A Wyckoff-based building company has set their eyes on Fair Lawn's Vanderbeck House property as a possible site for development.
Bob Milanese, the owner of Barrister Builders, said the company is currently in the early stages of possibly developing the property. No formal plans have been prepared yet, but they may look to build a new assisted living facility there, he said.
The original house was built in 1754, according to Jane Diepeveen, the borough historian. Another wing was built in 1785, which is the earliest potion of the house remaining today. Another addition was built in the early 20th century.
The Vanderbek House was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in the 1980s, but has recently fallen into partial disrepair. The site also borders the Naugle House property, which the borough purchased in 2011 with plans for renovations. That building's windows are currently still boarded up.
H. Michael Gelfand, a Fair Lawn native and history professor at James Madison University, said he was concerned that the Vanderbeck House might be demolished as part of the development.
The house was named among the most endangered historic sites in New Jersey last month by Preservation New Jersey, a group which advocates for maintaining historic sites.
"There are only a small number of these houses that survive," Gelfand said.
Milanese said he was in talks with borough officials and the Historic Preservation Committee to address concerns about protecting the site.
"We are looking at a number of possibilities to save both historic sites," Milanese said.
Mayor John Cosgrove noted that Barrister had previously done work on the Zabriskie House, a historic building in Wyckoff.
Gelfand asked borough officials last week to push for the home to go to a private owner who would keep it as a residence, or for someone who would use it as a medical, law or other office which would preserve the historic architecture.