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Council landmarks 158-year-old Schleicher House

Final hurdles have been cleared and the Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House has been officially landmarked by the city.

College Point residents have pushed for years for the city to protect the 1851 Victorian mansion, also known as Schleicher’s Court, and following what outgoing City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) called an “overwhelming” Council vote, their hope has finally become a reality.

“It’s been a battle that the community’s tried to accomplish for at least two decades,” Avella said. “I’ve been working with the [city] Landmarks Preservation Commission to get it designated, and I’m glad that I was able to get it approved by the commission and then by the full City Council at my last meeting, which was Monday afternoon.”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously in October to establish an extra layer of protection for the character of the mansion and any facade or exterior changes must now be approved by the commission before they can go to the city Department of Buildings for further approval and permits.

After that vote, the LPC approved the decision to landmark the building before it moved on to the Council.

The building came under public scrutiny in July 2008, when its tenants were forced out after the DOB issued a vacate order on the house because of an antiquated electrical wiring system it characterized as “dangerous ” as well as 17 open DOB and city Environmental Control Board violations.

They were allowed to move back into the home in February, after six months of being homeless, during which time many Schleicher tenants stayed with family members and friends.

Because the landmark status does not apply to the building’s interior, the designation will not greatly affect tenants’ lives, said Elizabeth de Bourbon, the commission’s director of communications, in October.

“It really doesn’t,” she said. “Unless the changes that are being made to the interior affect the facade or exterior of the building, we don’t have jurisdiction over the interior.”

Avella said the designation will, however, make it so tenants do not have to worry that their home will be sold to a developer and demolished.

“It’s one of the oldest buildings in College Point and it’s an example of architecture that is really hard to find anymore,” he said. “I’m sure residents will be happy that one of [the community’s] oldest buildings has been saved for future residents.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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