Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is balking at the Toll Brothers plans to build a 29-story condo tower on the 700 block Sansom street along Jewelers’ Row in his city. The real estate firm had originally planned only a 16-story high residential building.
Furthermore, the design proposed by the Toll Brothers does not include preservation of the buildings’ facades after the firm had previously said that it was determining whether it could retain them as part of its new design.
The location of the project is in the historic center of Philadelphia, where retailers, wholesalers, and craftsmen have sold their hand made jewelries since the mid-19th century.This is why it is such a sensitive issue for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
Critics of the project say it could ruin the historic diamond of the city. However, some store owners in the district welcome the new development.
Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement released on Friday that the new proposal to double the height of the project is, “deeply disturbing.”
Mayor Kenney’s statement, in full:
The news that Toll Brothers intends to double the height of its Jewelers’ Row project and that they will not maintain the second and third floor facades is deeply disturbing. I had hoped from our previous conversations that they intended to be a good corporate citizen, injecting much needed investment into the area while still respecting its character, but this information calls that into question. While, regrettably, the City, including the Historical Commission, does not have the legal ability to stop the project from moving forward, I am urging Toll Brothers to reconsider these decisions. I expect the Civic Design Review Board to make serious recommendations that will respect the historic nature of the properties, and I urge the Toll Brothers to adopt those recommendations or make the necessary adjustments on their own. If they do not, Toll Brothers will be sending a clear message that they no longer wish to have a productive relationship with the City of Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia filed appeals of Toll Brothers’ demolition permits, Philadelphia Biz Journal reports. The appeals for 128 S. 7th Street and 702-10 Sansom Street, were submitted to Licenses & Inspections on Thursday afternoon, Patrick Grossi tells Curbed Philly.