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The Fight to Save a Bed-Stuy Mansion is Not Over Yet

As demolition inspections move forward, Bed-Stuy residents are still trying to salvage parts of the mansion at 441 Willoughby Avenue.
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Developer Tomer Erlich of Brooklyn 360 Realty violently and recklessly demolished a beloved 120-year-old building after the Landmarks Preservation Commission failed Bed-Stuy residents. Photo Credit: Google Maps

Despite a months-long effort to save a Bed-Stay mansion, its destruction seems imminent according to neighbors, reports Patch.

Bed-Study residents have been tirelessly fighting to save the 120-year-old mansion at 441 Willoughby Avenue that is set to be replaced with condos. Though demolition permits have not been approved for the site yet, developers recently passed a pre-demolition inspection with the city on Thursday.

The Willoughby Avenue mansion also known as The Job Dangler House was completed in 1902 and continues to be owned by The Oriental Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star, a masonic organization, who have used it largely as an event space over the decades.

"Weddings, parties, baby showers, block association meetings — basically anyone who lives in the community has been there for some kind of event," stated Lauren Cawdrey, member of the Willoughby Nostrand Marcy Block Association and local business owner. "It's been a big pillar of the community." 

Salvaging the building continues to be a primary focus of the block Association. However, the group has committed architectural salvage experts to try to save some of the mansion's original elements.

"As soon as a demo permit is granted there's really nothing else you can do," said Cawdrey. "My goal right now is to try to salvage.... There's definitely stuff there that's valuable.

The salvage plan is the group's latest step, but their original plan to get the building designated as a landmark is still in the works, though neighbors worry this effort will stall after the demotion gets green lit.

Nearly 1,200 neighbors have signed the petition to designate the mansion a historical site as of this week.

And should the demotion get green lit, the next step for the community would be monitoring the ongoing construction. Given the size of the property, a high-rise could potentially be planned much to the community's dismay.

"We want to see what the plans are," Cawdrey stated. "I just want [developers] to know we're watching — We're going to be a part of this."