Civil War Era Gem Facing Wrecking Ball

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    When 70 Lefferts Place, the old free-standing woodframe between Grand and Classon, went on the market last Spring, there was considerable speculation and fear in the neighborhood that a developer would buy the house only to tear it down. And indeed, now that the sale has been finalized for $2.4 million, it turns out that this is the old beauty’s fate. From what we hear, the developer who bought the place, Christopher Morris, is planning a full demolition to be followed by a 21-unit condo building. While we’re saddened that this is the case, it was almost inevitable given market forces: here was a 7,000-square-foot house with an extra 11,000 square feet of buildable air rights in an unlandmarked part of town. The house’s only real hope had been for the same person to buy the house and the adjacent vacant lot so that the air rights could be transferred and thus fully utilized. We gather that Morris is planning to try to incorporate some the house’s elements into the new facade. We had the pleasure of seeing the gorgeous staircase and widow’s walk first-hand when it was on the market. Stunning. Mr. Morris has received an invitation to attend the Lefferts Place Community meeting on August 2 to share more details of his plans. At this point, we’d describe the mood of residents as a mix of resignation and cautious optimism. We hope Morris’ heart is in the right place on this one. We’ll be watching closely, that’s for sure.
    Stopping to Smell the Roses on Lefferts [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark

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