One of the oldest buildings in Old Strathcona may soon be preserved and incorporated into a larger development with micro-apartments and retail facing an alleyway.

Local company Beljan Developments has applied to have the Crawford Block, on Gateway Boulevard north of Whyte Avenue, designated as a municipal historic resource.

Along with preserving the three-storey structure built in 1912, Beljan wants to demolish a single-story addition in the back that was built in the 1950s and replace it with a five-storey, higher-density apartment block.

The newer building would house 40 micro-suites, units of about 350 square feet which are meant to house a single person without a car.

The building could be built without a parkade, said Chris Dulaba from Beljan Developments.

“Look at creating a nice bike room and some sufficient storage areas,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we can add some smaller micro-suites to the mix... realizing that the demographic that likely would want to live here are those that don’t have a car.”

The newer building will also face west, with ground-floor retail fronting onto an alley.

“In this case, we do have that retail frontage on the existing Crawford Block, but we’re looking at extending that also into the alleys in a way of trying to create a little bit more animation and  pedestrian-friendly alleyway.”

The historic designation will come with money from the city to restore the Crawford Block.

City administration recommends the project receive $166,783 to restore the roof, repair brick and replace entrance windows, doors and frames. Councillors on the executive committee will discuss the report on Tuesday. 

Dulaba hopes the designation and rezoning will be approved by November so work can start by the spring of 2015.

Old Strathcona Business Association and Old Strathcona Foundation both support the development, Dulaba said.

The latter organization said it would support the new apartment block as long as Beljan pursued the historic designation for the older structure, he added.