A defenseman for the Islanders is offering his historic Garden City home to anyone who wants to pay an estimated $200,000 to have it relocated — or it could be demolished.
Johnny Boychuk and his wife, Sheena, purchased the 1883 home on Sixth Street in November for $1 million, but now want to clear the 0.4-acre property to build a contemporary Victorian.
The five-bedroom home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is one of 38 remaining A.T. Stewart homes. Stewart, who was a 19th century dry goods merchant and one of the richest men in New York State, built homes in Garden City. A bust of Stewart sits in the Garden City Long Island Rail Road station.
Boychuk — who declined to comment — is working with the Garden City Historical Society to relocate the house before next week’s self-imposed deadline to tear down the 133-year-old home.
“It’s being offered to any white knight to swoop it off the foundation,” said Boychuk’s architect, T.J. Costello of Manhasset. “We don’t want anyone thinking it was a callous move to do this. We have the best intentions about preserving the character, but the house is functionally obsolete.”
The house was built as a worker house as Stewart was developing the Hempstead Plains and Garden City as one of the first planned communities. Property records show a first-floor library, dining room, kitchen and family room with five bedrooms and two bathrooms between the second and third floors.
Despite the house’s listing on the National Registry, it cannot be protected.
“Just being on the registry doesn’t protect you from demolition,” Garden City Historical Society member Terence Kenny said. “You have to pass a law locally to protect houses.”
Garden City Village Board members and the village’s library board both declined to acquire the home last week. The historical society had urged the board to acquire the home through bonds.
Kenny estimated that relocating the home would cost between $150,000 and $200,000 and that it may need additional sprinklers and electrical upgrades.
“We’re forced to look at the eleventh hour,” Kenny said. “This house has been around for over 100 years and it can be around for another 100 years.”
Costello said the Boychuks purchased the home to commute by train to Brooklyn for hockey games and have been renting in Garden City since purchasing it.
He said the home is only about 700 square feet, with no air conditioning, outdated heating and electrical and small rooms. There was an addition built on the back of the house in the 1970s that would not be moved if the house is relocated.
He said the Boychuks are anxious to build a new home on the site with modern amenities, which have already been approved by the Garden City Architectural Review Board.
“If it’s not going to be saved or reborn in another way, it’s going to be demolished,” Costello said. “They came in with the intention of building a wonderful new Victorian home as an advancement to the neighborhood.”