Mel Anthanasiadis, the owner of El Greco Pizza & Luncheonette, has been quite popular over the past year and a half. His struggle to keep his seven properties in South Kensington has been featured in City Paper, News Works and other Philadelphia media outlets.
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the Arab American Community Development Association are seizing his seven properties along Bodine and Cadwallader streets to build affordable housing and to combat neighborhood blight.
The Arab American Community Development Association rents space from the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Academy, which is located right across from much of the land that is being taken.
Currently, Anthanasiadis said they’ve reached a stalemate. “The deeds belong to the city. They haven’t tried to evict us yet.”
Anthanasiadis hired a new lawyer to represent him. “He will argue for a better price offer,” said Anthanasiadis, adding that his focus now is price negotiations.
He said the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority offered him $149,000 for his seven properties.
“It’s a joke,” said Anthanasiadis. “I wanted to develop them myself. Before they took them, I turned down two separate developers that were willing to give me 40 percent.”
Anthanasiadis also said that housing and land along the block has sold for around $330 thousand.
“I’ve been spending 17 hours in a pizza store all my life,” said Anthanasiadis. “I made a good investment, and now I have to give it to another developer on top of it. A multibillion-dollar corporation.”
He said he had planned to develop the properties and use the money toward his retirement and the education for his children.
“I eat, drink and sleep RDA,” said Anthanasiadis. “It consumes me.”
The Philadelphia Arab American Community Development Association and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority were unavailable for comment.