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Somerset Building owner opposes heritage designation

The owners of the Somerset Building, one of six buildings nominated for designation as a historic building, contend that the building is not historically significant and oppose the nomination. (Phil HOssack /Winnipeg Free Press)

The owners of the Somerset Building, one of six buildings nominated for designation as a historic building, contend that the building is not historically significant and oppose the nomination. (Phil HOssack /Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/11/2019 (231 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Six Winnipeg buildings are up for potential preservation next week when their nominations are set to go before the historical buildings and resources committee.

One of the nominations — the Somerset Building at 294 Portage Ave. — is being opposed by the property’s owner, who contends the building is not historically significant.

Heritage Building, Singer Sewing Machine Building, 424 Portage Ave. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

PHIL HOSSACK/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Heritage Building, Singer Sewing Machine Building, 424 Portage Ave. (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

"The building itself does not represent a significant or distinct architectural building or unique character, and, there are no known historical events that occurred at the building which would render it historically significant," said Leo Ledohowski, on behalf of the Canad Inns, in a written submission.

"In addition, the building has undergone so many renovations and remodels since its construction, that even the City of Winnipeg representatives commented during their site tour that there is very little of the original remaining."

The nominations will go before the historical buildings committee Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Designed by local architect John Woodman in the style of the "Chicago School," The Somerset Building was constructed shortly after 1905. The project was bankrolled by the well-known local lawyer J.A.M. Aikins.

While the current owner opposes the property being added to the city’s historical resources list, Ledohowski said they have no problem with the building being added to the commemorative list.

Once a property is added to the historical resources list, it places a number of constraints on the owner when it comes to renovating or redeveloping the site; however, the commemorative list is far less restrictive.

The nomination committee has identified a number of exterior elements on the building they consider historically significant, including its north, south and west facades.

In addition, the nomination committee also identified two interior elements at the building — both stair railings — as "character-defining elements."

The other properties nominated for historical protection next Wednesday are:

 

  • Singer Sewing Machine Building at 424 Portage Ave.
  • Buena Vista Apartments at 40 St. Mary’s Rd.
  • Douglas and Company Building at 52 Adelaide St.
  • Mindell Block at 607 Main St.
  • Paulin-Chambers Building at 311 Ross Ave.

 

A number of the buildings were previously up for protection in September, but the votes were pushed back.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

 

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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Updated on Friday, November 15, 2019 at 12:03 PM CST: replaces image

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