Local philanthropist offers to buy Cook Residence restore it as it deserves

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Local collector and philanthropist Lyn Goldman says she offered to buy the Cook Residence and restore it. Local philanthropist and collector Lyn Goldman has offered to buy the historic Cook Residence and restore it “as it deserves to be restored,” according to her submission for Monday night’s city council meeting.“The house stood as a monument to those who lived here before us and those who built Regina,” wrote Goldman. “I think it’s time that we encourage young people to value the city’s history.”The property’s current owner Carmen Lien has long-argued that it cannot be saved without spending between $3.5 and $3.8 million to fix major structural problems and applied for a demolition permit in January.Since then, council and concerned citizens have been fighting to have the property designated as a heritage home in order to preserve its historical significance.The house was built in 1929 in the Tudor Revival style.In her submission, Goldman recalled seeing the home as a child. Then the “Kramer house,” she said the turret made it a fantasy castle for kids.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“Here we are today, when a member of a much younger generation wants to tear it down, or build onto it because that space seems ideal for multiple units,” wrote Goldman in her submission. “His generation, I guess has little need for a memory of an earlier time, or of our forefathers.” According to a submission from Ross Keith of Nicor Group — which the city previously contracted to provide an estimate of the home’s condition — a prospective buyer made an unconditional offer to purchase the Cook Residence for $650,000, $25,000 more than the current owners paid for the property.“This offer would have taken the objectors completely out of their current predicament, but it was rejected by the objectors,” wrote Keith. “If the owners have some financial problems with this property, it is abundantly clear that they are the authors of their own misfortune and should not be asking the City of Regina for sympathy.”City council passed a motion in late January to give the Cook Residence heritage status.In March, Lien and co-owner Adriana Gourgaris presented a notice of objection, requesting the city to either withdraw the proposed designation or direct the matter to a review board.Off to the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation Review Board it went.The Board found that the Cook Residence has heritage, architectural, historical, cultural and aesthetic value, but due to conflicting information regarding the condition of the home, has recommended the City of Regina and the current owners commission a “mutually agreed upon unbiased neutral third party to undertake an invasive home inspection to determine the condition of the home and provide a more reliable cost estimate” of restoration.It is one of four options Administration has identified city council has at this point, including withdrawing the proposed designation, approving designation as is, and approving designation with changes recommended by the owner related to character defining elements.The board’s recommendation is non-binding, but in a report going before city council Monday night, administration has urged council to pursue option four — a neutral third-party invasive home inspection.“I respect and fully support the recommendation that the Administration has brought forward,” wrote Lien. “I believe the fifth inspection will likely confirm the house is in extensive disrepair and that the costs to repair is not a financially feasible option.”In its submission, Heritage Regina opposes the invasive inspection, stating there is currently no requirement to consider the affordability of repairing or maintaining a property as part of the heritage value assessment, nor should there be.“By giving much greater weight to projected costs, this approach effectively diminishes the importance of the other elements used in evaluating the property,” wrote Jackie Smith, president of Heritage Regina.Regardless of the outcome, Lien wrote in his submission that he looks forward to continuing work alongside Administration with full cooperation throughout the process.Any future development, he said, would be guided by policies within Regina’s Official Community Plan (OCP).Lien hopes for an outcome that “suits the neighbourhood and respects historical elements of the City.”[email protected] BRYAN SCHLOSSER / Regina Leader-Post

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