A developer with two soon-to-be designated heritage buildings on one of his properties doesn’t sound optimistic he will be able to find a way to move forward with the city.
“I’ve made a commitment to preserve those buildings. I’ll give it my best shot,” said Peter Sergautis, president of Extra Realty Ltd.
“When have you heard a developer a say, ‘Yup, we’re optimistic that we can work with the city?,” he said.
On Monday, a report from city staff recommending how to protect the two red clay brick barns at 660 Sunningdale Rd. will be approved by the planning and environment committee, then sent to full council the following week.
“This is another step in the process we’ve been following all along,” said Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy, a member of the committee. “This is the final step where they will be given heritage designation.” Council previously allowed a third barn to be demolished.
Sergautis said he had hoped to make that structure the focal point of the new subdivision, but city officials were not flexible.
“The original intent was to retain the main barn, but the city would not deviate the roads going in, even one degree,” he said, which would have put the barn in the way of an intersection.
“It’s not for the lack of trying,” said Sergautis. “And there was no malicious intent to demolish the original barn.”
The 42-hectare site will see 290 single-family homes and 393 medium-density townhouse and apartment units, in the area northwest of Sunningdale Road and Adelaide Street.
The remaining barns excite heritage activists because they represent a link to London’s agricultural past. They sit on land that used to be part of the old London Township.
“They are really unique in the materials that they use,” said Cassidy. It’s also thought the barns may, at one point, have been used as munitions depots.
“Peter Sergautis is great. He’s had some frustrations with the process,” said Cassidy. “He has every intention of repurposing these buildings.”
“If they recognize that those buildings can be incorporated into the development, there is going to have to be some structural improvements,” Sergautis said.
“I’m going to try to work with the city on that,” said. “They’re two inconsequential buildings.”