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Saved from demolition in 2016, Shade Street home gets heritage designation

The property is owned by the Salvation Army
Screenshot 2021-11-24 1.59.37 PM
The unique brickwork at 22-24 Shade Street has earned the building a heritage designation from the city.

A 140-year-old duplex on Shade Street is the latest Cambridge property to be saved from future alteration or demolition with a heritage designation.

The brick home at 22-24 Shade Street is owned by the Salvation Army and had been the focus of a planned demolition in 2016 to increase parking for the Salvation Army's chapel and community space next door.

It was saved when a heritage impact assessment concluded the building holds “physical or design value and contextual value,” and recommended it be designated a heritage landmark.

Last year, the Salvation Army came back to the city with a new plan that didn’t include the subject property. 

The owners told staff then they wouldn’t support the designation because they plan to sell the home and use the proceeds to fund upgrades to the chapel and community space.

Later the same month, the city’s municipal heritage advisory committee recommended the designation go ahead.

The city’s committee of adjustment approved severing the property in December last year and council instructed staff to begin the process of designating the home in January. 

That was followed in April with a notice outlining the intention to designate the property. 

There were no objections to the proposal.

The first floor of the yellow-and-red-brick building was constructed around 1880 and the second floor was added in the 1930s using the same exterior materials.

The home, which has been on the City of Cambridge’s heritage registry since 2006, met the criteria for designation as a “rare example of a style and material due to its use of red and white bricks laid in a Flemish bond pattern.” 

The pattern lays bricks horizontally and perpendicularly to achieve the unique look.

Senior heritage planner Abraham Plunkett-Latimer said the style is rare to see on buildings in Cambridge.

It is also represents a high level of craftsmanship, reads his report. 

The property's "contextual value" stems from its historical link to Shade Street's industrial past and because “it supports the nineteenth and early twentieth century vernacular residential character of the area.”

Mayor Kathryn McGarry said she had a chance to see the interior of the home 25 years ago but what always stood out for her was the brickwork.

“It really is a spectacular looking building,” she said.

Council unanimously supported a recommendation to designate the property, adding to the more than 340 designated properties on the city’s heritage registry.

In addition to about $150 in processing and registration fees, the city will pay for the installation of a $500 heritage landmark plaque if the new owner wants one.