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Developer Behind 10 Proposed Delaware Waterfront Towers Has Checkered RE Past

Developer Behind 10 Proposed Delaware Waterfront Towers Has Checkered RE Past
The parcel at which K4 Associates wants to build a high-rise apartment complex

Jeffery Kozero wants to build the most ambitious residential development Philadelphia has ever seen, but questions have arisen about his credentials to pull it off.

Kozero's company, K4 Associates, purchased land belonging to the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 19 on the Delaware River waterfront between Reed and Washington streets and proposed 10 high-rise apartment towers with more than 2,000 units on the 26-acre site. 

In order for the buildings to reach the height that K4 plans, a massive zoning change to the Central Delaware Overlay would be required. City Councilman Mark Squilla proposed such a bill this summer, but later pulled it from consideration to workshop it further.

Kozero's past includes a history of failed housing projects, lawsuits and unpaid contractors, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. In the mid-2000s, Kozero ran a company called Empire Homes that built single-family residences, but the Inquirer found multiple instances when customers complained or filed suit against Empire for unfinished or shoddy work.

Kozero was also the developer for an East Baltimore project renovating blighted homes, but did not pay the architect he hired and was forced by a judge to foot an $11K bill. Kozero also defaulted with a lender for the project, though he claims to have since refinanced.

The developer also saw a plan to build hundreds of homes in rural Pennsylvania go up in smoke during the housing crisis. He owned a broadband internet company that did not deliver a promised network in Northumberland County when grant applications were denied, according to the Inquirer. Kozero also was forced to pay a $20K fine for failing to report that he had been sued by at least 30 different individuals and companies in Maryland.

Squilla intends to reintroduce the zoning change that would allow Kozero's project to proceed once some of its opponents have had the chance to weigh in. His support — along with that from Pennsylvania state Rep. William Keller, who is advocating for K4 Associates to receive a $44M grant for the project — is crucial to the development's prospects.