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ZBA to hear opponents’ appeals on Jewelers Row demolition

Plus: A brief timeline of Jewelers Row

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) is expected to consider appeals filed by opponents of the Jewelers Row demolition tomorrow, Wednesday, September 28 at 1 p.m.

Four appeals against Licenses and Inspections (L&I) have been filed for the properties at 702, 704, 706, and 710 Sansom Street by Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and three other opponents of the demolition. They argue that tenants were not properly notified about the demolition permits that the L&I approved.

Toll Brothers plans to demolish five properties on Jewelers Row to build a 16-story residential tower with ground-floor retail. Because the row is zoned CMX-5, the developer is allowed to build the structure by-right. The properties are not designated historic.

Opponents of the project have been working to delay the demolition ever since the news was announced in August. In addition to the appeals, two of the properties have also been nominated for historic designation.

Proponents of the tower include Hy Golberg, Jewelers Row Association president. At a recent panel discussion about Jewelers Row, he told a packed room that 90 percent of the business owners in the diamond district were in favor of the development. That number is based on replies to an email blast sent out to a listserv of members of the association, Golberg said.

Golberg says he has been "very heavily talking to Toll Brothers" in recent weeks. At a meeting with the developers right before the panel discussion, he said he asked to see their design proposal for the residential tower.

The renderings will come sometime in October, they told him.

Tomorrow’s ZBA hearing is at 1 p.m. at 1515 Arch Street, 18th floor.