Owner of Underground Railroad house loses appeal for fifth-floor addition
Tony Mamounas, the owner of the historic Hopper Gibbons House at 339 West 29th Street, lost his appeal to keep an allegedly illegally-constructed addition atop his property, DNAinfo reported. The Board of Standards and Appeals voted to have Mamounas appear before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which will determine whether the fifth-floor addition can stay.
The building was previously a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves to make their way north to Canada. The LPC designated the property a landmark in 2010 — five years after Mamounas began construction on the fifth floor.
The city Department of Buildings reportedly allowed the fifth-floor construction by accident. As previously reported, Mamounas was ordered to remove the addition in November 2010, but has not yet done so.
Local preservationists, residents and politicians for years have wanted the property to return to its original height in order to stay in line with the rest of the block. [DNAinfo] —Zachary Kussin