Renovation plans for the oldest house in Chelsea are angering locals

Community Board 4 members were up in arms last week over a proposed plan to turn the oldest home in Chelsea into a “megamansion,” according to DNAInfo.

Banker Ajoy Kapoor, who founded the private equity firm Saffron Capital Advisors Limited, bought the townhouse at 404 West 20th Street last year for $6.5 million, and has since submitted an extensive renovation plan to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The plans call for dramatic expansion of the living space into the side-yard, backyard and basement (which would be lit by skylights), and also involves adding two stories to the building. The façade would remain the same.

“The current proposal would demolish the entire house except for its street façade and do further violence to this house and to the most historically sensitive and architecturally distinguished block in Chelsea,” the board wrote in a letter to the LPC from last week.

The listing for the home notes that it was built around 1830 by Hugh Walker. While Kapoor is alleging that the home is structurally unsound and therefore requires a significant renovation, the former owner of the home feels his plans go to far, telling DNA Info, ““[The proposed alteration] is not renovation, this is demolition.”