Bed-Stuy renovation leads to big debt

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When a Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone saw one of its walls collapse during a dubious renovation in January, few could have anticipated the community conflict that would emerge from the accident. While homeowner Robert Providence said that the unlicensed work that led to the collapse, which was being conducted in the basement of his $770,000 townhouse at 329 Macdonough Street, was done without his permission, the onus fell on him to restore his home in Bed-Stuy’s historic district. Although city officials had originally ordered the building be demolished due to safety concerns, neighbors successfully lobbied to keep it around. Providence has since wound up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but preservationists are happy — even if they can’t show their enthusiasm monetarily. “No one has the money to help,” Providence said.