New Owner of Crown Heights’ Oldest House Plans Condos

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Crown Heights’ oldest home, a mid-19th century wood frame at 1375 Dean Street known as the Susan B. Elkins House, has a new owner, who plans to fix it up and convert it to condos. Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee last night approved Amber Mazor of Perfect Renovation‘s plan to build five two- and three-bedroom condo units inside the house. He plans to fully restore the exterior of the landmarked building to its 1939 tax photo condition, including the balcony, windows and doors, and replace much of the crumbling wood structure with non-combustible material.

The project’s architect, Richard Goodstein of Crown Heights-based NC2 Architecture, explained that the house will get a three-story addition on the back that isn’t visible from the street. The addition will have a glass rear wall and a stucco finish on the sides that matches the existing walls and masonry. Each unit will have a large terrace in the back and open plan kitchen, living and dining rooms. A rear quadrant of the roof will also be removed for a roof terrace.

The home, which is almost a cube, has a hidden half story and a pyramid-shaped roof that is not visible from the street. (The house measures 40 feet wide by 35 feet deep by 33 feet high, according to public records.) “We wanted to design the extension to be purely geometric but in deference to the original building,” said Goodstein. “Undoubtedly, it’s a departure in style. But as architects and designers, we felt that this was more correct.”

The LPC will consider the proposal in a month or two.

Mazor also owns 1372 Dean across the street, which he’s converting to four condos. Work will begin soon on the project, which recently got its alteration permits and received Landmarks’ stamp of approval earlier this year. Mazor bought the property for $1,320,000 in 2013. 

A contract (not a deed) for the sale of the Elkins house to Mazor for was recorded in April. No price is recorded.

The Elkins house has been deteriorating since the early 1980s, and it has been vandalized. The previous owner, Real Properties, paid $194,000 for it in 2011 and promised to restore the exterior and convert it to apartments. That never happened. Instead, the firm gutted what was left of the interior and was sanctioned by Community Board 8 for “demo by neglect” when gaping holes appeared in the roof. Then the firm put it on the market for $1,100,000.

It’s “essentially a ruin right now,” said Goodstein.

Oldest House in Crown Heights North Now More Ruined and Expensive Than Ever [Brownstoner]
1375 Dean Street Coverage [Brownstoner]

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