The nonprofit that manages the late heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke's central New Jersey estate plans to raze her mansion on the site, a proposal that has raised hackles among local preservationists, reports the Associated Press.
The Duke Farms Foundation, which oversees the 2,700-acre property in Hillsborough Township, says the 122-year-old mansion, empty since Ms. Duke's death in 1993, has fallen into serious disrepair and would need up to $20 million in work to come up to code.
Executive Director Michael Catania said the house has "become a big white elephant," and his group wants to pursue other efforts to improve the grounds, which are dotted with sculptures, lakes, and other features.
A community group called Doris (Demolition of Residence Is Senseless) wants the foundation to explore "re-adaptive uses" that could generate income and educate the public about the property, such as a book or gift shop. Hillsborough's Historic Preservation Commission will hold the latest in a series of hearings on the demolition plan Thursday.