality of life issues a priority.
Link to Live Stream from the action: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CaFrNRuJ48I/