Schleicher’s Court landmarked by city

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The Herman A. and Malvina Schleicher House attained landmark status Tuesday, 10 months after City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) first announced the city Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to eventually bring the College Point mansion up for a vote.

The commission’s 8-0 decision establishes an extra layer of protection for the character of the 1851 Victorian mansion, also known as Schleicher’s Court, as any facade or exterior changes must now be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission before they can go to the city Department of Buildings for further approval and permits.

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 ” and 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 many of the residents stayed with family members and friends.

The new designation does not have much of an impact on tenants’ lives, said Elizabeth de Bourbon, the commission’s director of communications.

“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.”

The building has been purchased by a new owner, Robert Cunnisse, who attended Tuesday’s commission hearing, according to de Bourbon.

“He said he opposed the designation and asked the commission to postpone a vote until he could retain a lawyer, and we did not,” she said.

Before the designation can go into effect, the Planning Commission will review it, then the Council will consider it for ratification.

Cunnisse could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

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

Updated 6:29 pm, October 10, 2011
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