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Dmajackson
Nov 15, 2010, 5:58 AM
Some current shots for the Agricola Street NSLC;

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4106/5176398800_31afa07364_z.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4092/5176400026_8bdef311d5_z.jpg

Dmajackson
Nov 15, 2010, 6:23 AM
3150 Barrington Street a couple of evenings ago;

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/5175646873_c4f54f74ea_z.jpg

Dmajackson
Nov 15, 2010, 10:02 PM
And finally (I think) the Agricola @ West project with a rendering;

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4152/5176256568_82d46e9aa2_z.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4111/5175654661_933fb55b3f_z.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4129/5176257968_9fda818f55_z.jpg

JustinMacD
Nov 15, 2010, 11:02 PM
Did anyone notice:

1. That Dairy Queen on SGR has been closed for several days now;
2. That one of the businesses in one of the little houses between DQ and The Trillium is relocating?

Interesting.. Hopefully there is something to this.

halifaxboyns
Nov 16, 2010, 3:36 AM
Someone mentioned that in the trillium thread, I'm getting giddy. :)
Lets hope it's something big, tall and impressive!
Like I've wished for months; another condo building and maybe a hotel :)

The office building on Agricola is a good start - now let's see something 5 stories or more...oh wait; NSLC! :)

Empire
Nov 16, 2010, 5:12 AM
Don't know if this was mentioned before but the 5495 Spring Garden proposal by Westwood Group is expected to be complete by next summer (August 2011). So I'm estimating a March start-date at the latest.

Their other project, Gladstone Ridge North, should be done a month later (September 2011).

What is 5495 Spring Garden Rd.?

someone123
Nov 16, 2010, 5:45 AM
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=185181

Sock it to ya is going to be replaced. If I remember correctly the lease is up at the end of the year so my guess is they'd demolish in January.

JET
Nov 16, 2010, 3:14 PM
http://www.pbase.com/thomaxx/image/41877237

I think that these are the buildings that came down today.

Footings are going in; something to fill in the hole. JET

Dmajackson
Nov 17, 2010, 12:38 PM
Infirmary’s field of vision may include urban farm
By KELLY SHIERS Staff Reporter
Wed, Nov 17 - 7:29 AM

One day, a one-hectare site at the corner of Bell Road and Robie Street will provide the room needed to expand the Halifax Infirmary.

But with plans for hospital expansion at least five years away, officials at Capital Health are floating the idea of turning the home of the former Queen Elizabeth High School into an urban farm to grow healthy food and demonstrate gardening skills, rather than leave the spot empty.

"Just before the demolition project began this summer, we advised people (demolition) was going to happen and this was a possibility we are considering," Capital Health spokesman John Gillis said Tuesday.

"The feedback’s been overwhelmingly positive — lots of people offering to help, wanting to get involved, including people who know better what they’re doing when it comes to farming than we do."

On Nov. 21, Capital Health will present its idea to use the land near the Halifax Commons temporarily as an urban farm during a public meeting at the Atlantica Halifax Hotel from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Gillis said officials are also interested in hearing any other ideas people may have to make use of the property for the interim in a way that will promote good health and education.

"If people come forward with some better ideas, or if there’s strong opposition to it, we’re open to changing plans," he said.

Using the land to provide additional parking at this time is not an option because an agreement with Halifax Regional Municipality rules that out, he said. But there may be additional parking space created there when the hospital does expand onto the site, he said.

In the meantime, demolition of the old school is expected to be complete in the spring of 2011. If the plan for the interim urban garden goes ahead, work could begin in the summer, he said.

Results from November’s public meeting will be presented at an open house Dec.1, between 5 and 7 p.m. at the Royal Bank Theatre in the Halifax Infirmary.

Those unable to attend the public meeting can provide any input to participate@cdha.nshealth.ca or through facebook.com/CapitalHealth or twitter.com/Capital_Health.
( kshiers@herald.ca )

Chronicle Herald Article (http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1212452.html)

Keith P.
Nov 17, 2010, 9:48 PM
The Dave's Bottle Exchange on Agricola is in the process of demolition today.

Dmajackson
Nov 17, 2010, 10:03 PM
The Dave's Bottle Exchange on Agricola is in the process of demolition today.

There was an old proposal for that site a couple of years back but I can't remember for the life of me what it was. It'll try looking it up.

Dmajackson
Nov 17, 2010, 10:12 PM
Here we go;

Development Agreement - Case 00870 (http://www.halifax.ca/commcoun/pcc/documents/080114pcc1111.pdf)

It's for 5784 Charles Street (the Bottle Exchange). It a 4 storey residential building stretching from Agricola St to June St with a small commercial portion fronting on Agricola Street. The plan was approved back in January of 2008.

