Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:00 PM

Richmond Hill Cottage: Request for Demolition

Richmond Hill Cottage

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of St. John’s and the owner of Richmond Hill Cottage, Wrightland Development Corporation (WDC) has expired. The developer has submitted a request for demolition permit which will go to Council for a vote on Tuesday.

The MOU was signed between the City and the property owner in March 2016 in an attempt to restore and preserve the historical building. The City had taken on a facilitator role for discussions between potential purchasers and the property owner, but had no authority to accept an offer.

“The MOU was a positive step towards heritage preservation in the City of St. John’s,” said Councillor Dave Lane. “A committee was struck with members of the Built Heritage Experts Panel who worked together throughout this past year to promote the sale of Richmond Cottage locally, nationally and internationally. Although there were multiple inquires on the property, an offer was not accepted and the MOU has now expired.

Steps taken by the committee included a survey of the neighbourhood, creation and distribution of a marketing package, facilitating site visits with potential buyers and promotion of the property.

“This agreement was a new approach towards how the City engages with developers, we made significant effort to find an owner willing to restore the property” said Councillor Lane. "While we weren't able to save the property, strides have been made to prevent this sort of situation from happening again. Developers, if granted development permits on condition of restoration, will now be required to restore the property before beginning other construction."

The City of St. John's supports the preservation of built heritage through designating heritage buildings. Currently there are 147 designated heritage buildings. City staff have been reaching out to property owners to discuss designation regularly and a total nine properties have been officially designated in 2017.

The City also supports heritage though the Built Heritage Experts Panel who provide expertise, opinion and perspective about built heritage, its protection and designation in the City of St. John’s. 

Also the city provides a Heritage Financial Incentives Program to conserve heritage resources by assisting property owners to maintain buildings and homes located in the City's Heritage Areas. In 2016 over $42,000 in grant funding was awarded to 14 successful applicants.
Media Contact:
Kelly Maguire
Media Relations
City of St. John's