Toll Brothers has finished buying up the section of Jewelers’ Row on Sansom Street in Center City where it wants to build a 24-story mirrored-glass condo building, a step forward in the company’s three-year quest to develop its first high-rise in the city.
The home builder, based in Horsham, has “finalized acquisition of the properties required for our Sansom Street project and will proceed with construction activities accordingly,” spokesperson Timothy Spreitzer said in an email Thursday.
“We remain committed to being a good neighbor as we move through the next phase of this exciting project,” said Spreitzer, who declined to discuss financial details of the transaction.
Toll has had the five parcels on the southeast side of the storied gem-shopping street under contract for years as it overcame challenges to the 85-unit condo tower, largely from groups pushing for the buildings’ preservation as historic assets.
Over the years, Toll’s plan for the building evolved from a 16-story tower, to a 29-story high-rise with a brick facade facing Sansom Street, to its current version of mostly glass.
The company plans to raze the properties spanning 702-710 Sansom St., along with an adjacent property on Seventh Street. The property at 712-714 Sansom is also part of the project site but is not slated for demolition.
After Toll’s plans for a residential tower were disclosed in August 2016, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and other preservationists moved to nominate some of the targeted properties for Philadelphia’s historic register.
The Philadelphia Historical Commission in 2017 postponed a decision on whether to designate the properties amid legal challenges surrounding the development.
The Preservation Alliance also appealed the demolition permits Toll obtained from the city in 2016.
But after Toll cleared its final design reviews for the tower last year and the Preservation Alliance’s challenges failed in court, few obstacles remained in Toll’s path.
Tenants at several of the Sansom Street properties began receiving eviction notices alluding to impending sales last April.
Construction of the tower, which is also slated to include ground-floor retail spaces, could begin before the end of the year, according to the real estate tracker CoStar Group, which reported on one of the property sales — that of 704 Sansom — on its website Wednesday.