Monday, January 16, 2012

Neighbourhood devolution

The Spot restaurant on the right burned the other day.
I don't mind seeing homes converted to businesses. It is possible to do this in a way that respects the former homes. Done properly, these conversions can make for a very pleasant street, lined with heritage properties.

All too often, this is not done in London, Ontario. If an addition is necessary, it is often simply a boxy mass slapped onto the front or the side of the structure. Ugly.

Down the street from The Spot, the residential feel is intact.
A restaurant/apartment complex in the core burned the other day. It is always sad when a building suffers a fire, especially a residence. People can be injured, or killed, and treasured, irreplaceable stuff is lost. When a business is involved, the expense to the owner can put the business out of play permanently.

All that said, maybe the fire that gutted a restaurant and several attached apartments in London's core, causing an estimated $450,000 in damage, can be turned into a positive.

Maybe the restaurant can be rebuilt in keeping with the architecture of the older building. Let's blend the commercial smoothly into the residential.

Let's make this old, heritage structure evolve rather than devolve. Let's honour the past, the present and the future.

Many of the residences in this downtown neighbourhood date are circa 1880.
 All images screen grabs from Google Maps.

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