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Bay Ridge’s Storybook Home on the Market

The Brooklyn Paper
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A Bay Ridge popular landmark — which is also an official New York City landmark — has hit the market.

The distinctive and beloved “Gingerbread House,” at 8220 Narrows Avenue, was listed for sale by realtor Brown Harris Stevens on October 29th, with a selling price of $12 million.

The realtor’s website, which offers a slide show of images of the structure, within and without, pitches the building for its unique character, calling it both “world-class and otherworld­ly.” Among the home’s features noted on the web page are three wood-burning fireplaces and elaborate interior detailing, including, “embedded artwork throughout, pictorials set into walls, scenes on antique leaded windows.”

“By having the Gingerbread House landmarked, we were preserving our own little national treasure,” recalled Jerry Fishman, who bought the house in 1985 with wife Diane.

In a neighborhood where the sale of large old homes has often foretold impending demolition, and the replacement of the homes with cookie-cutter multi-family condominiums, it’s good news that such a fate does not await the venerable old mansion, noted Victoria Hofmo, the founder of the Bay Ridge Conservancy.

“It’s very unique, and very special,” she stressed, adding, “Not only is the house protected, but the property is protected. You don’t usually have property landmarked, but the house’s relationship to nature is really essential.”

Ron Gross, a member of Community Board 10 who with Eric Rouda spearheaded efforts to create the Senator Street Historic District, concurred.

“This house has the protection we need, that I wish we had elsewhere,” Gross remarked. “I just wish other places in Bay Ridge had the same protection. This house should be the symbol that residents of Bay Ridge should be looking toward, what a house can be, what preservation should be.”

The 5,800-square-foot house -- which has room to sprawl, sited as it is on an acre of land -- is known throughout the neighborhood for its quirky details including its facade of rough uncut stone and a charming irregular roof that mimics thatch. It was built in 1917 in the Arts and Crafts style.

In 1989, the Gingerbread House -- which was designed by architect James Sarsfield Kennedy for Howard E. and Jessie Jones -- was the first building in Bay Ridge to be designated a landmark. Subsequently, the Bennett-Farrell House on 95th Street between Shore Road and Marine Avenue was designated, after a long fight to save it.

According to PropertyShark.com, New York City has assessed the value of the house for 2009 as $2,582,000; that figure is tentatively set to rise in 2010 to $3,450,000.

According to Zillow.com, monthly mortgage payments for the house, based on a selling price of $12 million, would be $50,547.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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