Keith P.
Nov 17, 2010, 10:16 PM
Man, that looks awful.

fenwick16
Nov 17, 2010, 10:17 PM
Here we go;

Development Agreement - Case 00870 (http://www.halifax.ca/commcoun/pcc/documents/080114pcc1111.pdf)

It's for 5784 Charles Street (the Bottle Exchange). It a 4 storey residential building stretching from Agricola St to June St with a small commercial portion fronting on Agricola Street. The plan was approved back in January of 2008.

At least they aren't using vinyl siding (they show Hardiplank in their rendering). I can't get excited about that one.

sdm
Nov 18, 2010, 12:23 AM
The Dave's Bottle Exchange on Agricola is in the process of demolition today.

The rumour is that chapman auto body(adjacent property) has purchased the site.

Empire
Nov 18, 2010, 1:29 AM
At least they aren't using vinyl siding (they show Hardiplank in their rendering). I can't get excited about that one.

That is one butt ugly building.......

HRM staff, The Land Use By-Law, The Municipal Planning Strategy, The Regional Plan, HRMxD, The Downtown Secondary Plan, STV, B. Dvenne, Peter Kelly, Darrell Dexter, Bugs Bunny, are all incapable of stopping this incendious assault on our urban landscape.

halifaxboyns
Nov 18, 2010, 1:44 AM
So much better could've gone there; but they've never done anything with the site.

Has it gone ahead?

fenwick16
Nov 18, 2010, 1:49 AM
It just shows, as long as a building is short it can be built unopposed no matter how bad it looks. This could be used as a promotional poster for tall, well-designed buildings. Do people want short buildings like that or tall buildings like the new Nova Centre design?

halifaxboyns
Nov 18, 2010, 2:02 AM
It just shows, as long as a building is short it can be built unopposed no matter how bad it looks. This could be used as a promotional poster for tall, well-designed buildings. Do people want short buildings like that or tall buildings like the new Nova Centre design?

Way to turn it around - I like it.

someone123
Nov 18, 2010, 4:15 AM
HRM staff, The Land Use By-Law, The Municipal Planning Strategy, The Regional Plan, HRMxD, The Downtown Secondary Plan, STV, B. Dvenne, Peter Kelly, Darrell Dexter, Bugs Bunny, are all incapable of stopping this incendious assault on our urban landscape.

Well it sounds like it might not even be an issue. Maybe this will become a parking lot for the auto body shop.

halifaxboyns
Nov 18, 2010, 6:38 AM
I can't remember what thread we were discussing the fact that both Dal and SMU had campus expansion plans; but I found this in the Edmonton thread.
This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIOjooUUJtI) is the proposed campus expansion plan for Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton - I guess schools across the county are growing!

I love the iconic campus downtown - I always thought the big towers were Alberta's own weapon's silos lol.

someone123
Nov 19, 2010, 3:09 AM
Allnovascotia tonight makes it sound like the DQ building owner is simply looking for a new tenant.

beyeas
Nov 19, 2010, 12:53 PM
:previous:
yeah I saw that... disappointing.
Especially given that, with the pizza place having burned down and the Daily Grind having closed that is 3 places in a row along avery prominent corner that are empty. Won't stay that way for long I am sure given that it is a desirable corner, but still sucks, plus it really sucks that it doesn't sound as if there is any move to consolidate for a larger development.

sdm
Nov 19, 2010, 2:18 PM
:previous:
yeah I saw that... disappointing.
Especially given that, with the pizza place having burned down and the Daily Grind having closed that is 3 places in a row along avery prominent corner that are empty. Won't stay that way for long I am sure given that it is a desirable corner, but still sucks, plus it really sucks that it doesn't sound as if there is any move to consolidate for a larger development.

If people where able to build height/ density then i believe you would see the consolidation of the lots, but as it stands now the price to purchase these properties would be extremely challenging to make a new development economically feasible due lack of density/height. Simply put, a new development can only carry so much in the way of land costs within the development proforma before it proves to be uneconomical.

Dmajackson
Nov 19, 2010, 3:28 PM
Just in case people are wondering about the 5784 Charles proposal still I have added it to the Compilation Thread (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=154160) and the Halifax Developments Map (http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=112449274347342063981.00048f63fbd559244589d&ll=44.654184,-63.585734&spn=0.008655,0.026071&z=16). Right now it's listed as having the existing building demolished which is true but if it is for an expansion of Chapman's that will soon change.

JustinMacD
Nov 19, 2010, 8:06 PM
:previous:
yeah I saw that... disappointing.
Especially given that, with the pizza place having burned down and the Daily Grind having closed that is 3 places in a row along avery prominent corner that are empty. Won't stay that way for long I am sure given that it is a desirable corner, but still sucks, plus it really sucks that it doesn't sound as if there is any move to consolidate for a larger development.

