1241 Harwood Street
The Legg House (Tulip Tree Site)
Construction of the Legg House at 241 Harwood Street began in 1899. Today in 2011, it is one of the few remaining estate homes in the West End. The original owner, Gordon Legg, was a manager of the Union Steamship Company and one of the founders of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. The house includes British Arts and Crafts style elements, and reflects the style and grace of the late Victorian period.
The property also includes a large tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) — considered the oldest surviving non-native tree planted in Vancouver and possibly the largest of its kind in Western Canada. Despite efforts made by the architects and the developer to save the tree, the proponent intends to remove the tree as part of a development proposal for this site.
The site’s existing zoning of RM5-A allows a maximum permitted Floor Space Ratio (FSR) of 2.2. The site is 17,292 square feet in size, so the zoning allows 38,042 square feet of floor area.
A development application has been submitted to re-develop the site through a “Heritage Revitalization Agreement” with the City. This agreement would allow for heritage designation of the house in exchange for the construction of an 18 story luxury condominium tower at the west side of the site. The heritage house would be restored and renovated to provide 8 rental units. The HRA proposes an FSR of 3.7 for the proposed 18-storey tower and a total 63,980 square feet of residential floor area. Forty-six luxury condominium suites are proposed in the tower and 8 rental units in the renovated heritage house. A new underground parking garage would provide 56 parking spaces beneath the two buildings.
Other successful heritage rehabilitation projects have taken place in the West End, many of which have included a “density bonus.” All of these have included relocating, restoring, and designating heritage structures with sensitive relationships to surrounding properties, none of which have included a floor space ratio bonus close to what is being considered at 1241 Harwood Street. As examples, the sites at 1050 Nicola Street (Nicola Manor), the Thomas Fee House at 1119 Broughton Street and the development in the 1200 block of W. Georgia (Abbott House) each included an FSR bonus of only 0.66, far less than what is proposed at 1241 Harwood.
* Floorspace ratio is a measure of development density. A 10,000 square foot parcel with 10,000 square feet of building on a has an FSR of 1.0.