Mayor Kenney calls Toll's latest Jewelers Row plans 'deeply disturbing'

Mayor Kenney said in an emailed release that Toll Bros. should adopt the non-binding recommendations that the city's design-review board makes when its members consider the project.

Mayor Kenney said Friday that developer Toll Bros.' latest remarks concerning its condo tower proposal for Jewelers Row — including a stated plan to nearly double the height of the building  — were "deeply disturbing."

Kenney said in an emailed release that he was urging Horsham-based Toll to reconsider its plan to build the higher tower and to not preserve facades from the second and third stories of the buildings at the proposed development site.

He also said Toll should adopt the nonbinding recommendations that the city's design-review board makes when its members consider the project. 

"If they do not, Toll Bros. will be sending a clear message that they no longer wish to have a productive relationship with the City of Philadelphia," Kenney said.

Toll is working on a plan to demolish five buildings on Jewelers Row, the venerable Sansom Street shopping strip, to build its luxury condo project.

The developer said this week that a revised plan involving a deal with adjacent property owners would permit it to build a 29-story tower, rather than the 16-story tower originally proposed.

Brian Emmons, a Toll vice president, also told the Philadelphia Business Journal this week that he was unsure whether any of the existing buildings at the development site would be preserved.

Preservation groups have mounted a campaign to save the buildings from demolition, including an attempt to secure protections for several of the buildings through Historical Commission review.

In October, Kenney said he had met with Toll representatives to seek their commitment to preserve part of the buildings' facades. 

"I had hoped from our previous conversations that [Toll] intended to be a good corporate citizen ... but this information calls that into question," he said Friday. "I am urging Toll Bros. to reconsider these decisions."

Tim Spreitzer, a spokesman for Toll's City Living division, which is developing the project, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.