Bookmark is between the Daily Grind and DQ.

hfxtradesman
Nov 19, 2010, 8:16 PM
There will be another 4-pad rink put over at the Dartmouth Crossing area in the next litlle while. And the sportsplex is going to get a complete make over, once council approves the project, if anybody is keeping track.

sdm
Nov 20, 2010, 12:42 AM
There will be another 4-pad rink put over at the Dartmouth Crossing area in the next litlle while. And the sportsplex is going to get a complete make over, once council approves the project, if anybody is keeping track.

really, well not sure your sources but if the following is the case i would like to see how they deal with it seeing there is a budget issue http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9018742.html

Keith P.
Nov 20, 2010, 2:22 AM
really, well not sure your sources but if the following is the case i would like to see how they deal with it seeing there is a budget issue http://thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9018742.html

No problem, they'll just fire up the dollar bill printing press in the basement of City Hall and spend, spend, spend!

Either that, or just raise taxes again, to crushing levels. HRM cannot help themselves. They live to spend our money on absolute waste.

sdm
Nov 20, 2010, 3:18 AM
No problem, they'll just fire up the dollar bill printing press in the basement of City Hall and spend, spend, spend!

Either that, or just raise taxes again, to crushing levels. HRM cannot help themselves. They live to spend our money on absolute waste.

its truly sad as council has no idea that simply taxing the crap out of commerical it is making business rethink whether or not to be located here.

in 2011 commerical as an example (resturants, small business, large corporate) will see an increase of 11% on electricity, 40% in water fees and most likely 6% real estate taxes. All translates into higher prices and lower revenues.

someone123
Nov 20, 2010, 4:54 AM
its truly sad as council has no idea that simply taxing the crap out of commerical it is making business rethink whether or not to be located here.

in 2011 commerical as an example (resturants, small business, large corporate) will see an increase of 11% on electricity, 40% in water fees and most likely 6% real estate taxes. All translates into higher prices and lower revenues.

I've always thought that this process seems very broken since councillors are largely elected by residential property owners who are only indirectly affected by commercial rates. Councillors do not have an incentive to set fair taxation levels across the board.

JET
Nov 22, 2010, 12:49 PM
I've always thought that this process seems very broken since councillors are largely elected by residential property owners who are only indirectly affected by commercial rates. Councillors do not have an incentive to set fair taxation levels across the board.

Are not commercial property owners in most cases also residential property owners. Given that many people don't vote, if all the commercial owners turned out for the vote, would they not have significant sway. If they are also part of the mass that don't vote, then we all get what we vote for. :shrug:

Jstaleness
Nov 26, 2010, 1:26 AM
I grabbed a picture of the new building on Agricola as I was driving by today. I really like the look of it personally.
http://i663.photobucket.com/albums/uu360/jstaleness/IMG00273.jpg

someone123
Nov 30, 2010, 6:45 AM
Allnovascotia is reporting that Danny Chedrawe has purchased the TD building on Spring Garden Road between Brunswick and Queen, which means that he now owns the entire block and plans to move forward with a 7 storey development.

Not sure what to think as it's described as "traditional mixed with modern". Apparently there is no plan to incorporate the old buildings on this site. If that's true it would be a big mistake not to move them or preserve them in some way. There aren't a ton of brick rowhouses in Halifax and the former BMO building on the corner has a nice sandstone facade that is a landmark in the area. Maybe these could be relocated onto the Clyde Street lands?

Preservation issues aside, I can see this becoming quite the corner with both the new library and major new development across from it.

beyeas
Nov 30, 2010, 12:23 PM
:previous: yeah I had the same reaction. There is very little else worth saving on that block, but the BMO facade on the corner is very attractive and distinctive and well worth saving.

It sounds like it will be a great development for what is becoming a very prominent corner in Halifax... but destroying that facade is a sticking point for me. It is for times like this that I wish we had a credible advocate for heritage in this city, as opposed to groups who just want to save empty lots.

bluenoser
Nov 30, 2010, 5:11 PM
I would be very sad to see the BMO facade torn down, and to some extent, the brick buildings on the Brunswick corner as well. It is a fairly large lot and long frontage on Spring Garden so maybe it would even be desireable to incorporate these into the new development to break up the bulk of it and add some character, as opposed to having the whole block look the same? Presumably the new development will be stepped down to a similar height at street level anyway.

I guess it's the same old problem; I just can't get that excited about a new development that tears down beautiful old buildings while there are so many empty lots in the city, particularly the Clyde St. lands that are so close by.

cormiermax
Nov 30, 2010, 5:49 PM
Does anyone have any renders of this proposal?

JET
Nov 30, 2010, 5:50 PM
:previous: yeah I had the same reaction. There is very little else worth saving on that block, but the BMO facade on the corner is very attractive and distinctive and well worth saving.

