Jersey City zoning board to decide on demolition of post-Civil War home

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The fate of an 1890s Journal Square home is on the Jersey City zoning board’s agenda this Thursday.

The owners of 238 Academy St. are appealing the building’s protected status in order to pave the way for the demolition of the house, one of three terraced houses that was historically one large house – and the conservators are not happy.

“It’s kind of like having a slice of a birthday cake or a wedding cake,” Chris Perez, president of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, said of the plan to remove 238 Academy from the city. row of houses.

The property’s listed owners, Onkar Singh and Gurdeep Sachdev, could not be reached for comment on their plans for the property.

Jersey City designated the historically significant 238 Academy last year, protecting it from demolition, in a ruling noting distinctive late 19th-century architectural features like window and door patterns, faux mansard roof of the house and the full-width porch over the lodge.

“Although the building is not an example of Second Empire style architecture, it is an example of a vernacular style residential building typical of the late 19th century period of development,” says the determination of the town.

More importantly, there is no way to tear down 238 Academy without affecting the house next door, 238½ Academy. Approving the demolition would be “negligent”, wrote Tanya Marione, director of urban planning, since the buildings share a common wall and foundation.

An engineer hired by the owners disagrees in a letter to Marione, writing that the demolition can be done without affecting the neighboring building.

The stakes are higher than this house, Perez said — cases like 238 Academy could set a precedent for the future of preservation in the city.

“I think a lot of these structures have been torn down over the years,” Perez said, “and if we don’t start preserving them better, we really won’t have much left to reference the course” of evolution. . of Jersey City architecture.


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