Headline News By Jon Willing 210 Views

Magee House owner puts Hintonburg property up for sale for $3.2 million

Ovidio Sbrissa has put his “castle in the sky” in Hintonburg on the market, deciding the historic Magee House is probably a goner.

Sbrissa, who has owned Magee House for 19 years, said the heritage value of the old stone building at 1119 Wellington St. W. is virtually “shot” after city interventions to stabilize the structure in the months after a partial collapse on July 24, 2018.

The $3.2-million asking price is the market valuation on the land without the building, he said. “Great opportunity to build your dream project fronting on Wellington Street in prime location,” the real estate listing begins.

Sbrissa’s dream for the property has faded, however.

He fought with the city over the cause of the collapse and the remediation work that followed. While he had plans to one day redevelop the land with the heritage-protected stone building as a centrepiece, Sbrissa is having a change of heart.

The Magee House dates back to 1881, first built as a single-family home and later used for commerce, such as a bank branch. It’s considered to be one of the few remaining stone structures in the area.

Any proposed demolition of the Magee House would require a heritage application to the city, which would need to weigh the threat of losing a piece of Ottawa’s history with the cost of restoring the building and the property’s contribution to Hintonburg’s main street.

Sbrissa, who’s an architect, predicted that the front wall of the building will have problems, requiring millions to refurbish and retain. The wall has been “stiffened” with concrete as part of the city’s stabilization work, even though it was always meant to be a “dry wall” without mortar, according to Sbrissa.