Hart House down for the count
A plan to build condos around Hart House — a landmark for Alberta wrestling fans — has been pinned to the mat by Calgary city council.
Area Alderman Craig Burrows tried twice Monday to convince his council colleagues that relaxing development rules for the area was the only way to save the 101-year-old brick estate home.
Because council rejected both offers, Burrows said the house will likely be bulldozed.
"Now we are going to see what happens," he said. "I had a deal that saved the house, saved taxpayers $3 or $4 million, and I thought that was a fair deal for all of the city of Calgary."
Hart House is said to be in very poor repair and could require millions of dollars to restore. The house is best known as the home to Stu Hart, the man who started Stampede Wrestling and trained a number of wrestling superstars, some of them, like Bret "The Hitman" Hart, his own sons.
The family sold the house after Stu Hart's death.
The first proposal from the new owner was to build 16 duplex-type condos around the home. The condos would have had roof-top patios to take advantage of the views.
Monday afternoon councillors said they couldn't support the extra units on the property because they wouldn't be in line with existing rules for the area, which would allow only a dozen single family homes.
"Well, I'm concerned about the density issue as well as the roof top patios — we don't want them," said Janice Palmer, who lives near the home.
Hours after council rejected that proposal and the public had left, Burrows told councillors the developer had agreed to forgo the rooftop decks. But again council refused to accept the development.
Afterwards, Burrows said as far as he is concerned, the fate of Hart House has been sealed and the house will be destroyed.
Meanwhile, supporters of the building will continue efforts to get the site designated as historic, although neither the province nor the city have expressed interest in that idea.
Hart House was built in 1905 by Ontario brick baron Edward Henry Crandell. The Hart family bought it in the early 1950s and raised 12 children there, all of whom had some connection to professional wrestling.