Germantown YWCA gets court date

by Tom Beck
Posted 1/2/24

The date was set by Judge Ann Butchart in a scheduling hearing on Dec. 22.

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Germantown YWCA gets court date


The legal team for developer Ken Weinstein is scheduled to argue before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on March 26 that the Germantown YWCA is blighted and in need of rehabilitation under the state’s Act 135 law. The date was set by Judge Ann Butchart in a scheduling hearing on Dec. 22.

The evidentiary hearing will take place in courtroom 453 of City Hall at 9:30 a.m.

Germantown residents have long complained that the property, which is owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and is a cherished community landmark that’s been vacant for decades, is an eyesore in their community that stifles growth. 

Weinstein’s attorney, Richard Vanderslice, said that Weinstein “filed this petition due to the long neglect of this historic property.”

“Weinstein Properties believes that it will be able to satisfy…the act by presenting evidence that the property is in need of substantial rehabilitation,” he added.

PRA attorney Henry Noye said in the hearing that his client is “very committed to the ownership of this property.”

“We have denied all allegations in the petition,” he said, “and we believe that as we move forward…we will be able to establish that the requirements in the statute are in fact not met.”

The Act 135 law allows adjacent property owners to become the conservator of parcels they feel are a public nuisance. 

If the court agrees with Weinstein’s legal team that the property fits the criteria for blight, it would then move to determine a path for its rehabilitation. The court could either appoint Weinstein’s group to rehabilitate the property or grant conditional relief to the PRA, which would be ordered to resolve all issues of blight under a scheduled timeline.

If he is successful, Weinstein would take control of the building away from Keith B. Key, the Columbus-based developer who has held the right to develop it since 2016 and is favored by Councilmember Cindy Bass.

“It is disappointing that Ken Weinstein arrived at a decision to take something away rather than adding to this project,” Bass previously told the Local in an email. “It also calls into question the use of conservatorship and the concern over the potential misuse of such tools.”

If Weinstein is successful, he said he would ask Mission First – a company with a successful track record for building affordable senior housing – to redevelop the property. He would not seek to develop it himself.