Burlington tries to save heritage home in the way of a major tower project


Published May 19, 2023 at 2:07 pm

The proposed tower complex that would replace a heritage home (inset) at 795 Brant St.

The City of Burlington has denied a request to demolish a 170-year-old house that is in the way of a major redevelopment project.

Located at 795 Brant St., the owners of the property where the house stands want to tear it down to build a complex that includes a 31-storey tower.

Councillors this week denied the demolition permit in an ongoing battle to save the home that also carries a heritage designation.

The City hopes the builders will incorporate the home into the overall building project or move it to another location.

In its demolition application, Camarro Developments Inc. has indicated the house is in disrepair and not worth saving. However, Burlington heritage staff indicate the structure only needs minor repairs to keep it viable.

“Many of the alterations or evidence of age that the applicant is citing are repairable,” noted John O’Reilly a heritage planner for the City.  “In staff’s view, this building is not beyond repair and we haven’t been presented with any new evidence in the form of an engineer report that would tell us that the building is about to fall down or past the point of saving.”

The proposed project would see the redevelopment of most of the southeast corner of Brant St. and Prospect St. that would bring a 31-storey building on top of a 7-storey podium with retail stores on the ground floor. The complex would house 356 one to three-bedroom residential units.

The builder has already filed an appeal with the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) over the heritage designation and is also expected to appeal the denial of the demolition permit.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said the City believes the heritage building should be saved.

“Our goal is to incorporate into a development, move, or reposition,” she said. “There are many conservation options. We have seen how well heritage can be incorporated into a redevelopment.”

She went on to say that Burlington can achieve both the goal of expanding housing options throughout the city and protecting the heritage landscape.

Built in 1854 by brothers Jabez and James Cushie Bent, 795 Brant St. has been known as Maple Lodge, William Ghent House, Bray-Ghent House, Bent-Bray-Ghent House.

A Burlington Heritage Advisory Committee reports says the home has maintained much of its original character and “has historical value and direct associations with a theme and persons who are significant to the community of Burlington.”

(The heritage house currently on the site)

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