It sounds like it will be a great development for what is becoming a very prominent corner in Halifax... but destroying that facade is a sticking point for me. It is for times like this that I wish we had a credible advocate for heritage in this city, as opposed to groups who just want to save empty lots.

It would be a shame to lose the Fat Franks building.

beyeas
Nov 30, 2010, 6:15 PM
Which one is Fat Franks?

someone123
Nov 30, 2010, 7:40 PM
To be honest even the old TD building is kind of interesting. Halifax is not a big city and doesn't have a huge stock of old architecture. It's going to quickly lose its historic character if another block goes down every few years.

Part of the issue here is that most of the empty lots are being held up for one reason or another.

And I agree that it would be infinitely more useful to have real heritage advocates who are practical and focus on saving architecture rather than opposing developers. I don't think it's a particularly tough sell or particularly unreasonable to save something like the BMO facade if you're doing a big development on an entire block.

I also have to wonder why there's so little money for heritage preservation in Halifax. That's probably what we should have instead of requiring developers to pay for public art, i.e. fake lighthouses. Imagine if there was a fund available for this kind of preservation and the city officially got "first dibs" on anything that was going to be torn down.

JET
Nov 30, 2010, 8:12 PM
Which one is Fat Franks?

http://www.halifaxhistory.ca/WineDine.html
a walk down memory lane
Fat Franks was at 5411 Spring Garden Road, brio swimwear still there?
nice character building, to the west of what was Thackery's and later a bagel place.

DigitalNinja
Nov 30, 2010, 10:20 PM
IMO the facade of the front of the TD building looks ok as well in the nice sandstone, would be nice to have the facades kept of both of these buildings and then just build the 7 story behind them...

fenwick16
Nov 30, 2010, 11:06 PM
Here is a Bing Map link as a point of reference - http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=rf6jrr9q1vhn&lvl=19.236983911829803&dir=358.9717440138214&sty=u&where1=Halifax%2C%20NS&q=halifax%2C%20nova%20scotia .

The BMO building certainly looks good. I can't say that the TD building is very appealing to me. The brick buildings at the corner of Brunswick and Spring Garden also have a lot of character.

If even just the BMO bank could be saved then it would greatly add to the development. However, if it is only the facade then how beneficial is it? I wonder it the bank interior could also be saved?

Keith P.
Nov 30, 2010, 11:07 PM
I found 2 old renderings for the BMO site on SGR and Queen. Neither of these match and I suspect neither will be built as shown.

Here is the first, from the front side. This seems to date from a time before he acquired the entire block and so includes only the BMO building. I believe at the time he was thinking about a boutique hotel for the site:

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/keith_p/bmo_westwood.jpg


Here is a different rendering, from the rear perspective. For reference, that is the NSLC Port of Wines in the edge of the frame on the left:

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/keith_p/bmowestwoodrear.jpg

cormiermax
Nov 30, 2010, 11:37 PM
That 2nd render looks great.

beyeas
Nov 30, 2010, 11:50 PM
Here is a different rendering, from the rear perspective. For reference, that is the NSLC Port of Wines in the edge of the frame on the left:

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/keith_p/bmowestwoodrear.jpg

Interesting that he seems to think he also owns Doyle street and can block it off. :haha:

JustinMacD
Dec 1, 2010, 12:43 AM
Interesting that he seems to think he also owns Doyle street and can block it off. :haha:

That actually might be a nice little street to turn into a pedestrian walkway.

Looks beautiful.

Like everyone else though, I love the BMO sandstone building the way it is.

Empire
Dec 1, 2010, 12:53 AM
Interesting that he seems to think he also owns Doyle street and can block it off. :haha:

The second rendering is not bad. However, to destroy this block for a mediocre HFX developer is an outrage. In no measure is this progress, just as Waterside is not progress. There has never been a heritage program that worked in HRM. A $2000 award for a paint job and a new awning doesn't protect our valued assets.

If you look at the first rendering it demonstrates how pathetic our system is. Just the fact that someone would propose a mess like that shows how much we need to improve. Let's see what the Design Review Committee is made of.

1st Rendering
http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/keith_p/bmo_westwood.jpg
2nd Rendering
http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/keith_p/bmowestwoodrear.jpg[/QUOTE]

Eroding Sandstone
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=halifax&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=24.527725,63.369141&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Halifax,+Halifax+County,+Nova+Scotia&ll=44.64333,-63.575842&spn=0,0.015471&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=44.643289,-63.575977&panoid=KsMU1upDs7AdHT1LLTssJA&cbp=12,26.83,,0,-10

kph06
Dec 1, 2010, 2:48 AM
The second rendering is featured on the DRSA Envision website, they were named the architect for this project. So that might be close to the proposal coming out this spring.

