Pearl Properties plans 35-story tower on Jewelers’ Row

Abandoned Toll Brothers site gives way to 99-unit project

Pearl Properties Unveils 35-Story Tower on Jewelers Row

Pearl Properties president Jim Pearlstein along with a rendering of the planned project at 708 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Getty, Pearl Properties, Das Architects, Inc.)

Pearl Properties is sizing up its jewel of a Philadelphia site after Toll Brothers cut its losses.

Pearl is planning a 35-story apartment building at 708 Sansom Street on the city’s Jewelers Row, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The project went before the Washington Square West Civic Association this week and has a date with the Civic Design Review Committee in early February.

The project calls for 99 rental apartments on the site. There will be two penthouses with rooftop terraces, 1,500 square feet of commercial space and 50 parking spaces on floors two through four, which will require city approval.

An all-important hearing in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment is expected to come in late spring.

The site has a controversial history. 

Multiple historic row homes were knocked down to make room for the Toll Brothers project in 2019, according to Philly Voice, where the developer had already spent three years planning out a project. Preservationists wanted to save the row homes or at least have them incorporated into Toll Brothers’ project, efforts supported by then-Mayor Jim Kenney, who exhausted legal avenues to fight the developer.

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The developer wanted to put a luxury condo project on the site with 63 units across 24 stories, but saw its plans fail to materialize during the pandemic.

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Last year, Pearl paid Toll Brothers $7.5 million to acquire the site, according to property records reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Jim Pearlstein’s firm released its first renderings for the site in October while promising the final version of the proposal was not locked in.

Pearl’s previous projects in Philadelphia include the 98-unit Beacon on the corner of South 16th and Walnut streets and the 167-unit Harper on South 19th Street between Chestnut and Walnut streets.

Toll Brothers recently turned its attention to single-family development in Greater Philadelphia, acquiring a 21-acre site in Spring City for $2.64 million.

Holden Walter-Warner