Historic, or simply an historic mess? That's the question in one Astoria neighborhood as a developer faces off against people trying to save a more than century old home. Our Gene Apodaca has the story.
For 50 years, Ourania Thuharakis has watched the house across the street slowly decay.
“All the different people they come in too many drugs too many people,“ said Thuharakis.
But, plans to finally clean up the dilapidated property at 3107 31st Avenue in Astoria, has her thinking twice.
“They buy a small house and they go up like it,“ she said motioning upward.
In 2015, Developer George Hrisikopoulos purchased the home with plans to tear it down. In its place, according to his still-pending permits, he wants to build a new 6 story, 10 unit apartment complex complete with a restaurant on the first floor.
But, those plans not sitting well with the greater Astoria Historical Society, which says the building has significant historical value.
“If you live in New York city if you’re hear for the arts, if you came here because you want to be near the arts you have the thank the person who put up this house,” said Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
According to the society, the French Second Empire style home was built in the 1870’s by German Immigrant Ferdinand Dulcken. Considered a huge name in the world of music, he’s credited in part with helping the Steinways make New York City a worldwide center of Entertainment.
Because of that history, the society has started an online petition hoping to encourage Council Member Costa Constantinides to support designating the house a city landmark.
“I mean that’s history that’s old you don’t see that in these neighborhoods anymore they’re tearing everything down,“ said another nearby resident.
But, the developer says restoring the home would be too expensive considering its condition and its new footprint.
In a statement he told us, “It’s not in its original state and past repair to return it to its original grandeur. Currently, it’s listed with the Department of Buildings as a 14 single room occupancy building and not a single family structure anymore.”
At least one resident, would not be sad to see it gone.
“I Think it’s better to take her down you know, just make a new one you know,” said that resident.
Ultimately it will be the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to determine whether or not this building will be designated a landmark, a spokesperson for the agency says a request of evaluation is currently being reviewed.
A decision is expected within a month. Council Member Constantinides declined comment, his spokesperson said the decision is out of his jurisdiction.