What’s at Stake


In August, it came to light that Toll Brothers City Living had commenced plans to acquire 5 properties along the historic Jewelers’ Row in Center City, Philadelphia. They quietly made agreements with the owners of 702, 704, 706, 708, and 710 Sansom St. and applied for demolition permits with the city. When a demolition permit was posted on the similarly acquired 128 S. 7th St. that also listed the Jewelers’ Row properties, the community learned that the Toll Brothers were planning to demolish these buildings in order to build a 16-story luxury residential tower.

Immediately, the residents, jewelers, neighbors, and local preservation community leapt into action trying to find any way possible to stop the development and save these functional, viable, historic, and significant sites.

Jewelers’ Row is the oldest and second largest diamond district in the United States, and Sansom St. between 7th and 8th Sts. is the heart of the district. The 5 buildings that the Toll Brothers wish to demolish are home to numerous businesses and over 100 employees and/or residents. To demolish these buildings and displace these jewelers will tear out the heart of the district and effectively shut down businesses that have operated for decades. To do so is to recklessly and irreversibly hurt this incredible legacy industry that has prospered in this location and been a staple for residents and tourists alike for over 100 years.