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1664 Woodbine St. (right) is slated for a fourth story addition, sparking concerns in the neighborhood.

Two Ridgewood residences in historic territory are slated for redevelopment to make room for more apartments, according to Department of Buildings (DOB) records.

In March, a three-story, three-family building at 1663 Madison St. received a permit to add a fourth story to its existing structure, records show. Two months later, a three-story, six-unit building at 1664 Woodbine St. — directly behind the first building on the same block — received a permit in May to add a fourth story and a penthouse to its existing structure.

With both properties located on National and State Registers of Historic Places, the new developments set an “unfortunate” precedent for the blocks of attached brick homes and make local residents fear gentrification, said Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association President Paul Kerzner.

“In theory, you can take any building in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village that is not part of the city landmarks and that can happen to any property,” Kerzner said. “I’m also concerned about gentrification, because to me it’s the artificial transfer of property value because of speculation.”

A lifelong resident of Ridgewood, Kerzner explained that national and state historic status does not protect a building from redevelopment. Only city landmark status has that power, and the areas in question haven’t been designated as landmarks yet despite Kerzner’s efforts.

At the Madison Street property, the addition would bring the building’s height to 43 feet and a total of 7,076 square feet of residential space. The building was previously used as a community residence for the developmentally disabled, and the proposed development would turn it into seven apartments; two on each of the first three floors and one on the new fourth floor.

The Woodbine Street property would be increased to a height of 54 feet and 7,601 square feet of residential space. The building currently has two units on each of its three floors, but the proposed changes would create an extra unit on the second and third floors, three units on the new fourth floor and one unit in the penthouse for a total of 12 units in the building.

Kerzner added that he was told, in essence, that Ridgewood wasn’t going to get any more city landmarks, and the chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Meenakshi Srinivasan, resigned this past April.

It’s good news for the developers, and they tend not to care about the neighborhoods they enter, Kerzner said.

I would ask them to stop doing what they’re doing because it’s wrong,” Kerzner said. “It’s destroying the integrity of the block.”


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