Richmond Review

Restoration of historic Branscombe House to begin

Branscombe House, at Steveston and Railway, was built in 1905 and currently sits in disrepair.  - Martin van den Hemel photo
Branscombe House, at Steveston and Railway, was built in 1905 and currently sits in disrepair.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

Richmond City Hall officials appear to be heeding a councillor’s warning to save one of the earliest homes built in Steveston.

Staff have secured a building permit to begin restoration on the 107-year-old Branscombe House, a vacant, dilapidated city-owned heritage building at 4900 Steveston Hwy.

According to city hall records, the permit for $301,500 of foundation work and other upgrades was issued Oct. 24.

During earlier budget talks in February, Coun. Harold Steves warned if money wasn’t spent in restoring vacant, historic structures, the city would soon be forced to “write these buildings off.”

Steves said the longer a building is left to sit, the higher the cost of restoration.

“It’s empty, it’s boarded up, and if we leave it another year that building ain’t gonna be there much longer,” said Steves at the time.

As the city’s 2013 capital plan doesn’t include any new funding for the building’s restoration, a private partner could be involved. But so far, the city isn’t commenting.

The Branscombe House, built in 1905, was once owned by David and Sarah Branscombe. An entry in the city’s heritage inventory, completed in 2000, noted the house was in “fair condition” at the time.

City staff previously considered adding a $180,000 Phase 1 of the restoration—which was to include a new roof, foundation, electrical work and asbestos removal—to this year’s budget, but ultimately didn’t recommend the project.

Branscombe House

•Located at 4900 Steveston Hwy. (at Railway)

•Built in 1905, now owned by city

•Two-storey Edwardian Builder style structure

•Once owned by the family of David and Sarah Branscombe

•Branscombe family owned and operated a general store on Moncton Street

•Former electric railway station near the home was called Branscombe Station

•At one time there were barns, chicken coops and other outbuildings on the property

* Source: City of Richmond’s heritage inventory


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