Eminent domain acquisition by PHA called land grab by some Philly residents

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 The Norman Blumberg Apartments will be demolished as part of a plan to reclaim by eminent domain 1,330 properties from 19th Street to 28th Street to Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the north and College Avenue to the south. (NewsWorks file photo)

The Norman Blumberg Apartments will be demolished as part of a plan to reclaim by eminent domain 1,330 properties from 19th Street to 28th Street to Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the north and College Avenue to the south. (NewsWorks file photo)

The Philadelphia Housing Authority’s plan to demolish another high-rise public housing tower in the city and replace it with low-rise units is advancing. 

The Norman Blumberg Apartments will be demolished as part of a plan to reclaim by eminent domain 1,330 properties from 19th Street to 28th Street to Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the north and College Avenue to the south.  

It’s time to clean up the area, said PHA head Kelvin Jeremiah appearing before City Council Tuesday.

“We believe that it’s important to assemble property in such a way that maximizes that impact,” he said. “Given the level of blight, the level of vacant and abandoned homes, we didn’t want it to be piecemeal.”

Realtor Judith Robinson said it’s unfair to take the properties through eminent domain.

“This is a major land grab from African-Americans,” Robinson said. “We need to be clear on that, get that on the record.”

Public housing tenants and businesses currently in the area will be relocated with the right to return when the new properties are complete.

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