Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gorgeous Kreischer Mansion Is Up For Grabs

Here is some exciting news. Issac Yomtovian, owner of our favorite Staten Island Mansion, plans to donate it to a charitable organization. I do hope that The Staten Island Museum takes it. They need more space for their archives.
From The Staten Island advance:
The owner of the Kreischer Mansion has delayed plans to build an active-adult community on the site in Staten Island’s Charleston neighborhood until the market stabilizes, but is accepting proposals to donate the 19th century brick magnate’s home to a charitable organization.

Turning over the landmark hilltop mansion to charity has been part of Ohio-based developer Isaac Yomtovian’s master plan since he purchased the five-acre estate in 1999 for $1.4 million.

He just expected to do it after breaking ground on Kreischerville, an upscale, maintenance-free condominium development for adults 55 and over.

“I am not waiting until the market is 100 percent recovered to begin construction, but I have to see some stabilizing factor,” Yomtovian said. “Either way, I don’t want to delay the donation process any longer.”

The criteria for interested organizations is two-fold: They must be in good standing with the financial wherewithal to maintain the 10-room home, and their mission must be compatible with the Kreischerville project — such as a museum, art gallery, religious organization or a college.

Proposals will be vetted by Jack Stern, Yomtovian’s attorney, and Ronald Victorio, the architect who oversaw the renovation of the mansion. The proposals will then be brought before elected officials and Community Board 3.

The selected organization will have full use of the property until construction on the housing begins. The mansion will also serve as a clubhouse for Kreischerville residents.

The Kreischer Mansion was built in 1885 on Arthur Kill Road by wealthy brick manufacturer Balthasar Kreischer for his son, Charles. It was one of two identical homes overlooking a neighborhood that was then called Kreisherville. The second house, built for his son, Edward, was demolished.

The existing property was landmarked in 1968.

In 1997, the home became the site of a failed Victorian restaurant.

It fell into disrepair until Yomtovian purchased the property with the vision of creating the “Kreischer Senior Corridor” — several private pay senior communities modeled on baby boomer developments built in other states.

Yomtovian won several difficult approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission and City Planning to construct his housing project, a four-story, L-shaped building with between 124 and 130 units, an underground heating garage, pool, fitness center and some commercial office space.

More recently, the mansion made headlines as the scene of a grisly murder of a Bonanno crime family associate. The Bonanno hitman found guilty of murder last month was a caretaker hired by Yomtovian.

Despite the difficulties he faced since purchasing the property, Yomtovian is looking forward.

Since word has gotten out that he has decided to go ahead with donating the mansion, he has received several phone inquiries from interested organizations. He said he also contacted the Staten Island Institute for Arts and Sciences — one of the condominium project’s earliest boosters — which has diaries, business records, photographs and family portraits of the Kreischer family.

But Yomtovian wants to make it an open process.

“I feel it’s not fair if we don’t give a chance to every charitable organization who meets the qualifications,” he said.

Brief proposals outlining an organization’s mission, how they intend to use the property, how they will maintain it and how they are compatible with the Kreischerville project can be sent to Jack Stern at 1189 Forest Ave., Staten Island, N.Y., 10310; or Ronald Victorio, 694 Forest Ave., Staten Island, N.Y., 10310.