From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Condo developer bullish on Camden
By Dwight Ott
Philadelphia region housing starts are sagging, condo projects have stalled, and Camden is taking hits in the news again.
None of it dents developer Carl Dranoff’s optimism. He’s still forging full-speed into Camden, still bullish on building luxury loft condos in America’s poorest and most dangerous city.
This week, the state Economic Recovery Board, which doles out state aid to the distressed city, agreed to pay $1.9 million for environmental cleanup of the condo site to be known as the Radio Lofts, a former RCA Victor building just off the city’s waterfront near a spectacular view of Philadelphia.
The money was delayed but, combined with $2 million from the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority, will cover environmental work needed to start the renovation, Dranoff said yesterday. He expects the Radio Lofts to be ready for occupancy in early 2008.
Dranoff, who renovated the waterfront Victor Building into luxury apartments in Camden, speaks with the same bouncy optimism as when he first envisioned that residential project – one of the first private investments in Camden’s waterfront renaissance. He’s still jaunty despite the state crackdown on the city’s finances, a corruption probe into one of the city’s major politicians, and law enforcement subpoenas that indicate a deepening investigation of city finances.
“Our enthusiasm and confidence never waned,” Dranoff said yesterday in a phone interview. “Persistence wins the race, and we’re persistent.
“I still believe Camden is the next hot neighborhood, a great place to invest.”