PARK SLOPE — The 19th century brownstone that sparked Park Slope's transformation from a blighted backwater into one of the city's most coveted neighborhoods is on the market for nearly $5 million.
The property's unique backstory could be a draw for buyers, but it's the painstakingly preserved 1886 details that make the home so special, said Dexter Guerrieri, president of Vandenberg The Townhouse Experts.
In addition to original mahogany door frames and parquet flooring, there's a dumbwaiter, speaking tubes (the 19th century version of an intercom), and an "inclinator" — a lift to help the disabled up the stairs, Guerrieri said.
"The details are astounding," Guerrieri said. "I tend to think I've seen it all when it comes to townhouses, but this one is a breath of fresh air compared to anything else out there."
The Ortners bought the house at 272 Berkeley Pl. for $32,500 in 1963, according to the Times. Back then the block was lined with derelict buildings, and the Ortners' work renovating their house served as a model that convinced reluctant homebuyers to venture to then-exotic Park Slope.
On the ornate parlor floor, the Ortners hosted parties where they convinced bankers to stop redlining and give mortgages in the neighborhood, Guerrieri said. Their efforts eventually paved the way for the creation of the Park Slope historic district, now the city's largest.
The Ortners did not have children and devoted their energy to Park Slope's revitalization, said Guerrieri, a longtime friend of the couple. "This house was their child, and so was preserving the fabric of the city," Guerrieri said.