The Real Deal New York

Tesla fans power L.I. lab sale

Online fundraising brings in $1.1M to save historic property

August 27, 2012 01:00PM

From left: Matthew Inman, Wardenclyffe tower and Nikola Tesla

Electricity is in the air after Seattle-based internet cartoonist Matthew Inman successfully raised $1.1 million in little more than a week to save inventor Nikola Tesla’s Shoreham, N.Y. laboratory on Long Island. According to Businessweek, Inman, of theoatmeal.com fame, posted a funding plea on the crowd-funding website Indiegogo on August 15 after learning of an $850,000 matching grant through New York State.

For years Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, designed by Sanford White, has been a source of contention between the site’s owner, AGFA Corporation, which wants to sell the site, and historic preservationists, who want to found a museum on the property. Now it seems that followers of the eccentric electrical pioneer’s groundbreaking discoveries will finally have their day.

“I was blown away,” Jane Alcorn, president of Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, said. “I kept refreshing the page and refreshing the page and the number kept going up. I went to bed after 1 [a.m.] that night, but I didn’t really get any sleep, to be honest.”

The property is currently asking a negotiable $1.6 million, according to John O’Hara of Corporate Realty Services who is representing AGFA in the sale. This is only the latest New York property to benefit from crowd-funding websites, which are becoming increasingly influential in the real estate market. [Businessweek] – Christopher Cameron

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