By Bill Parry
Mystery surrounds the future of the Steinway Mansion.
Philip Loria, an Astoria-based attorney, is denying he sold historic home to attorney Karl McNamara, which the TimesLedger Newspapers reported Monday based on information provided by the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
“I want to make it unequivocally clear that the Steinway Mansion was never sold not is it in contract to be sold,” Loria said. “Furthermore, I do not know of any attorney Karl McNamara not had I ever had any discussions, conversations or dealings whatsoever with this alleged individual.”
Karl McNamara is scheduled to make a presentation at a public meeting at the Greater Astoria Historical Society Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss the purchase of the iconic mansion, his plans to restore it and open the Steinway Conservatory.
In a mission statement received by Greater Astoria Historical Society Executive Director Bob Singleton, McNamara writes, “The Steinway Conservatory is dedicated to providing a tuition-free, world class musical education for all gifted individuals who come from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Singleton also runs Friends of the Steinway Mansion, a group that advocates for the landmarked 27-room mansion, built by the legendary piano-making Steinway family in 1858. Traffic on the group’s Facebook page picked up on April 23 when the trees on the property were cut down. Later in the spring the hill upon which the mansion sits, land that is not landmarked, was excavated to create room for the construction of 11 warehouses.
In an email exchange Monday afternoon, Singleton asked McNamara “I take it you own the place and the deal has closed?”
McNamara responded 20 minutes later with “Yes. Wouldn’t be giving the presentation otherwise!”
McNamara and his public relations firm, NCC Design, have not responded to repeated questions from TimesLedger Newspapers.
“Notwithstanding, the proposed Steinway Music Conservatory might be a viable option for the future of the Steinway Mansion and I am open to hear any proposals,” Loria said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr