Several weeks ago, this blog wrote about the controversy surrounding the proposal by Toll Brothers to demolish five properties on a stretch of Sansom Street known as Jewelers' Row in Philadelphia and replace them with a 16-story condominium tower. At that time, the city notified the developer that the commercial real estate project must be considered by the City's Design Review committee before demolition can begin. Now, the dispute has found a new forum - the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Commission.
The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia invoked a different land use law by filing a petition with the Commission asking for review by the Committee on Historic Designation to determine whether the five buildings should be placed on the city's Register of Historic Places. The letter requesting inclusion on the register said that the buildings were "significant" because of their connection with one of the city's early publishers, Henry C. Lea. According to the letter, the buildings are also representative of commercial "street architecture" of the late 19th century.