Philly’s Luxury Residence Buyers Want Some Suburban With Their Urban [Gallery]

Does the Toll Brothers City Living’s Naval Square development shout “city living” to you? It might not. The gated community that fortunately saved William Strickland’s landmark Naval Home on Grays Ferry Avenue seems more suburban than citified.

But it’s not just because of its gates. Even the ungated communities Toll Brothers City Living proposes in Philadelphia can seem less than fully urban. Take 2400 South, an in-progress development on a commercial thoroughfare with no commerce at all. Or how about the strictly residential project–at 410 S. Front–that is planned for the middle of Society Hill’s one real entertainment district?

Turns out, those who buy Toll Brothers City Living properties don’t necessarily want to live above a store.

“We would love to build mixed residential/commercial in this market,” says Brian Emmons, the vice president in charge of Toll’s City Living division, ”but right now, [builders who do] can’t fill their retail. While everyone likes to live near commercial, the luxury demographic buyer chooses to live two to three blocks from it, not directly above it.”

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Bobby Rydell and Bruce Toll Put Houses on the Market Simultaneously, Of Course

It’s as if they’ve lived parallel lives, Robert Ridarelli and Bruce Toll. They both founded empires based on their names (Bobby Rydell; Toll Brothers) in the 1960s. Rydell was a teen idol with hits like “Volare” and “Wild One.” Toll Brothers was a real estate idol with hits like America’s Best Builder and National Builder of the Year. Bobby Rydell starred in a film. Toll Brothers starred in a film. They both called the Philadelphia area home. A lifetime of synergies.

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