A six-storey apartment building is being proposed on the former home of La Rustica and La Spaghetteria restaurants.
Council has received a preliminary report regarding an updated application for the sites at 228 and 232 Sixth St., where a 53-unit, six-storey wood-frame apartment building with a three-level underground parkade is being proposed. Council has directed staff to process the rezoning and development permit applications.
The rezoning application would see the site’s zoning changed from community commercial districts – highrise to a new comprehensive development district, states a staff report.
“Staff has been processing an application on this site for the past couple of years,” said the report. “The project has not been able to progress due to site constraints and building proximity issues which staff had been working closely to resolve with the previous applicants.”
The site, which is located near other multi-family residential buildings, was sold in April 2016. The new owner has hired Denis Turco Architects to design the proposed building.
“While there are a number of items that will still need to be addressed with the project design, it is recommended that this proposal proceed to the public consultation stage and for staff to continue working with the applicants in regards to refining the project design, which will also include a followup presentation to the New Westminster deign panel,” said the report.
A staff report notes that the two homes on the site were built in 1919 but were modified through the years to be converted into restaurants so their historical value has “been significantly” diminished.
Because the proposed development would provide family-friendly housing that’s close to transit and the homes heritage value has decreased, staff don’t consider demolition of the homes to be a concern.
Coun. Jamie McEvoy said the city has to be careful that it doesn’t make any conclusions about the heritage value of the homes before the city’s community heritage commission and the community have a chance to weigh in on the matter.
“I think those two old houses add significantly to the sense of heritage in the Brow of the Hill and on Sixth Street. I would just suggest that there continue to be discussion on that point as we move forward,” he said. “It also highlights something for me that has been the case for 25 or 30 years in New Westminster, which is that there has never been a full assessment of the heritage homes.”
Salvatore Fancello operated La Rustica and La Lorraine, and later La Spaghetteria, on the sites for 40 years, before retiring in 2016.