Officials in central New Jersey have approved plans by the nonprofit that manages the late socialite and philanthropist Doris Duke's rural estate to raze her 122-year-old home, reports the Associated Press. The vote Thursday night by the Hillsborough Township Historic Preservation Commission culminated a lengthy hearing process over the demolition plan, which drew strong opposition from local preservationists.
The Duke Farms Foundation said the 67,000-square-foot mansion, empty since Ms. Duke's death in 1993, had fallen into disrepair and would need $10 million to $20 million in renovations to meet property codes. The organization said if the demolition was approved it would open to the public about 50 acres of previously fenced-off grounds surrounding the house. Critics of the plan called on the foundation to explore "re-adaptive uses" for the building that could draw revenue and attention to Duke Farms.