Townhouse development to subsidize preservation of Vancouver heritage home

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      Housing affordability and heritage preservation are often difficult to realize in constantly changing cities like Vancouver.

      But there are also developments that aim to deliver on these two goals.

      An example would be the proposed project at 1215 West 16th Avenue, wherein a heritage home will be preserved through revenue generated by the construction of townhouses on both sides of the property.

      The Vancouver Heritage Commission is scheduled to review the proposal by Aneek Developments Ltd. on Monday (September 30)

      According to the commission’s agenda, the property is associated with George Baldwin, who served as the city’s comptroller and custodian of archives during the early days of Vancouver.

      The agenda relates that the two-storey home is listed as category B in the Vancouver Heritage Register, which means it has significant heritage value.

      It was constructed in 1911 “across from the northern boundary of First Shaughnessy”.

      “In the 1910s Baldwin was the City of Vancouver Comptroller and in the early 1920s he was custodian of archives,” the agenda notes. “The Baldwins relocated to 1215 West 16th Avenue from the West End, this reflected, the transition of the West End, which was triggered by the opening up of First Shaughnessy by 1910, which enticed prominent families to relocate.”

      The former Baldwin residence will be preserved, and converted into three homes.

      Two townhouse developments with two units each will be constructed on both sides of the heritage home.

      All in all, the development will produce seven homes.

      Ankenman Marchand Architects submitted a design rationale as part of the development application.

      “The proposed infill townhomes will provide housing that is aimed at young families,” according to the design rationale document. “It will provide much-needed affordable density in the area, at a humble scale as compared to the prominent existing wood frame house.”

      The new development will be called Hampton Court.

      According to the design rationale document, the project “represents a unique residential opportunity in Vancouver to preserve and improve the site's existing character residence made possible by the revenue derived from the proposed infill townhomes”.

      The submission points out that the retention of the heritage home follows the city's goal of preserving character homes in single-family home areas, “while providing increased density to support the City's current residential needs”.

      The architectural firm provided a different version of the heritage home’s history.

      According to the design rationale it prepared, the heritage building was built in 1952.

      The document notes that the home is “characterized by its Arts and Crafts style and displays features that are typical of that era including hipped roof, shingle cladding and wood frame, multi-pane windows, as well as distinctive features, such as the porch, eyebrow windows and roof dormers”.