State Supreme Court Justice Thomas D. Nolan Jr. denied in all respects an application for demolition of historic 66 Franklin Street brought by the owner Joseph Boff.
In his March 22, 2012 decision, Justice Nolan found that Mr. Boff’s claims had previously been denied by the Court in an April 11, 2011 decision and that Boff, an experienced real estate developer who bought the property presumably with knowledge that its structural integrity had been compromised, lacked standing to bring the claim under Section 382 of the State’s Executive Law. As previously found, the Court noted that Boff might still obtain a demolition permit by applying to the City’s Design Review Commission, which has jurisdiction over demolition of the buildings located in the local historic district.
The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation has opposed demolition of the house at 66 Franklin Street since it was first proposed in December 2008. “The Foundation is pleased that both City Court Judge Jeffery Wait and Justice Nolan have agreed with the Foundation’s position that Mr. Boff needs to follow the process that the City has in place. It is the Foundation’s hope that the owner will reconsider his desire to demolish the building or reduce his asking price so that another person may purchase the building and rehabilitate this important example of Saratoga Springs’ architectural history,” said Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Executive Director Samantha Bosshart.
In the meantime the Foundation will continue to offer assistance in any way possible; this includes finding a buyer as well as offering a $50,000 grant to an owner who rehabilitates the structure in accordance with the Design Review Commission’s standards.
The Winans-Crippen House at 66 Franklin Street, built in 1871, is a contributing structure in the Franklin Square Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Franklin Square area contains a collection of 19th Century structures whose architecture documents the growth of Saratoga Springs as one of America’s most important resort destinations. The Winans-Crippen House, built for David Winans, a local merchant, and subsequently owned by George Crippen, owner of a dry goods business and later a women’s dress manufacturer, is a unique example of a Second Empire style townhouse built on a narrow city lot. The house was designed by prominent Saratoga Springs architect John D. Stevens, who also designed the now lost United States and Grand Central Hotels on Broadway. It is one of a handful of structures designed by Stevens remaining in Saratoga Springs. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has recognized the importance of the structure in its magazine Preservation.