Fate of old Mussallem residence hangs in the balance. (THE NEWS - files)

Old Mussallem house on borrowed time in Maple Ridge Cemetery

Dec. 10 is deadline for proposals to save building

Time is ticking on the fate of the old Mussallem house languishing in Maple Ridge Cemetery.

Valoree Richmond, acting director of parks and facilities, said that two individuals have expressed interest in the house. If serious, they would have to show to the city that they have the financial capacity to move and restore the building.

A staff report will outline those options in the new year to council, which at that point could accept a proposal or simply decide to demolish the building.

The house was moved last May from its location at 22548 Royal Cres., in downtown Maple Ridge, to allow B.C. Housing to construct 55 temporary modular homes on the site.

Council earlier this year approved a three-month waiting period to see if any group or individual wants to preserve the building. The final day for expressions of interest to save the house is Dec. 10.

That decision followed a staff report from last September that said it would cost $1.68 million to restore the heritage house and create a public gathering space in the cemetery.

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

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.

B.C. Housing paid $250,000 to help with moving the house, while an anonymous donor gave $100,000 to help relocate the building.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

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