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Toll Brothers plan for retail with 16-story tower on Jewelers’ Row

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And the city's design committee still has to weigh in

Toll Brothers plans to include retail on the ground floor of its proposed 16-story tower on Jewelers’ Row that will mimic the current corridor of shops, but they'll have to wait a few weeks if not months before they can start construction, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Architecture critic Inga Saffron, who first wondered what was to become of Jewelers’ Row in a column last year, wrote that Toll Brothers vice president Brian Emmons confirmed plans for five retail shops along 90 feet of frontage. The proposed 16-story tower will be set back 15 feet from the sidewalk.

The project clocks in a 107,000 square feet, which will trigger a meeting with the Civic Design Review and local neighborhood associations. Toll Brothers has 150 days to start that process, the Inquirer's Jacob Adelman reports.

The news comes after the Inquirer first reported that demo permits had been pulled for five buildings on Jewelers’ Row, the first diamond district in the nation. Toll Brothers wants to build an 80-unit high-rise apartment building in their place.

The developer’s previous Philadelphia projects are Naval Square, 2400 South, and 410 at Society Hill. Plans to demolish the Society Hill Playhouse and build residential fell through earlier this year. None of the developments include retail.

The CDR process could take awhile. Registered community organizations need to meet with the developer first and weigh in before the design proposal goes to the committee. The CDR committee can then either vote to conclude the design process or continue it for a second go-around.

In the meantime, local preservationists, business owners, and people who live on Jewelers’ Row are trying to garner support to halt the demolition. As of press time, nearly 4,000 people had signed a petition led by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.