The newlywed owners of a historic Douglaston house say they have no plans to harm the 19th century remnant after neighbors rallied outside their home last week, The Courier has learned.
Property owner Xiu Jun Zhai and his wife received a partial job permit by the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) on March 4 to change the number of stories in their 38-60 Douglaston Parkway house, according to an application.
The proposal angered neighboring residents, who said construction would destroy the character of the community and ruin a relic.
Plans were not specific but called for “vertical and horizontal enlargement” of the 1,800-square-foot structure and partial demolition that “affects the exterior building envelope,” the application said.
The house dates back to the 1860s, according to preservationists. It is located within the proposed Douglaston Historic District Extension, which was calendared for landmark designation in 2008.
But the couple, who tied the knot last April and purchased the home in September, said they only plan on demolishing two structures in the backyard that were built without permits after 1952. They include a wood deck with a roof and a separate smaller residence to the rear left of the house.
According to a close friend to the property owners, Zhai does not plan on altering the exterior of the main house on the 9,000-square-feet of land.
“The owner is not taking down the house,” the source said. “They want to start family there.”
The DOB did not confirm the plans in time for press.
Zhai bought the property for $660,000, according to State Senator Tony Avella. The building has been vacant for five years.