Decision to keep heritage house standing elates Kelowna residents

The Abbott Heritage Area Society is even asking the owner who made the about-face move on demolition to join its ranks.

Rather than gloat over what it considers a major victory for the neighbourhood and heritage buildings in general in the Kelowna, the Abbott Heritage Area Society, is extending an olive branch to a man who originally wanted to tear down an heritage home in the area but has now decided to keep it standing.

David Negrin wanted to demolish the 84-year-old Spanish colonial-style house at 2072 Abbott Street but changed his mind in light of city planners recommending council not approve the demolition.

James Avery, president of the Abbott Heritage Area Society, said Tuesday while he’s happy by Negrin’s about-face, he felt it was only fitting to invite the house’s owner—who also owns other properties in the immediate area—to become a member of the society.

“The news of a reversal of fortune for the distinguished heritage home of 2072 Abbott Street was received by many with a sense of relief and elation.,” writes Avery in an open letter to Negrin. “Your decision to withdraw the request for demolition and the avoidance of the pending loss of a cultural artefact specific to Kelowna’s cultural identity, is indeed, worthy of our expressed gratitude.”

Avery told the Capital News, he had spoken to some of the tradespeople working on the site at 2072 Abbott Street and was told some painting has been done inside the house, as well as some electrical work.

“That’s good news,” said Avery,saying it further points to a plan to renovate, not demolish of move the house off the lot.

In the letter, Negrin is invited to become part of the “heritage neighbourhood.”

“Nothing would please us more then to have you join our commitment to preserve the elements of Kelowna’s most significant heritage public asset, the Abbott Heritage Area.”

Kelowna city hall has confirmed the demolition application has been withdrawn and the file is now closed.

The heritage area society feared demolition of the house—which is listed on the city’s heritage roster—would have set a dangerous precedent that could have resulted in more heritage buildings in the city coming down.

Negrin has owned the house for a few years and Avery said while the owner’s representatives have publicly stated they feel the building is in disrepair and “unliveable,”, he disagrees.

“The house is in amazing condition,” said Avery, adding the previous residents were, in his words, “meticulous” in their care for the building.