April 18, 2016 By Christian Murray
The Landmarks Preservation Commission has notified this district’s elected officials that the Elks Lodge on 44th Drive is not worthy of being landmarked.
In a letter to Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, the LPC wrote that the structure “did not rise to the level of an individual landmark.”
“The agency has determined that this property does not merit designation as an individual landmark due to its comparative lack of historic and architectural significance to other landmarked clubhouses,” according to the letter, dated April 14.
The three-story building, which has unique exterior detailing, is located at 21-42 44th Drive. It was formerly owned by the Sheet Metal Workers’ union and once served as an Elks Lodge, according to Forgotten New York.
Nolan and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer both wrote letters to the LPC last month calling for the building to be saved after learning that it was in danger of be demolished.
“I am very disappointed by the decision,” Nolan said in a statement. “This building is truly a unique structure and its history deserves to be saved.”
Amadeo Plaza, the founder of the Court Square Civic Association, described the decision as “very unfortunate” and said his organization would regroup and see what else can be done.
“The fight to save the Elks Lodge isn’t over,” Van Bramer said. “I disagree with the LPC’s decision and I will continue to call on LPC to designate this building as a landmark. This beautiful building has stood in our community for years, and even as we plan our neighborhood’s future we must make sure we preserve its past.”
Last year demolition permits were filed to destroy the property and Adam Westreich of Alwest Equities told the LIC Post that his company was working with Planet Partners to develop both 21-42 44th Drive and the lot next door as luxury condos.
An online petition to save the structure soon followed, which has generated more than 350 signatures.
Van Bramer announced on March 3 that he had written to landmarks to protect the structure.
On March 8, however, construction workers took jackhammers to the unique exterior details of the building. An elk head was hacked off. The work took place without proper permits.
Amadeo Plaza said that while LPC may have rejected land marking the building, his group would try to figure out other ways to save it.
“Just because it isn’t landmarked doesn’t mean it should be torn down,” he said.