Neighbors Hunt for Buyer to Restore Row House on One of Sunset Park’s Best Blocks

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A group of neighbors on one of Sunset Park’s best-preserved blocks are hunting for a preservation-minded buyer to restore a three-story brownstone row house at 514 47th Street, which is for sale for $1,180,000. The brownstone exterior with terra cotta detail and original ironwork, above, appears to be in good condition, but the inside appears to have been stripped of all detail save the staircase. (Lots of interior shots after the jump, below.)

The house is on the corner of 5th Avenue, a busy commercial strip, so residents fear the worst. Neighbors would like to find “new owners who plan on restoring it versus investors who want to rip it apart to make a taller building and/or add unsightly retail on the ground level,” block resident Jeff Sundheim told us. “Since it’s the house closest to the 5th Avenue retail district it’s quite likely that could happen. The same thing happened on my old block nearby and it was tragic,” he said.

Sunset Park residents have been pushing for landmarking for years and, in the meantime, trying to prevent inappropriate alterations. A flyer below, from a Sunset Park landmarking campaign, shows a house on 54th Street between between 4th and 5th Avenues which lost its cornice when its hidden fourth floor was enlarged. Another house at 472 42nd Street recently gained a few new floors, a new facade and a laundromat on the ground floor, below.

But despite these setbacks, Sunset Park preservationists have had success. Renovations are under way to restore three houses on 47th Street on the same block as the house for sale. All three houses were, like No. 514, similarly stripped of detail and covered with linoleum when they were purchased by new buyers recently, according to Sundeim. The other houses on the block are in wonderful condition and have been in the same families for decades — in one case for 53 years, he said.

The asking price of No. 514 is higher than other recent sales on the block, perhaps because of its commercial potential. Others on the block sold for under a million in the last year and a half. Click through to see photos of the house for sale, which were taken by another neighbor who attended the open house. (There are no interior photos on the listing.)

Anyone know a buyer who might be interested?

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Above, a flyer for a Sunset Park preservation campaign shows a house on 54th Street between between 4th and 5th avenues. Below, a house at 472 42nd Street recently gained a few new floors, a new facade and a laundromat on the ground floor.

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