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Cook Residence owners apply to flip Regina heritage home into condo building

Click to play video 'Cook Residence owners apply to flip Regina heritage home into condo building' Cook Residence owners apply to flip Regina heritage home into condo building
Regina's Cook Residence is creating more controversy after its owners applied to turn the heritage home into a condo building.

A controversial heritage home is once again causing a stir in Regina’s Lakeview neighbourhood.

Owners of the Cook Residence are taking another stab at developing the Tudor-style mansion on the corner of Albert Street and Hill Avenue. This time they want to flip it into a 16-unit condo building.

According to city councillor Bob Hawkins, the residents in the area are “universally opposed.”

“Out of all the issues I’ve heard in the last eight years on council, this would be one of the ones that concerned our residents the most,” Hawkins said.

Carmen Lien and Adriana Gourgaris bought the 3160 Albert St. property in November 2018 with intentions to demolish the house and rebuild.

Read more: Regina city council votes in favour of Cook Residence heritage status

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At the time, the home — built in 1929 — was on the city’s heritage holding list.

After much debate, city council designated it a heritage property in October 2019.

The city is currently reviewing the owners’ new application to have the property rezoned and the heritage designation amended.

“It certainly seems like a movie that we’ve seen before and we know the outcome the first time, it’s difficult to understand why it would be any different this time,” Hawkins said.

If approved, the owners would retain the front of the house that faces Albert Street, with the exception of the sun room. Everything else would be demolished, according to the submitted application.

Read more: Heritage Review board wants third-party inspection on Cook Residence

Additions would be built to accommodate four units behind the house and 12 condo units to the south.

The proposal includes a 24-stall underground parking garage with another 10 stalls built at ground-level.

Proposed plans for the Cook Residence at 3160 Albert St.
Proposed plans for the Cook Residence at 3160 Albert St. Credit: City of Regina

Heritage Regina, one of the groups that fought to save the building the first time around, said council could set a dangerous precedent for other heritage homes, if this passes.

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“We need to put policies in place that stop this kind of roll of the dice, where every year we try to do a different version of the same thing,” said Heritage Regina president Jackie Schmidt.

Credit: City of Regina
Credit: City of Regina. Credit: City of Regina

Schmidt wants to see the Cook Residence restored.

“It’s a major heritage property in the city,” she said. “It defines the promenade into the legislative grounds.”

Read more: City of Regina to seek advice from province on Cook house heritage designation

Global News reached out to Lien but did not hear a response back.

Previously, Lien told city council it would cost $2.5 million to restore the property.

However, Heritage Regina “roughly” estimates restoration costs at $300,000.

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“There are lots of things that could be done to it. It could be the sky’s the limit, you could put in whatever you want, or you could do what’s minimally required,” Schmidt said.

The city is hosting a virtual information session at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents can submit feedback until September 25.

From there, a report is expected to go through the City Planning Commission in December, before reaching council early next year.

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