The ongoing battle for the property at 3617-21 Haverford Avenue is finally over as the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) has ended its pursuit to take James Dupree's art studio via eminent domain for the creation of a supermarket complex. According to a press release, it doesn't seem like the Brian Abernathy, PRA's Executive Director, is too pleased with the result:
"Unfortunately, the legal costs associated with Mr. Dupree's appeals make it impossible to continue. Despite all the work to date, PRA will end condemnation proceedings enabling Mr. Dupree to keep his studio. While we have explored the potential of building around Mr. Dupree's property, a viable project under these conditions is not possible. In short, the inability to acquire Mr. Dupree's property puts the prospect of bringing fresh food to this community at serious risk." Dupree is a world-renown artist who has been locked in a battle with the PRA for over two years. While the city offered him $640,000 for the property, Dupree had it valued at $2.2M by a real estate agent. He also estimated that his 5,000 pieces of art, dating back to the 1970s, would cost upwards of $250,000 to move. The city offered him $40,000 as compensation for the loss of his artwork. "For them to say that the work isn't worth anything, my sweat equity isn't worth anything, and my business is not worth anything, that just threw me off the deep end, big time," Dupree told City Paper back in November 2013.
Abernathy continued in the release:
"While I believe PRA has done all we could to find a fair solution with Mr. Dupree — offering independent appraisals of his property, finding and offering other potential locations for his studio, and payment of all relocation costs — I know that the emotional attachment to the property is real and deep. I am disappointed that Mr. Dupree and PRA could not reach a resolution to this isue but respect his passion."
Giovanna Dupree, the artist's daughter, told KYW they are "thrilled" with the decision.
· James Dupree Will Get to Keep His Mantua Art Studio [PhillyMag]
· James Dupree Coverage [Curbed Philly]