Reprieve for Richmond Hill Republican Club?
From the Queens Chronicle
Richmond Hill’s Fading History
by Joseph Wendelken, Assistant Editor
A judge’s decision to postpone the auctioning of a neighborhood landmark last week came as a small victory for Richmond Hill preservationists who have watched the demolition of a history-steeped building next door.
State Supreme Court Judge Duane Hart last Friday pulled the Richmond Hill Republican Club — a 99-year-old Colonial Revival style structure — off the block, three weeks after workers began dismantling the 120-year-old Simonson Funeral Home. A lien of between $600,000 and $800,000 in taxes and interest is due the city on the Republican Club’s abandoned property, prompting the auction. But Hart postponed the sale until April 25, after Republican Club representative Joseph Kasper revealed that an unidentified party has expressed interest in occupying and restoring the building.
Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village), who stood beside Kasper in the Jamaica courtroom, cited the building’s historical significance in his effort to postpone the auction. He further told Hart that he and Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) planned to petition the city to purchase the property and establish it as a community center, setting up a potential bidding war.
In the roomful of people present to bid last Friday, various realtors and developers spoke of transforming it into office space or a catering hall. Whoever eventually purchases the ramshackle brick building will have to maintain its classical pediment, roof-line balustrade and the rest of the exterior, given its status as a city landmark.