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1930s Richmond house makes way for development

Polygon will build about 1,200 residential units on a former farm in Richmond's Capstan area.
A demolition permit has been issued for a 1930s house in central Richmond.

Another piece of Richmond history will soon meet the wrecking ball – a house from the 1930s will be razed to make way for a large-scale development on Garden City Road.

But the former tenant, Murray Spitz – who paid the same rent while living there for 30 years – said he knew this day was coming and he’s pleased the developer, while not saving the house he inhabited for so long, is at least planning to save some natural sections of the property for community use.

“It was more than I could imagine – it makes me very happy,” Spitz said.

Polygon is building 1,200 residential units on the property between Cambie Road and Capstan Way.

The original plan was to raze the properties including the southeast corner where there are 154 mature trees. A park was planned elsewhere on the property, but the developer has now gone back to the drawing board to see if they can situate the park where the mature trees are located.

The city has issued a demolition permit for Spitz’ former dwelling and it is currently boarded up and behind safety fencing.

Spitz said his landlords were always good to him and he knew eventually he’d have to move.

When he first moved in, the neighbouring property was a farm with horses and cows – he would mow the hay twice a year.

The original park plan was for a more active park, explained Neil Chrystal, president of Polygon, but the new idea, of creating it where the mature trees are situated, would be a more natural landscaped park.

A group of Richmond residents, including the Garden City Conservation Society, was advocating to preserve the southeast corner of the property where the mature trees are located, saying they provide habitat for owls, hawks and other birds.

Some were also hoping the house could be saved for community uses.