One of the Storybook-style Vancouver heritage houses known affectionately as a "Hobbit House" looks set to be saved as a redevelopment proposal is put before council today.
The proposal from W.T. Leung Architects includes a rezoning of the property at 587 West King Edward Avenue to allow the construction of two three-storey townhouses around the B listed building — officially referred to as the James residence — preserving one of the city's most-loved residential landmarks.
The proposal, which also requests permits to build another 18 three-storey townhouses adjacent to the 'Hobbit House" plan, will be put forward to council with a recommendation that the application be referred for a public hearing.
Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development at the City of Vancouver told CBC that the redevelopment application was "very sensitive to the context, particularly of the heritage home", noting that it proposed a lower density for the lots than currently allowed under the Cambie plan.
The report notes that the James Residence was built in 1942 for William H. James, a CNR foreman and his family as an "Ann Hathaway" house, in reference to the cottage in Stratford upon Avon where Shakespeare's wife grew up.
Under the proposal, the house will not be moved, as there are concerns that the rustic stucco, stone and brick featured could be damaged. Instead, the home will be upgraded and its basement developed.
Read the full City of Vancouver report into the proposal