Friday, July 3, 2015

Toll Bros.' new Society Hill condo plan

With 73 units and no hotel or restaurant, the NewMarket proposal is way smaller than rival Stamper Square

Toll Bros.' new Society Hill condo plan

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A previous plan for the former NewMarket space, planned as hotel, condos and parking and called Stamper Square. (H2L2)
A previous plan for the former NewMarket space, planned as hotel, condos and parking and called Stamper Square. (H2L2)

Homebuilder Toll Bros., of Horsham, has until Aug. 31 to exercise an option to acquire the long-vacant site of the NewMarket restaurant and retail center, between Front and Second, Pine and Lombard, on the east end of Society Hill, for a condominium development.

Toll's informal proposal, as provided to members of the Society Hill Civic Association and other neighbors in recent meetings, is for a four-story complex of 73 brick-fronted wood-frame condos, no stores or restaurants, with 90 underground parking spaces. Units would start in the $400,000 range for one-bedroom spaces. Toll hopes to start work later this year.

That's more modest than Bridgman Development's 15-story rival Stamper Square plan, for the same site, which included 150 hotel rooms, 77 condos and 350 parking spaces (details corrected)

But the Stamper proposal, opposed by some neighbors who have gotten used to the neighborhood's relative quiet since NewMarket faded in the 1980s, and delayed when financing proved hard to get after the 2008 credit crisis, depended on city zoning revisions that expired in June, Bill Kramer, division director for development planning at the city Planning Commission, tells me. The site is controlled by Larry Linksman's Bridge Funding, a New York financing firm, according to city records.

Toll officials didn't return calls seeking comment. The proposal is being managed by the company's Brooklyn-based urban residential unit, which is developing homes in New York and Hoboken as well as Philadelphia. Toll says it's seen steady sales at its other Philadelphia project at Naval Square around the old Navy retirement home, across Center City by the Schuylkill below South Street.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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