Construction Underway At Long-Empty Albemarle Road House

1216 Albemarle Road construction

The house at 1216 Albemarle Road (between Westminster and Argyle), which has been boarded up and empty for years, is finally showing signs of life again. The Landmarks Preservation Commission issued a Certificate of Appropriateness permitting the proposed work on August 30, following a hearing in July, and workers were on the scene beginning construction last week.

A permit for work was previously approved by the LPC in 2003, which allowed for construction of a one-story rooftop addition and alterations to the windows. The new certificate notes that this work was partially completed. Since then, the house was listed for sale by multiple real estate agents, with a sale finally recorded in December 2012. In 2007, it was listed for $1.9M. According to public records, the 2012 sale price was $218,000.

1216 Albemarle construction, via Ditmas Deb

Ditmas Deb shared this photo of the building as seen through the plywood fence, which has been set up along the sidewalk for years. Several complaints have been made to the Department of Buildings about the fence and the construction, or lack thereof, since 2003.

The approved proposal includes the construction of a gabled rooftop addition, plus changes to the facade on all sides, and more. The LPC notes that the changes “introduce a design inspired by the surrounding buildings and based on documentation of the historic building that used to exist on the site,” adding that the materials, use of multiple paint colors, and details like bay windows are often found on other homes in the historic district.

“The proposed additions and alterations will result in a new design that is more harmonious with the surrounding buildings and streetscapes,” the LPC writes, adding that “the proposed work will enhance the special architectural and historic character of the building and the Prospect Park South Historic District.”

According to the 1979 Prospect Park South Historic Designation Report, this is one of the newer homes in the area — it was designed in 1965 by architect Salvatore G. Cammarota for Madonia Builders. The reports cites this house as one (along with 1220 Albemarle and 132 Argyle) that “does not conform to the architectural character of the older buildings in the District.” It continues:

When he planned Prospect Park South, Dean Alvord intended that each house within the area be designed separately so that no two houses would be alike, thus adding to the picturesque qualities that he was trying to achieve. These three houses with their brick and synthetic shingle siding, spindly porch posts, pseudo-Colonial doorway enframements… swelled oriels, and garages are virtually identical, thus ignoring the principle that Alvord had established.

So will this finally be a building that works with the historic houses of the neighborhood, and, more importantly, will someone finally move in? The LPC permit expires in 2019, so we hope to find out before then.

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