Money can't replace street's character

It is a sad and bitter irony when the owner of properties that he plans to sell for certain demolition praises the buyer's commitment to "preserve Jewelers Row and protect the heritage of our beloved street" ("Toll Bros. project a welcome addition," Thursday).

That Orwellian turn of phrase is the opposite of the reality that the proposed 16-story condo tower would result in the destruction, not preservation, of three 19th-century buildings that contribute to the unique charm and historic character of Jewelers Row - not to mention displacing several longtime retailers and trades people who are tenants in the doomed buildings.

If the street's property owners and businesses want more customers from residential development, they are already getting them from multiple new and adaptive-reuse residential projects that are underway or proposed in eastern Center City.

The Preservation Alliance's opposition to this destructive project is backed by numerous Jewelers Row tenants and property owners, as well as by more than 6,200 petition signers. They understand that to allow this project will spell the beginning of the end for Jewelers Row. That would be to our city's eternal regret.

|Paul Steinke, executive director, Preservation Alliance

for Greater Philadelphia