If you follow Philadelphia real estate development news, you’ve heard about the saga involving Toll Brothers’ plan to build a condo tower on Jewelers Row. The plan first came to light in 2017. We won’t recount the whole story as there are plenty of articles out there that have covered the details of the situation.
To summarize, Toll Brothers battled with the Historical Commission over their plan to demolish 4 buildings on the 700 block of Sansom Street in order to build a condo tower. Toll Brothers was eventually granted permission to proceed with their plan and demolished the stately structures last year.
In May of this year, Toll Brothers announced that they were pausing progress on many of their condominium development projects due to the pandemic and economic uncertainty. All signs seemed to point to the hole at 702-10 Sansom Street becoming a long-term fixture on the block. We have not observed any work happening on the site since then.
There may be some reason for optimism, though. On August 3rd, zoning permits were issued that increased the height of the proposed tower from 307′ 2″ to 329’6″. The permit also made minor changes to the footprints of floors 1, 24, and 25. No details about these changes were provided in the work description. Then, on October 8th, another zoning permit was issued to reduce the number of residential units within the building from 85 to 63.
We’re not sure of the reasoning behind these changes. Toll could be increasing unit sizes as a result of changes in living preferences due to the pandemic. However, that is just speculation. It is unclear if these permits are an indication that Toll Brothers has decided to proceed with this project, or if this is just another chapter in this multi-year story.
Although we are devastated by the loss of the four buildings on Jewelers Row, we definitely don’t want to continue live with a gaping hole in the streetscape for years on end. So, we are hoping that this project finally does move forward.
How do you feel about the project? Do you think these permits are a sign that construction may start in the near future?
Kyle is a commercial real estate agent at Rittenhouse Realty Advisors, a homeowner, and a real estate investor in Philadelphia. Kyle uses his extensive Philadelphia real estate market knowledge to help his clients buy and sell multifamily investment properties, development opportunities, and industrial sites.
Email Kyle@RittenhouseRealty.com if you are looking to buy or sell a property