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Panel takes up Jewelers Row historic nomination in challenge to Toll Bros.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission has agreed to consider listing on the city's Register of Historic Places three Jewelers Row buildings eyed for demolition, but the move may be too late to protect the properties.

The commission's Committee on Historic Designation will review nominations for 704 Sansom St. and 706-08 Sansom St. at meetings on Oct. 21, according to nominating documents on its website. The buildings are part of a five-property stretch that Horsham-based developer Toll Bros. wants to replace with a 16-story condo tower.

But Karen Guss, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Licenses and Inspections, which issues those permits, said that was not the case. Since the nomination to the Historical Commission was received after a demolition application for the properties was submitted to her agency, "the nomination does not affect the review of the demolition permit," she said.

Whether the nomination of the properties staves off their demolition may hang on interpretations of a Common Pleas Court ruling in a case this year in West Philadelphia.

In that case, a judge held that the nomination of 4046-48 Chestnut St. trumped a demolition-permit application that had been filed earlier, a decision heartening to the Toll project's opponents.

Guss said the judge issued an order staying demolition until resolution of the nominators' administrative appeals of the demolition permits.  The order was specific to the case and did not establish any  precedent, she said.