Victoria council supports conversion to condos of 114-year-old house

Heritage rehabilitation proposal "a miracle," Pam Madoff says

This home at 1731 Albert St. in the North Jubilee neighbourhood has been saved from possible demolition.

This home at 1731 Albert St. in the North Jubilee neighbourhood has been saved from possible demolition.

The North Jubilee neighbourhood is losing four rental units, but gaining so much more through a rehabilitation proposal supported unanimously by council.

In 2010, a fire left three of five units in an 1898-vintage house at 1731 Albert St. uninhabitable.

The long-time owner of the house recently sold to Thomas Leahy, who proposes to rehabilitate the building despite its badly deteriorated condition. He also applied to designate it as a heritage building.

City staff recommended rejecting Leahy’s application for the fact it entails converting the units into strata titles and designates only one unit for rental. Doing so contravenes a city policy that forbids condo conversions of buildings with five or more rental units.

The extenuating circumstances of the property, however, led Coun. Pam Madoff to support the application.

“To me, it’s a miracle,” said Madoff, an advocate of heritage preservation. “The owner could knock this building down tomorrow.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

Fast facts:

The house at 1731 Albert St., built in 1898, was originally owned by George Marsden. He was an immigrant from England and proprietor of the Victoria News Agency for a time.