Last week renderings were revealed for 489 Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill. According to New York YIMBY the building will receive an additional floor and raise up to 50 feet, compared to current 39 feet. Construction will alter the original structure, creating 21 apartments which will average 600 square feet apiece. Tenants will also have access to a rooftop recreational space. Permits for the building were approved in 2015 but last week marks the first time the new design has been made public.
The building has a rich history in the neighborhood. The Brownstowner’s profile from 2013 shows that the building was probably built in the early 1870s, at a time when Clinton Hill was still a suburban neighborhood, consisting of fine villas on large lots.
The president of Maxwell & Company, a stock brokerage, Lascelles E. Maxwell built it for his family. They lived in the house until 1906, when it became the property of the Ulysses S. Grant chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic. The organization turned one of the parlors into a museum, with a collection of military memorabilia, with relics from the Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War.
They displayed arms, bullets and cannonballs, uniforms, flags, captured Confederate drums, Grant’s desk and chair, even the plume from one of the horses used in Grant’s funeral procession. The museum was a popular tour destination for local school groups.
The GAR maintained the hall until 1928, as a number of their members started to decline. The building was sold to “Professor” A.J. Weber, who opened a dance studio there. He and his wife taught ballroom dancing, the foxtrot, shag, big apple, and the waltz. They lived in the building and operated the studio from 1928 until 1940.
489 Washington Avenue changed hands once again when it was sold to the Evergreen Church of God In Christ, which occupied it until 2015 when it was sold to developer GB Properties for $2,700,000.
The mansion was never landmarked and as of now is in a very bad shape.
489 Washington Avenue in 2017: