Protesters outraged over new apartment complex

Neighbors in Philadelphia's Point Breeze section voiced their anger with elected officials over new development in the community.

Video Transcript

- Neighbors in Point Breeze are voicing their anger with elected officials tonight over new development in their community. They say a new luxury apartment building is going up without their input, and it's threatening the future for residents who have called the area home for decades. Action News community journalist Ashley Johnson has the story tonight.

CONNIE WALKER: Black Point Freeze Matters.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Protesters demanded answers this afternoon at the very site of contention in Point Breeze where demolition is underway at the 1400 block of Point Breeze Avenue to make way for luxury apartments.

CONNIE WALKER: We want to support Black economic development, not luxury apartments.

TIFFANY GREEN: The problem is that there was no community process. No community meeting. No vote. This new development is turning into Jim Crow development.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Activists joined by long term Black residents and business owners claim they had no say in the redevelopment which changes the landscape of their community. Many points were brought up such as making parking in the area even more of a nightmare, it taking away space for future Black businesses, and the apartments making it harder for Blacks to afford to live in the area.

TIFFANY GREEN: Who changed the usage on these properties from five properties into one property?

ASHLEY JOHNSON: While we did reach out to the developer and didn't get a response, protesters say most of the blame falls on their elected officials. But Council Member Kenyatta Johnson, who is over at the district, says the former grocery store is a buy right property.

KENYATTA JOHNSON: An individual purchased a property, and they pretty much have the right to develop the actual property without actually going through a community process. I'm a strong advocate in making sure that long term residents aren't displaced.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Activists say had city council passed their neighborhood preservation overlay bill, which they've been asking for since 2013, they wouldn't be where they are now because residents would have a say in what happens along their business corridor.

TIFFANY GREEN: It is time for them to come to the table.

ASHLEY JOHNSON: Protesters in Point Breeze say they can't afford to be silent as they fight to keep the foundation of their neighborhood intact. In Point Breeze, Ashley Johnson, channel six Action News.