British Columbia

Want a free heritage home? You'll just need some land and $100K to move it

A heritage home in North Vancouver known as the Copper Cottage is up for re-location, says the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society which is working with the developer in the hopes of saving the house from demolition.

North Shore Heritage Preservation Society hopes the 1908 home can be saved

The Copper Cottage was built at 336 East 9th Street in North Vancouver for a butcher's family in 1908. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

A piece of real estate history on the North Shore could be yours if you've got the land and about $100,000.

A heritage home in North Vancouver known as the Copper Cottage is up for re-location, says the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society, which is working with a developer in the hopes of saving the house from demolition.

The 1,800-square-foot home has been at 336 East 9th Street in North Vancouver since 1908, when it was built for a butcher's family, and features a full-width veranda with square columns and open balustrades. 

The home is included in the City of North Vancouver's heritage register under class B, which means owners are encouraged but not required to retain a home's distinctive exterior features.

In 2013, the city awarded the home's then-owner a heritage award for maintaining its appearance.

"It's a very modest cottage, but it's super cute and very well maintained," said Jennifer Clay, vice-president of the North Shore Heritage Preservation Society.

The 1,800-square-foot home is fronted by a veranda that runs the width of the house. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Clay said Burnaby-based developer Fina Development Group reached out to the society because the home sits on land now zoned for a duplex.

The land is valued at nearly $1.8 million as of July 1, 2019, while the structure is assessed at $10,000.

Clay said the developer is giving away the home as an act of goodwill and wants to find someone who's keen on preserving the home.

"It represents a piece of our history and that's important to us," Clay said.

"And from a sustainability standpoint, the greenest house is the one that's currently built. Why take all the material and throw it into the landfill?"

Moving a house in a week

The society says it's confirmed with Nickel Bros, a Port Coquitlam-based structural moving company, that the house can be safely moved.

Cassidy vander Ros, marketing manager for Nickel Bros, said moving the house alone would cost just under $60,000. The total jumps roughly to $100,000 once costs are factored in for permits, utilities and excavating the new foundation.

"Most people think it's incredibly expensive," vander Ros said, "when in reality, it can cost on average around $10,000 to $20,000 less than demolishing the structure."

It would take about a week to prep the site, she said, including excavating around the foundation and supporting the house with steel beams.

Crews would then jack it up, move the house onto a trailer and move it by road or barge, depending on the new location.

Before the move, the company gets an engineer's report to assess structural soundness and spot any potential hazardous materials, vander Ros said.

Clay said the home would ideally be moved to a street-facing lot. The second-best option would be to turn the home into a coach house, she said.

She said the developer is hoping to wrap up the deal within a couple months.

The developer did not respond to requests for comment.

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