Hot off the presses! We just got the news City of New York (the “City”) has purchased the newly-landmarked abolitionist home at 227 Duffield Street in Brooklyn. It’s a topic that we have been keeping a close eye on and blogged about on February 25th of this year, and on February 20, 2020.
The property that has been buzzed about was a vital part of the anti-slavery movement. It is thought to be a place where Underground Railroad refugees stayed. During the Civil War era an abolitionist couple named Thomas and Harriet Truesdell owned the house.
The property was named a landmark earlier this month after a decade-long fight, and now according to reports it has been purchased by the City's Department of Citywide Administrative Services for $3.2 million. The attorney for the Seller, Samiel Hanasab, stated that the landmarking of the property depressed its value significantly, leaving the Seller with no choice other than to sell the property.
Samiel Hanasab recently owned the property and had planned to build a 10-story apartment building on the property, with a museum dedicated to its Black history. The plans included demolishing the home-which spurred a resurgence among advocates who had pushed for its landmark status.
Prior to Hanasab’s ownership of this property, “Mamma” Joy Chatel owned the three-story brick home-and she wanted the house to be preserved. Under the Bloomberg administration, the City tried to take the house through eminent domain so that it could be developed as part of a redevelopment project in Downtown Brooklyn. At that time, the City claimed that there wasn’t enough proof to verify the building’s important history.
So far there are no reports about what the City plans to do with the building. It’s been reported that Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray hope to see the property preserved as a memorial to the abolitionist movement.
Looks like there will be more to come, so stay tuned!