Dmajackson
Dec 1, 2010, 9:23 PM
NDP bill would shore up heritage buildings
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
Wed, Dec 1 - 3:33 PM

The Nova Scotia government is proposing legislation it says is aimed at providing more protection to historic buildings and other properties.
The primary change to the Heritage Property Act would increase the time period under which demolitions or structural changes to heritage properties could proceed, from one to three years.

Culture and Heritage Minister Percy Paris says the move would allow more time for municipalities, developers and property owners to discuss what should ultimately be done.

The government says it would also increase the penalty for companies that alter or demolish a registered heritage property without permission from $100,000 to $250,000.

Another change would protect abandoned or neglected historic buildings from being deregistered as heritage properties.

The Chronicle Herald Article (http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9018862.html)

someone123
Dec 1, 2010, 10:53 PM
I hope there are other changes, because the ones listed in that article aren't very helpful. Landlords have been holding on to half-empty heritage buildings for decades. Do they really care if they have to wait 3 years or 1 year to demolish? The only difference there is that the public gets an extra 2 years to look at a neglected, boarded up building.

The only way to "fix" heritage buildings is to attach funding or development bonuses to them. This is because, inherently, we are asking private developers to pay for a benefit to the public. Heritage properties generally aren't worth as much to the owners as they are to society at large.

I'm still wondering where the Herald finds the room temperature IQ crowd for its comments ("Tax and spend NDP destroyed my Ultramar!" - it would be hard to invent this stuff).

Empire
Dec 1, 2010, 11:07 PM
NDP bill would shore up heritage buildings
By THE CANADIAN PRESS
Wed, Dec 1 - 3:33 PM



The Chronicle Herald Article (http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Front/9018862.html)

That's a pretty good first baby step. The problem still exists......you can demolish a registered heritage property if you wait long enough. Waterside is the prime example whereby all buildings were registered heritage buildings and now it looks like Berlin 1945. There is no excuse for this mess, either by HRM, the province and especially Ben McCrae.

MonctonRad
Dec 2, 2010, 1:27 AM
I'm still wondering where the Herald finds the room temperature IQ crowd for its comments ("Tax and spend NDP destroyed my Ultramar!" - it would be hard to invent this stuff).

Is that in celsius or fahrenheit someone :haha:

Great comment BTW :tup:

JET
Dec 2, 2010, 1:27 PM
That's a pretty good first baby step. The problem still exists......you can demolish a registered heritage property if you wait long enough. Waterside is the prime example whereby all buildings were registered heritage buildings and now it looks like Berlin 1945. There is no excuse for this mess, either by HRM, the province and especially Ben McCrae.

It would be interesting to know if vacant bldgs, empty lots have a lower tax rate than developed properties. Having a high tax rate would be a motivator to maintain properties

beyeas
Dec 2, 2010, 2:24 PM
I think the Saleh's point is fair (that slowly down the demo period makes sense, but not necessarily slowly down the ability to make a significant reno application).

Mostly though, what is really needed here is the two pronged approach of a) a disincentive to get rid of these buildings through making it not beneficial tax-wise to knock them down and leave the as empty lots, and b) a positive incentive through providing financial breaks of some form for having preserved/refurbished them (to, as someone else said on here, acknowledge the fact that this is in the public interest and that we are asking a developer to spend his/her own money). A 'real' Heritage Trust would be actively working to provide positive incentives like this, rather than simply being in negative reactive mode.

JET
Dec 2, 2010, 2:49 PM
along the theme of renovating old properties; there is a five story apartment building on the corner of north and gottingen that I've always liked. They are putting all new windows in and red hardie siding on the outside. It also looks they will be putting small balconies on both sides of the front floors (and probably taking down the front fire escape/balconies) this is one property that someone could have argued was 'not up to code/not worth restoring'; tore it down and put up something new. It's a neat place and great that it is a reno instead of a raze.

JET
Dec 2, 2010, 3:46 PM
sorry duplicate

sdm
Dec 2, 2010, 3:50 PM
That's a pretty good first baby step. The problem still exists......you can demolish a registered heritage property if you wait long enough. Waterside is the prime example whereby all buildings were registered heritage buildings and now it looks like Berlin 1945. There is no excuse for this mess, either by HRM, the province and especially Ben McCrae.

Ben McCrea has done more for heritage buildings in this city then anyone else Empire.

JET
Dec 2, 2010, 5:18 PM
Ben McCrea has done more for heritage buildings in this city then anyone else Empire.

I hate to quibble, but did you mean to say heritage facades?

sdm
Dec 2, 2010, 5:24 PM
I hate to quibble, but did you mean to say heritage facades?

