Historic Calgary home getting no love in densifying neighbourhood
Owner worries century-old home will get crowded out after sale
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The tension between heritage and density can be seen in front of a home on 21 Ave SW in Calgary.
The two for-sale signs in front of a 112-year-old two-storey home in Killarney tell part of the story.
Shauna Marie MacDonald bought the house 11 years ago, and even then, the seller was offering the property up as two lots. MacDonald decided to purchase the subdivided lot and keep the original property whole.
“There’s something about having larger lots with older homes,” she said. “It makes it feel like it’s a grand piece together instead of how we cookie-cuter everything on small lots.”
When she first put the house up for sale before Christmas, she intended to possibly sell the lots separately, but she wanted to give the house buyer the right of first refusal on the lot.
She said she was hoping the right buyer would see value in having a spacious yard, but people were confused when they learned the price listed was only for the house and half the lot.
“Because they sell houses in this market based on square footage – not character or design or anything else,” said MacDonald. “Basically people look at the square footage and say, ‘Well, that’s not worth it.’”
To be more transparent, MacDonald and her Realtor decided to put out two signs. She’s also planning a divider to show the size of the lot.
While it’s MacDonald’s hope the lot will remain as it was in 1905, Josh Traptow, executive director of the Calgary Heritage Authority, said building density around heritage properties is a welcome practice.
“If anything, that lends more credibility to heritage by showing what used to be there, and what’s there now,” he said. “It gives an easy contrast of what’s new and what’s old.”
MacDonald said the home once added density to the community in a different way. It was divided up into a rooming house in the mid-20th century, until someone bought it about 16 years ago and restored it to its former glory.
She hopes now to see a family move in, as the 1,350 square foot home is too much for her alone.