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Lewis Estate House

A developer is offering $10,000 to assist with moving the Lewis Estate House from 44 Pleasant Ave. Any prospective mover will be responsible for the remainder of costs to move the home after purchasing the building for around $10. The best offer will determine the final purchase price, but not to exceed $10.

The contract for the sale of the house must be executed by August 31st. Moving the 3912 sq. ft. structure could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission requires remediation that includes removal of lead paint and asbestos to be completed before the move and appropriate insurance guarantees. The house must also be kept within a quarter-mile of the current location. After the move, any additional repairs and renovation must follow historic guidelines.

Another building, the Carriage House on the Georgian Inn property, was moved last month to face Claremont Avenue. The cost of moving that structure was $120,000. Wolfe House & Building Movers handled that move and estimate that the Lewis Estate House would cost around $100,000.

This turn-of-the-century classic residence was built by in 1906 by one of the most prominent Montclair architects, Dudley S. Van Antwerp who built more than 500 homes in the area. The house is known as the Lewis Estate because of the former owner Aubrey Lewis, the first African-American to captain a football team at Notre Dame. The wood-single colonial structure has six bedrooms and three baths.

The house with the property was recently listed for $1.35 million. The assessment shows a land value of $212,800 and an improvement value of $435,600. The local tax bill for 2017 came to $24,211. BNE Real Estate of Livingston, in their first Montclair project, plans to build an eight-lot subdivision on the 2.4-acre South End property in place of the house. The design of architect Larry Appel has each lot containing a single-family home with accessibility provided through a new street called Lewis Court, with a cul-de-sac at the end. These new homes are estimated to be priced at around $800,000 to $900,000. The existing landscape will also be substantially altered with the removal of 77 trees.  Of the 77 trees, there are 36 dead or damaged trees. After removal of existing trees, 38 new trees will be planted at the site.

The Lewis Estate house cannot be immediately demolished given the requirements of the deal approved by the Montclair Township Council and Planning Board. Despite these efforts, the house could eventually face demolition. The Montclair Council and Planning Board did not designate the property as a historic site. Instead, the board’s approval of the developer’s plan required that the house be offered for sale and relocation to another site. The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission was also unsuccessful in proposing a number of alternate scenarios, including advocating for requiring the developer to retain the house on the property.

In an effort to stem the slow decimation of Montclair’s residential, commercial, municipal, and parks designed by national and internationally recognized architects; the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission recently completed a grant-funded project. This project establishes the Historic Preservation Element of the Master Plan of Montclair. It focuses on potential historic districts with the addition of sites listed in the 1982 Junior League Survey. Although the project will not be established early enough to save the Lewis Estate House, the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission has requested that the developer prepare a photographic record of the home and property prior to executing demolition upon receipt of such a permit, for Montclair’s historic archives.






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Graham Petto

Assistant Township Planner

The Montclair Historic Preservation Commission


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BNE Real Estate Group

Corporate Headquarters

Investment & Development Opportunities


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