Holmes on PM's home: Brand new house would be cheaper than $38M reno
Home renovation expert and reality TV star Mike Holmes says the $38-million price tag to renovate the prime minister's house is "way high," and it would be cheaper to simply tear the whole thing down and construct a new building.
The star of HGTV Canada's "Holmes on Homes" says it would probably be cheaper to tear down the historic residence at 24 Sussex Drive and build a new house, although that would run contrary to Canada's desire to preserve the building.
"You could take the house down and build a brand new home," Holmes told CTV's Question Period. "If it was me, that's probably what I would do."
He added that building a new home would be cheaper, but he recognizes the government's desire to preserve the heritage building.
A recent report from iPolitics pegged the cost of restoring 24 Sussex Drive at $38 million, based on an estimate from consultants Marshal & Murray Inc. and KWC Architects. The estimate includes the cost of building a new annex with private quarters, adding a pool, installing new windows and doors, building a sun room, renovating the main building and replacing the electrical system.
"That's a huge amount of money… but this is a heritage home," Holmes said. He pointed out that the project is bound to be more expensive because of the security measures required to protect the PM, and because of the construction challenge of preserving the house's heritage elements. He added that the project would require an "awful lot of older talent that knows how to do this" in order to make sure it's done right.
"If it's done right the first time it'll last a lifetime," he said.
Holmes offered to renovate 24 Sussex last year, but his offer was not accepted.
"There was a lot of red tape around it, and I get it," he said. When asked by Question Period host Evan Solomon, Holmes admitted he's not sure if he still wants the job because of the scrutiny he would face.
"Do I really want to put myself in that position?" he said. "(Ottawa) is a world that I really don't want to play in, but if there's anyone good in the country that can do this, that's me."