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Downtown Brooklyn building with abolitionist movement ties may become 13-story tower

The owner of 227 Duffield Street filed plans to replace the 19th-century building with a new tower

Screenshot via Google Maps

There may not be much time left for a 19th-century Brooklyn home with ties to the abolitionist movement. Gothamist reports that plans have been filed with the city’s Department of Buildings to replace the two-story brick building at 227 Duffield Street with a 13-story mixed-use tower.

The plans were filed by the building’s owner, Samiel Hanasab, and name ARC Architecture + Design Studio as the firm of record. The mixed-use building would stand 13 stories (or 125 feet high), with just 21 apartments. Per the plans on file, the building would have only one or two apartments per floor, and there would be parking for nearly 100 cars, along with “office use” on the first floor.

The move comes after demolition plans for the building were filed with the DOB in early June, setting off a flurry of activity among preservationists who think the mid-1800s house, believed to be an Underground Railroad stop when owned by prominent abolitionists Thomas and Harriet Lee-Truesdell, is worth saving. The application has not yet been approved.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had previously declined to consider landmarking the building, but following the most recent push to preserve it—which included a petition that has gotten more than 3,000 signatures, and support from local elected officials—the agency is now reviewing a request to evaluate the home for landmark status.

In 2007, the property narrowly avoided being seized through eminent domain by the city, who sought the site in order to build the long-planned Willoughby Square Park. The park, ironically, is now set to honor the area’s abolitionist history with a memorial.