Old Mussallem residence was moved to Maple Ridge Cemetery in 2018. (THE NEWS/files)

Old Maple Ridge house will be an expensive fixer-upper

Report says cost will be $1.7 m to restore at cemetery

The old Mussallem house was trucked from Royal Crescent to the Maple Ridge Cemetery in the May 2018 and has been resting there ever since.

That exercise cost the city $97,000 for road widening, to allow the house to be moved and for design work.

But if the city wants to restore the heritage house and use it as a caretaker’s residence, office and public space, it’s going to cost another $1.68 million.

A report at council’s Tuesday workshop breaks down the costs, stating that it would cost $687,900 to build a foundation as well as install water and sewer connections.

In order to plan out the renovations or modifications to the old home, it would cost another $100,000 in architectural fees.

As for the actual construction costs to convert the house to a caretaker’s resident and as a public gathering space, those would be around $900,000. All of those projects would add up to another $1.68 million, according to the city’s consultants.

“Staff understands that the current cost estimates are significantly higher than previously anticipated …” said the report.

In 2018, BC Housing paid $250,000 to help with moving the home in order to clear the property and build the temporary supportive housing complex at that location. That project opened in October 2018. An anonymous donor also kicked in $100,000 to help pay for costs in order to save the house after the preceding council asked BC Housing to help with moving the house.

Read more: Council asking BC Housing to save old Maple Ridge house

The Mussallem residence, built in 1936, was where Bob Mussallem, son of former MLA George Mussallem, grew up, along with brother Dave and sister Anne. Bob’s grandfather Solomon Mussallem, a former mayor, founded the long-standing auto dealership business, Mussallem Motors. That building, at 223rd Street and Lougheed Highway, was torn down following a fire in November 2017.

Council on Tuesday can choose to proceed with the project – or it could also see if there was a community group who would take the old house off the site and use it for another purpose. If so, the city then would return the $100,000 anonymous donation. If no group stepped forward after three months, council could opt to have the building torn down.

However, no decisions have yet been made.


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Old Mussallem residence was moved to Maple Ridge Cemetery in 2018. (THE NEWS/files)

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