May 15, 2006
Hart house decision delayed30-day delay before city council can debate condo development issue
By MICHAEL PLATT - Calgary Sun
Stu Hart would be horrified to see a chokehold of condominiums built around his old mansion, said his son, after city council delayed a decision on the development by 30 days.
Bruce Hart said the deceased wrestling legend, who raised his family and trained dozens of famous grapplers in the northwest home, would have been fiercely opposed to the 16-unit condo project, which was set to be debated by council today.
“I think my dad would be disgusted — I spoke to him a number of times before he died and that was one of his fervent wishes, that the house and grounds be preserved as some sort of monument,” said Hart, who attended the city council meeting.
“This whole thing would have made him sick.”
A disagreement between family members led to the century-old Patterson Heights home being sold after Stu Hart’s 2003 death, and the new owner has applied to build a ring of condos on the property to fund a $2.45 million restoration of the private house.
But an outcry by residents living near the property led the developer to reduce the number of condos from 21 to 16, requiring a 30-day delay before city council can debate the issue.
Others have criticised the condo scheme for failing to open the home to public viewing, with the plan calling for the mansion to remain a private luxury residence.
The new owner of the property has agreed to allow historic designation of the home, protecting it for future generations, and has offered to sell it for market value if someone else wants to make the property a public museum.
But Ald. Craig Burrows admits the 16-condo plan is probably as good as it will get for those opposed to the development, though he’s willing to ask the province to buy the property for public use.
“You can get always what you want and sometime in life there’s a bit of a compromise,” said Burrows.
“From the applicant’s point of view, anything less than 16, he’ll tear the house down, and he has every right to and I can’t stop him.”
The province has previously declined to declare the home and property a historic resource, protecting it from development.
Council will debate the project on June 19.