It feels a bit like whack a mole. One hobbit house gets a reprieve from the bulldozer and the next one comes up for sale. Fortunately the Lea Residence has a heritage designation, which means it can’t be torn down—it even comes with its own plaque.
This is the third time the house at 3979 West Broadway has come up for sale in the last five years. Back in 2009 its future looked shaky when it sold to a developer for $1.65 million. But instead of razing the place, James Curtis did a deal with the City where he sunk close to a million dollars into renovating the house, designated it, and in return was allowed to subdivide and build a second house on the large lot.
The realtor’s blurb says the West Broadway hobbit house offers an option for people wanting to down size, which makes me laugh because that renovation increased the size of the house to 3,000 sq. ft—that’s one gnarly “bungalow.”
The house is one of three story-book cottages in Vancouver designed by architect Ross Lort in the early 1940s. Lort also designed Casa Mia for the Reifel family on Southwest Marine Drive. The others are on King Edward in Vancouver and on Braeside in West Van. The Lea House first appears in the city directories in 1941 and is named for its original owner and builder Brenton Lea. Lea sold his house to William Brown a Vancouver dentist, in 1943.
You can get a look inside at the open house tomorrow March 2nd from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.