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Royal Theater One of Several Blighted Universal Properties

What's the status of Kenny Gamble's non-profit empire, Universal Companies? Though Universal Companies, most recently in the news for its less than stellar stewardship of the Royal Theater, was at one time a serious positive force in the neighborhood, the Royal Theater is not the organization's only blighted holding.


Universal Companies' website touts the successes of the organization, including the development of over 1500 units of affordable housing. The organization also runs six charter schools, and has collaborated with developers and CDCs outside of South Philly on affordable housing projects.

However, the map of vacant properties owned by Universal Companies suggests that the not-for-profit empire of Kenny Gamble is in decline: not only is the Royal Theater crumbling, but other holdings are also conspicuosly vacant and ill-maintained. Even the supposed site of Gamble's yet-to-be built 4,000 sq ft house on the 800 block of South Street is currently just a hole in the ground. Several other buildings owned by Universal throughout the Graduate Hospital area are also vacant. Though Universal Companies has a strong track record, its expansion into other neighborhoods in recent years may have stretched resources too thin.
· Kenny Gamble's blight collection [Naked City]