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Osage Pine project developers unveil timetable, goals

AJR Endeavors told Cobbs Creek residents their plans for the rehab of properties tied to the 1985 MOVE bombing

A stretch of homes on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue will be rehabbed by AJR Endeavors.
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The redevelopment of 36 homes in Cobbs Creek with ties to the 1985 MOVE bombing is moving forward, but don’t expect big changes anytime soon.

The developers, AJR Endeavors, said as much at a Cobbs Creek community meeting Tuesday night, when they shared more details about their plans to rehab the three dozen properties.

“We’re in the very beginning stages right now,” realtor and AJR Endeavor principal Rodney Ross told Curbed Philly in an interview after the meeting.

But the developers did have an answer for one of the first questions posed to them at the meeting: The rehabbed homes will hit the market in the price range of $175,000 to $200,000.

“Over the past couple years, prices here have been slowly rising—there are homes already selling for $150,000,” Ross explained. “Since we are doing such a high volume, and including things like tax abatements and finishes that other homes may not have, we’re shooting for a price point that will be a little higher than that and of fair value.”

The city paid the homes’ current owners $125,000 for each property, plus $25,000 in moving expenses. The residents at the meeting seemed to be in agreement with price range, according to Ross.

Co-principal Anthony Fullard added, “Our goal is to bring this block and community housing values up to where they should be.”

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The biggest priority for the developer right now is touring all 36 properties to assess the state of each home. Ross said they were only allowed to tour four homes before submitting an RFP. “Some of them are in more better shape than others, but as long as all of them are in similar shape to what we saw, with no major structural issues, we’ll start moving forward in the six-to-nine-month process to get toward signing the RFP.”

After the assessment, AJR Endeavors will offer its first preliminary designs to Cobbs Creek community within 45 days. The total $3.2 million project is expected to take two years.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RFP) announced earlier in April that it had picked the proposal submitted by AJR Endeavors to rehab the 36 homes on the 6200 block of Osage and Pine. Of the two proposals that were submitted, the PRA said it picked AJR for its strong track record of working in various Philly communities.

AJR Endeavors consists of three principals, all who live in Philly: Construction manager Anthony Fullard, real estate developer Jim Robertson, and realtor Rodney Ross.

“In fact, it was Jim grew up in Upper Darby nearby and would always be driving by these properties,” said Ross. “So we started talking about this before RFP was out, and he said, ‘Hey, what’s the city doing about these properties?”

A couple of months later, the PRA issued the RFP, requesting proposals from developers to purchase the properties, which have never fully recovered from 1985 when the city dropped a bomb on the site. At the time, one of the homes had served as the headquarters of the black liberation group MOVE.

Going forward, the trio plans to have an open, transparent process with the community—it’s the least they can do for a neighborhood that has struggled to move past from the 1985 event, said Fullard. “This is not a normal development for us,” he said. “This is about trying to be a part of restoration of families and a community that really has been left behind.”