City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said a historic Bayside home he proposed for the city to preserve seven years ago will be up for landmark consideration later this month.
The Ahles House, at 39−24 213th St. in Bayside, was constructed in the early 1870s by Robert Bell, nephew of Bayside founder Abraham Bell, for his daughter, Lillie, and her husband, John William Ahles, as a wedding gift. Ahles was a prominent grain merchant and an officer of the New York Product Exchange.
Avella said most of the mansion’s original architectural features are still intact. The councilman first began advocating for the building to be landmarked in 2002 and made a formal proposal three years later.
“The building is one of the oldest in Bayside and must be protected from falling prey to future real estate development,” he said. “It’s a unique building, so I’m happy that after seven years something will be done.”
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote whether to designate the building as a landmark during a March 24 meeting. The proposal will then go before the Department of City Planning Department and the Council.
The Ahles House includes two apartments that are currently rented out by the Florida−based owners. Avella said the property’s owners have been against landmarking the building, but that he does not believe they will attempt to change the site’s facade.
“They’ve been opposed to it, but they are permanent residents of Florida,” he said. “We will not stop them from maintaining it as a rental property. We just want them to preserve the house for Bayside’s history.”
If the home becomes a landmark, the owners would not be allowed to change its exterior facade or its mansion−style windows that reach the floor.
Avella said the Ahles House would be the second in the neighborhood to be landmarked, following the designation of the historic Stone House, at the corner of 36th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, in 2006.
Paul DiBenedetto, a member of Community Board 11 and one of the vice presidents of the Bayside Historical Society, said he lives down the street from the Ahles House. He believes the home is a crucial piece of neighborhood history.
“It’s the oldest house in the neighborhood and an important link to our past,” he said. “We’ve lost so much, so we would really like to save this building.”
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
©2009 Community News Group
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