Owner opposed SI designation

Owner purchased 1853 house with intent to demolish and develop. On July 11, 2006, Landmarks held a hearing on the John and Margaret Thompson House at 150 Taylor Street in the West New Brighton Neighborhood of Staten Island. The Thompson House was built in 1853 for John Thompson, an Irish immigrant who worked as a silk printer. The three-bayed house was built in the Greek Revival style, which was popular in mid-19th century Staten Island.

At the hearing, several neighbors and nearby residents, many owners of historic homes themselves, expressed concerns about old buildings being destroyed and replaced with row houses, and the resulting loss of character and history on Staten Island’s south shore. A representative of Council Member Michael E. McMahon urged designation, calling the house “of historic importance to Staten Islanders.” The Historic Districts Council and the Society for the Architecture of the City supported designation as well.

The owner, Dominick Miranda, recently purchased the house, and strongly opposed landmarking. Miranda’s attorney, Brian Payne, explained that Miranda purchased the house for the land value only, and signed a contract to build three homes on the property. Payne also claimed that Landmarks never notified Miranda of the possible designation and that his requests for information had gone unheeded. The owner claimed that the building was “not fit for habitation,” and presented a slideshow showing extensive water and termite damage, broken plaster, and floorboards torn up by vandals searching for copper piping. Payne also claimed that Miranda had already invested $538,205 in the property, and that it would cost $418,903 more to restore. Even if Miranda could subdivide and develop the remainder of the lot after designation, Payne claimed it would cost over $1.2 million to develop, and he still would face a net loss.

At the July 11th meeting, Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney asked that the discussion be continued another day, given the amount of information presented to Landmarks. The hearing continued on August 1st, with further testimony from designation supporters. Afterwards, Tierney closed the hearing without further discussion, stating that he was “not ready to make a good faith decision as to how to proceed.” Tierney also said that, “the owner has had enough difficulties, that I take responsibility for, and don’t want to prolong,” asking that the discussion on designation be held as soon as possible.

LPC: John C. and Margaret Thompson House, 150 Taylor Street (LP-2203) (July 11, 2006), (Aug. 1, 2006).

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