Principe is evidence of that. In 2006, he paid the city $15,000 for the second side lot at 241 Cecil B. Moore Ave., which was part of the 1988 agreement. When it came to the other lot, at 239 Cecil B. Moore Ave., he went to Finanta. With help from Mora and Sánchez, he negotiated a price just under $5,000, with a $12,000 lien that takes effect if he sells in less than 10 years — an example of the creativity required to get deals done under the current system.
Mora says helping "invisible" citizens like Principe simply "was not understood as important" up until now. However, the Front Door will formalize access to discounts for community uses, side yards, urban gardens like Las Parcelas and economic development — which may even include businesses like Principe's.
PRA spokesman Paul Chrystie says Principe's case is "an outlier" — some deals take just a few months — and that he could find no record of the case before 2003 (though older files are archived, and Mora has documents on the case going back years).
As for Principe, he got his deed in March. Though he had to take on debt to cover the $5,000 and put plans like adding outdoor seating on the back burner, he is just happy that the city finally came through.
"I've had this dream for a long time, and I've been developing it little by little, but they put up obstacles for me. There's a lot of obstacles when you're trying to do something legally. It can depress you and give you stress," he says. "I'm trying to cook it away."