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Decision on Jewelers Row historic designation delayed

Meanwhile, demo permits have been issued

The day after Toll Brothers was given demolition permits for properties on Jewelers Row, the Philadelphia Historical Commission decided to delay its decision on whether two of the buildings at 704 and 706-708 Sansom streets should be designated historic.

PlanPhilly reports that testimonies at the Thursday morning meeting were heated, with nearly a dozen property owners on Jewelers Row defending Toll Brothers’ proposal to build a 16-story residential tower. Word on the street, however, is that the tower is actually 30 stories:

[Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia] also said that merchants on the block were being shown renderings of the Toll Brothers project, who report that it would apparently be 30 stories instead of the originally reported 16 stories. The façade on Sansom Street in these renderings would have two storefronts and a central lobby entrance to the condo tower. No preservation of any aspects of the existing storefronts are included.

Toll Brothers was issued demolition permits on Wednesday, November 9 to raze the buildings located at 702-710 Sansom Street and another at 128 S. 7th Street to make room for the tower. The developer told the Philadelphia Inquirer that demos are scheduled for mid-2017 and that the project will take two years.

The historical commission will revisit the nominations in 90 days. Regardless of the outcome then, city officials have argued that it’s unlikely the designations would protect the properties since Toll Brothers filed demolition permits long before the structures were nominated.