Historic Properties isn't facades

JET
Dec 2, 2010, 5:43 PM
Historic Properties isn't facades

I was thinking more in terms of Founders Square, you are absolutely correct about Historic Properties. I sit corrected. :worship:

fenwick16
Dec 2, 2010, 6:40 PM
I have to agree with sdm. Ben McCrea was doing restorations back when it was not in the spotlight. Many developers wouldn't have gone to the trouble to maintain as much of the Founder Square block as Ben McCrea did. Without massive government subsidies to maintain these buildings as they are, then they will simply be neglected until they literally fall down.

I don't think that developers can make a profit on completely renovating old buildings. Often such renovations won't meet current building codes (insufficient exits, no fire sprinkler systems, etc.). Even restoring the facades will add cost to a development.

What is the status of the Waterside project - has any more work been done?

halifaxboyns
Dec 2, 2010, 7:01 PM
I think it's a matter of balance. I think that there is a general opinion that heritage is part of the character of HRM; but it comes to a choice of the developer. Fenwick, I think, is right - it's terribly cost prohibitive to restore older buildings to meet current codes and sometimes not possible.

Personally, I think the 3 year delay really won't matter because if the project involves removal of an old building - they will just wait. What I'd like to see (and I must admit that I haven't read the whole thing) a tax incentive or some funding that gives assistance if an old building is to be retained or restored. That I think can help or a mechanism to defer municipal taxes for a few years; that too can help.

But ultimately it comes down to the developer. McRae has done some good things; but I think the condition of some of the buildings for waterside really prevented restoration.

sdm
Dec 2, 2010, 7:09 PM
I have to agree with sdm. Ben McCrea was doing restorations back when it was not in the spotlight. Many developers wouldn't have gone to the trouble to maintain as much of the Founder Square block as Ben McCrea did. Without massive government subsidies to maintain these buildings as they are, then they will simply be neglected until they literally fall down.

I don't think that developers can make a profit on completely renovating old buildings. Often such renovations won't meet current building codes (insufficient exits, no fire sprinkler systems, etc.). Even restoring the facades will add cost to a development.

What is the status of the Waterside project - has any more work been done?

I know there is a lot of talk that the market for downtown is not in good shape and that tenants are not willing to look at higher priced longer commitment real estate. The 4th qtr stats from someone like CBRE are going to be a interesting read.

beyeas
Dec 2, 2010, 7:42 PM
What is the status of the Waterside project - has any more work been done?

Nope.

This won't move ahead until he has pre-leased most of it, and from what he has been griping about in the news it would seem that that has been impacted by the likelihood of the Nova Centre being built.

Waye Mason
Dec 2, 2010, 7:46 PM
Historic Properties isn't facades

Historic properties was really good, for a project in the 1970s. To bad about Founders Square and Waterside, too bad about the Heart and Thistle extension.

sdm
Dec 2, 2010, 8:47 PM
Historic properties was really good, for a project in the 1970s. To bad about Founders Square and Waterside, too bad about the Heart and Thistle extension.

The hart & thisle isn't bad, but i know personally the harbourside market was a money loser due to no traffic in the downtown after 5 or during the winter.

FuzzyWuz
Dec 2, 2010, 8:58 PM
If people where able to build height/ density then i believe you would see the consolidation of the lots, but as it stands now the price to purchase these properties would be extremely challenging to make a new development economically feasible due lack of density/height. Simply put, a new development can only carry so much in the way of land costs within the development proforma before it proves to be uneconomical.

So is the bylaw structure, as it stands, designed, delibarately or not, to lead to a slow inevitable decline on SGR?

...oh yay!

someone123
Dec 2, 2010, 9:13 PM
The land cost argument is a bit suspect though, since the price of lots can vary and depends primarily on what people believe the development potential is. In other words, if properties become subject to restrictions their value should eventually fall. This is bad if you're the owner but wouldn't necessarily result in less development.

Actually height limits often improve upon this situation, since when there are no limits there is a tendency for building owners to "hold out" for a big tower. In a Halifax context, this would mean waiting for a 20 or 30 storey building when only maybe 2 might be built downtown on a good year (removing restrictions does not create demand). This tends to leave downtown areas in a permanent half-developed state where they are half office tower (big payout) and half parking lot (buildings are torn down to avoid paying taxes while waiting 20 years for development). To some degree I'm sure this effect is at play with Halifax's absentee landowners. They don't pay attention to their property because they know they can sell it one day if they need to (or maybe they'll get a windfall sooner when a big developer comes knocking). This is really wasteful and something the city should try to discourage with regulation. Land use affects more people than just the property owner!

Another issue might be fixed costs associated with approval and so on, though supposedly this was fixed with HbD. If every development requires 2-3 years of red tape then the small developments become unappealing. It's not worth the fight a slightly larger commercial buildings but might be worth it for a highrise. I'm not sure how true this is these days, and it's worth noting that there are two small proposals for Spring Garden Road: the new TD building and City Centre Atlantic. There's also the Trillium and over a longer timeframe the library and perhaps the Brunswick/Queen block, YMCA/CBC, and Clyde Street. I don't think the area is doing badly.

