Garrett-Dunn saga mystery man found?

PlanPhilly has been following the fate of the somewhat deconstructed but nonetheless historic Garrett-Dunn House for months. We were happy to report last week that the property, which was designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, who is recognized as the most important American architect of the mid-1800s, could and would be stabilized by the bank that holds the mortgage.

Through many court hearings and plenty of testimony from contractors, attorneys, preservationists and inspectors, one voice has not been heard. That would be John Capoferri’s, the local developer who planned to create five luxury condos on the Mt. Airy site and who started the work before he ran short on funds in April.

First, a little background. 

Germantown Avenue Holding and Hedgebank Partners LP, both of Philadelphia, were sued in October by the City of Philadelphia for building code violations and failure to protect the historic site. Talks between National Penn Bank, the city and the Preservation Alliance to explore the possibility of placing the Garrett-Dunn House in receivership are continuing and a status hearing on that matter has been scheduled for Jan. 6 in Common Pleas Court

John Capoferri Properties has been identified as the owner/developer of the planned HedgeBank condominium project at 7048 Germantown Avenue in West Mount Airy. Capoferri, who was not been seen in court, has previously told PlanPhilly that he lost financing for the project and ceased construction work at the site in April, after crews had stripped the stucco cladding and exposed the open lathwork. In addition, windows in the rear of the building have no glass and parts of the adjacent barn had been left to collapse.

While Capoferri hasn’t attended the legal proceedings, he has been asked for.

During November’s hearing, Judge Peter Rogers, who lives a couple blocks from the Garrett-Dunn House, expressed concern that the developers were not present, have not been in contact with the city and have not paid any contractors the roughly half million dollars in work that has been done so far.

Rogers was told no one seems to know Capoferri’s whereabouts, including his own lawyer.

Well, that mystery may be over thanks to the Philly Inquirer’s social pages this morning.

In a bit of an ironic twist, it seems one John Capoferri was front and center during the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s recent fundraiser – the “Preservation Potpourri.”

In light of that, PlanPhilly would love to hear from the developer about his next steps in this ongoing process.

Posted by Matt Golas. Contact him at


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