The owner of a Regina heritage property says redeveloping it into condos is the best way to save it.
Carmen Lein owns the Cook Residence, a 91-year-old Tudor revival-style home at the corner of Albert Street and Hill Avenue.
Lein said he has plans to turn the property into 16 condo units while preserving the character of the building by retaining the facade.
Last year, the house was designated a heritage property, preventing it from being demolished. The historic building would need to be rezoned by the city before it can be redeveloped.
Lein said he came up with the idea when he was trying to help his parents find a place while downsizing.
"I feel like there's people like them out there that want to downsize. And there are no real options for them in Regina," Lein said. "A lot of these folks already live in Lakeview, so it's a great opportunity for them to stay."
Not everyone is on board with the condo plans.
Heritage Regina's Jackie Schmidt said the property has huge historic value to the city of Regina and to the province.
"There's too much at stake to allow the property owner or the developer to roll the dice to see if they can get around the heritage protection policies in the bylaws by repackaging their demolition and redevelopment plans for the same property," Schmidt said.
"It's time for the city to step up and keep their promise and show decisively that heritage property designation in the city of Regina really does stand for something."
Lein said the $8-million condo project would have an underground parkade, elevators, be wheelchair accessible and be environmentally friendly.
"We truly believe that this project does fit in the neighbourhood. And once it's built, people are going to be like, well, this building has been here for, you know, 30 years."
Lein said similar condo projects are being done with heritage projects in other cities.
"It's a collaboration between many families living on one property," Lein said. "So the landscaping doesn't have the burden on one family to maintain … now the maintenance over the next hundred years isn't put on the shoulders of one family. It's maintained by multiple families."
Lein said he is listening to the concerns from the heritage society and working with the city to address some of them.
"My message to them is that we are saving this house. It will be done to the highest standard. We believe we are following every ... standard laid out in the guidelines"
Schmidt said she would like to see someone who would keep the building in line with its original design take over the property.
"I would like to see someone take ownership of this property that is accepting of its heritage designation and that they do right by the property by maintaining it," Schmidt said. "It's an absolutely stunning property inside."
Feedback on the proposed development is being accepted until Friday.
It will go before city council in January of next year.