Heritage property owner attempts redevelopment despite opposition
REGINA -- The owner of the Cook Residence on Albert Street wants to redevelop the site to include 16 residential condo units.
Property owner Carmen Lien shared his goal for the home during a virtual city meeting on Wednesday.
“Our concept is quite simple. To Build a project that is one project but actually looks like two separate buildings,” Carmen Lien said. “These are geared towards large families and seniors who are coming out of probably larger houses and downsizing, so the unit will be larger than what we’re normally seeing in our city and in our market,” Lien said.
Lien is requesting the city re-zone the land to accommodate the development.
Heritage Regina President Jackie Schmidt said when the city grants a heritage designation to a property, it’s promising to value the architectural heritage of the community, and to protect the designated property from demolition or unsympathetic alterations.
“In the case in the Cook Residence, there is too much at stake to allow the property owners or developers to roll the dice and see if they can get around heritage protection policies” Schmidt said.
Lien also wants some heritage exemptions, which would allow him to tear down part of the home, except for a portion of the front that faces Albert Street. If it goes ahead, the facade would be restored and built into the newer portion of the building.
Ward 2 councillor Bob Hawkins said he’s heard massive opposition to the plan.
“So it would totally transform a single residence house into a 16-unit condominium with 28 parking spaces, which hardly maintains the heritage culture of the original house,” Hawkins said. “It destroys the effectiveness of the Heritage Bylaw, council decided this was to be a heritage house a year ago, and now he wants to make an exemption to that and people aren’t in favour of that,” Hawkins said.
The planning commission will now make a recommendation to city council to make a decision on the proposal, which Hawkins said will likely happen in January 2021.