Certainly the taxation rules also play a role since they encourage minimal property use, which is totally backward. This is obvious to a lot of people but for whatever reason never gets dealt with.

Waye Mason
Dec 2, 2010, 11:47 PM
The hart & thisle isn't bad, but i know personally the harbourside market was a money loser due to no traffic in the downtown after 5 or during the winter.


I would like them to make it a separate building from the old market and restore the old foot traffic pattern there. I think they made a colossal mistake when they did that renovation. Just tear down the doors and restore the wall to the old mall.

Keith P.
Dec 3, 2010, 1:58 AM
Historic Properties isn't facades

No, but it isn't all that authentic either. It is quite Disneyfied.

In regard to the change in heritage legislation, I predict it will be a boon to arsonists who will now find themsleves in demand to start mysterious blazes in empty, decrepit old buildings that the owners want gone but cannot demolish.

Empire
Dec 3, 2010, 4:50 AM
It would be interesting to know if vacant bldgs, empty lots have a lower tax rate than developed properties. Having a high tax rate would be a motivator to maintain properties

This is one of the problems for sure. The assessment is lower with the building gone so it is indeed an incentive to demolish a building.
I think that if a registered heritage building is demolished then the assessment should not be lowered for that lot. It is far more expensive to renovated an older building then start from scratch and this is why tax incentives are a must. The tax rate for registered heritage buildings should be reduced if not eliminated. The heritage act would be strictly applied to these buildings but they would become a valued asset to own.

Ben McCrea has done more for heritage buildings in this city then anyone else Empire.

Historic properties (Ben McCrea) is an example of what can be done with full restoration. Unfortunately it is very expensive and remains prohibitive for most buildings. This is where massive tax breaks are required. Founders Square (Ben McCrea) is an excellent development as well. However, not all of these buildings were registered buildings. The Morses Tea building beside Waterside is being fully renovated a kept intact so it is not impossible to do. The Waterside buildings were harded to renovate but the fact remains that we allow registered heritage buildings to be destroyed. The province and city need to step in and assist developers.

halifaxboyns
Dec 3, 2010, 4:52 AM
The land cost argument is a bit suspect though, since the price of lots can vary and depends primarily on what people believe the development potential is. In other words, if properties become subject to restrictions their value should eventually fall. This is bad if you're the owner but wouldn't necessarily result in less development.

Actually height limits often improve upon this situation, since when there are no limits there is a tendency for building owners to "hold out" for a big tower. In a Halifax context, this would mean waiting for a 20 or 30 storey building when only maybe 2 might be built downtown on a good year (removing restrictions does not create demand). This tends to leave downtown areas in a permanent half-developed state where they are half office tower (big payout) and half parking lot (buildings are torn down to avoid paying taxes while waiting 20 years for development). To some degree I'm sure this effect is at play with Halifax's absentee landowners. They don't pay attention to their property because they know they can sell it one day if they need to (or maybe they'll get a windfall sooner when a big developer comes knocking). This is really wasteful and something the city should try to discourage with regulation. Land use affects more people than just the property owner!

Another issue might be fixed costs associated with approval and so on, though supposedly this was fixed with HbD. If every development requires 2-3 years of red tape then the small developments become unappealing. It's not worth the fight a slightly larger commercial buildings but might be worth it for a highrise. I'm not sure how true this is these days, and it's worth noting that there are two small proposals for Spring Garden Road: the new TD building and City Centre Atlantic. There's also the Trillium and over a longer timeframe the library and perhaps the Brunswick/Queen block, YMCA/CBC, and Clyde Street. I don't think the area is doing badly.

Certainly the taxation rules also play a role since they encourage minimal property use, which is totally backward. This is obvious to a lot of people but for whatever reason never gets dealt with.

I find your comment about taxation interesting, because as a planner in a city of sprawl; I'm constantly thinking trying to think of ways we can turn around the push of office development out of Calgary's core. Calgary is probably in the same situation to a degree (due in part to the economy).

Some buildings went ahead anyway because of leasing committments, but many didn't and the lots remain parking lots and developers beg for extentions to these parking lots just to recoup costs of holding the land.

Personally - I agree, that not having a height limit (if the viewplanes didn't exist) makes no difference, because people still wouldn't build much in terms of office (although I have a feeling we'd see a lot more residential).

