A preservationist who had hoped to save a Jackson Heights mansion that had once been a doctor’s abode said the structure is in the process of being torn down for a school.
“We’re now at the 12th hour, not the 11th hour,” said Daniel Karatzas, a real estate broker and member of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.
Even as the windows have been removed from the two-story brick building with its slate roof on the northeast corner of 74th Street and 34th Avenue, the mansion’s large size and surrounding yard stands in contrast to the attached homes nearby. The mansion’s location is set to be the home of an annex to IS 230, according to an e-mail from Isaac Carmignani, co-president of Community District Education Council 30. The school is a mere block away at 73-10 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights.
“The CDEC strongly supports the creation of an IS 230 annex to provide some relief of the serious overcrowding in Jackson Heights,” Carmignani said. He added the council had no position on the mansion.
Karatzas, who works nearby the mansion and in the past wanted the structure preserved, said the home had been built in the 1940s for a doctor and the mansion had two entrances for the home and for an office inside. The dwelling was located on the same corner where a small private hospital was once located.
“So these must have been well-regarded physicians who wanted a home and an office across the street,” Karatzas said.
Buyers had been interested in the land for a private residence or for a spot to build attached houses or condominiums, but those plans fell through, Karatzas said. Community Board 3 held a meeting in 2007 to discuss the city’s interest in the property for a school, but confusion over who owned the title to the property prevented the process from going forward.
“In a weird way, it might have survived longer because of the cloud on the title,” Karatzas said.
Carmignani said CB 3, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and the community at large had worked with the CDEC to secure land for the school.
Karatzas said he did not think the property could be retrofitted for a school, but hoped that when the annex is built the community might get a larger say in how it looks than they would have if the land had gone to a private developer.
“I’d hope that the School Construction Authority would allow the community maybe some comments on the aesthetic of what’s going to rise there,” Karatzas said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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