A new condominium project located along Memorial Drive, just west of the Louise Bridge could mean the loss of 13 heritage homes between 1134 and 1160 Memorial Drive NW.
The Dobbin Group developers has applied for a rezoning of the strip of properties to make way for a development of a 70 unit Chicago-style brownstones condo project. The development proposes a three to four storey complex with a 96-stall underground parkade, a central courtyard, and rooftop patios.
Their development is intended to create a "strong historical inspiration and massing appropriate for the Kensington area". The 'Memorial Drive Brownstones' offers a unique opportunity to relocate the beautiful homes that were undamaged from the recent flood and moved elsewhere to replace damaged existing character homes. These homes, would otherwise, be levelled. Preserving these beautiful homes through relocation is an excellent solution to the area's high demand for housing and offers a green alternative to building new.
Residents in the area have some concerns with this project though. They are worried that the higher density would result in more traffic on an already congested street. Spokeswoman for the project, Jennifer Dobbin is proposing additional access points halfway through the complex off Memorial Drive to ease congestion.
Cynthia Klaassen, president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, said relocating these century-old homes would be a huge loss for the community.
“And if you get rid of them, the community becomes like any other." said Klaassen.
“It is heritage homes like this that make Hillhurst-Sunnyside such a fabulous place to visit, to enjoy and to live in. They make the neighbourhood what it is.”
Lorna Cordeiro, a community resident and member of the Hillhurst-Sunnyside heritage task force, added that the Edwardian-style homes bring an important diversity and unique flavour to the community’s architecture.
“It’s about respecting the people that founded our community. Many of them lived in these homes.”
Dobbin said the new brownstones will have plenty of character and better support the community's new transit-oriented redevelopment plan.
The residents however are unphased with the whole idea and continue to wonder if this redevelopment plan will maintain the rich history these heritage homes hold in this community.
For more information on this project, please visit the developer's website at http://thedobbingroup.com/?p=463