Toll Brothers unveils new design for Jewelers’ Row tower

Ryan Heenan
Ryan Heenan
Published on February 2, 2018

Wherever these builders go, controversy seems to follow.

Toll Brothers has released new renderings of the highly disputed condo tower it plans to build in the middle of historic Jewelers’ Row. The Horsham-based development company presented a glassier, shorter vision of the luxury high-rise it first introduced almost exactly a year ago.

The original 29-story, glass and brick tower received a chilly reception, panned by neighbors, preservations and Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron as an “awkward vertical sandwich” that will “disrupt the street’s ecosystem, with its distinctive mix of artisan workshops, wholesalers and jewelry stores.”

Now the developer has come back with a new plan for a 24-story tower sheathed fully in glass. Instead of the 115 units first proposed, the building will include 85 units and more room for shops, with the project’s retail space increasing from 2,600 to 4,500 square feet.

The older proposal depended on a complicated scheme to purchase development rights from surrounding properties. Without buying the properties themselves, Toll Brothers tried to argue there was a “unity of use” between the lots they owned and those where they had acquired development rights. The legalities of the concept were murky, however, and the company put the project on ice for much of the rest of 2017. Then in late December, Toll Brothers obtained a permit they needed to move forward with the project. The new plan allows the developer to use the air rights above the older low-rise building next door at 712-714 Sansom St.

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