The tar paper and plywood that have wrapped a modest wooden frame house since it was damaged by fire more than a decade ago are finally giving way to new siding.
It was just a few months ago that we heard hammering and saw scaffolding on the second floor of 173 St. James Place in Clinton Hill, although there was little evidence of work from the street. That has now changed with new siding up on the side facade and a portion of the front.
Work wasn’t in progress during a recent walk past the modest little house; instead we found a stop work order posted on the exterior. Department of Buildings records show that a complaint was filed in early August for work on a landmarked building without a permit. Meanwhile, Landmarks records show that an application for the project had been filed in late July and a Certificate of No Effect ultimately issued on August 27.
Landmarks approved a restoration for the derelict building that includes repairing the roof and exterior walls, installing new painted wood clapboards on the visible facades and painted fiber-cement clapboards on the secondary facades, reconstructing the porch with columns, restoring the railings and cornice, and installing new windows. The final paint color for the restored facade isn’t specified, and the permit notes all the finish selections must be submitted for review and approval.
A permit to change the certificate of occupancy from a one-family to a two-family and restore the “damaged partitions” was issued by the Department of Buildings in March. The application was filed in 2013 and a permit was first issued in 2015. The applicant of record is architect and Pratt professor Brent Porter, who helped out with the Broken Angel around the corner.
With the Landmarks permit in place it could mean that one of the oldest houses in the Clinton Hill Historic District, essentially a shell since the 2004 fire, will finally move from neglected eyesore to restored beauty.
[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]
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