I also get the impression that because land prices are so much higher in downtown that the only way to put them back on the same pace as suburban development is to create mechanisms to defer property taxes for a temporary period so that the initial costs of building are low and then slowly ramp up once the building is occupied. Combine that with an increase in property tax on suburban office development and restricting parking for such uses (instead of having a sea of parking); I think you could actually turn the movement back into the core. But it would be a huge experiment that I'm not sure I'd want to try on Halifax. Perhaps somewhere else; which had a more stable economy.

bluenoser
Dec 3, 2010, 5:32 PM
A good overview of some of the projects going on / proposed for downtown proper. I vaguely remember hearing something before about the St. Mary's parking lot being developed, but I didn't remember any details. I'm not sure what they would do with the courtyard in behind; it's kind of hard to access but it sounds interesting anyway.

----------------------------------------

Hold on to your hard hats; Downtown Halifax is under construction
By ROGER TAYLOR Business Columnist
Fri, Dec 3 - 7:36 AM

The prospect of Halifax undergoing a makeover after more than two decades without any major construction is injecting some excitement back into the downtown area.

The linchpin for the whole thing, of course, is the proposed Nova Centre, which will include a convention centre, hotel, and office and retail space.

Work on the $500-million Argyle Street project is expected to begin early in the new year, but it isn’t the only downtown construction project planned for 2011.

Just down Grafton Street from the Nova Centre, which is being developed by Rank Inc., the company has another project on the go in conjunction with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax.

The archdiocese signed a letter of intent last year with Rank to develop church-owned lands adjacent to Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Grafton Street.

The plan for the residential building still hasn’t been revealed, but it is expected to involve the church parking lot, a courtyard behind the basilica and the building that now houses the diocese administration offices at 1521 Grafton St.

The church hopes development of the lands will create an income stream that could be used to help defray the cost of maintaining the cathedral and the historic glebe house.

Spring Garden Road has often been referred to as an upscale part of downtown, but that is debatable. With the amount of construction proposed for the area now, there is a chance the street will start to live up to its tony reputation.

Not a long walk up Spring Garden from the basilica, past the existing central library, people should see construction of the $55-million, 109,000-square-foot library begin early in the new year.

The distinctive architectural design to be built at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Queen Street is expected to be completed by early 2014.

The library’s book collection is expected to be 50 per cent larger than the one at the existing library. The new library will be set back from the street to provide space for public art and meeting space, which will play into the theme of having the library serve as a community centre.

Just across the street from the new library, developer Danny Chedrawe, president of Westwood Developments Ltd., has completed the final part of a land assembly for the block that fronts on Spring Garden Road between Brunswick and Queen streets.

It has been reported that he expects to redevelop that block over the next three or four years, with a boutique hotel on the Spring Garden side and retail space fronting on Doyle Street in the back.

Just up the street, however, Chedrawe has more immediate plans for another property he has assembled. He expects to start construction in February on a 25,000-square-foot glass structure at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Birmingham Street. TD Canada Trust will be the primary tenant, taking three floors in the four-storey building.

In other construction news, work on the WM Fares Group’s $41-million, 19-storey Trillium condominium building at the corner of Brenton Place and South Park Street is nearing completion, adding another dimension to that part of town.

The area’s facelift won’t end there.

The CBC building at the corner of Sackville and South streets has been sold and is expected to be redeveloped in association with the YMCA next door.

And once the new library is completed, the site of the former library on Spring Garden is expected to be sold for redevelopment. There is also a strong interest in developing the properties that are now used as parking lots behind the Spring Garden Road shops and running along Clyde Street.

Let’s not forget the former Halifax Infirmary property on Queen Street will also be developed and there will be plenty of development in the Barrington Street area, too.

( rtaylor@herald.ca)

reddog794
Dec 3, 2010, 7:26 PM
A good article, if people read more about development, the more they get used to the fact DT is, and will continue, growing.

I found this article on infomonkey

http://spacingatlantic.ca/2010/12/02/events-guide-4funds-make-your-impact-halifax/

DigitalNinja
Dec 3, 2010, 8:33 PM
Good article, very positive. I would hate to see the old library sold, I think they should turn it into a War museum for Halifax for WW1 and WW2 would be interesting, or even just a museum for the history of Halifax.

someone123
Dec 3, 2010, 9:12 PM
I also remember hearing about the St. Mary's redevelopment but I don't know any details. Residential on that corner would be great. Developing the courtyard area doesn't seem particularly difficult - something could be built through the Maritime Hobbies space. It would be interesting if they went up to 6 or 8 storeys behind the Blowers Street buildings.

My hope is that they'll keep the brick buildings along Grafton, and that whatever goes up on the corner is carefully designed for the streetscape. The courthouse and St. Mary's are two of the nicest heritage buildings in the city.

Waye Mason
Dec 3, 2010, 10:06 PM
Good article, very positive. I would hate to see the old library sold, I think they should turn it into a War museum for Halifax for WW1 and WW2 would be interesting, or even just a museum for the history of Halifax.

They could make a museum and art gallery. There are over 2000 pieces of art going back 250 years in the HRM collection, most of which are sitting in a warehouse unseen.

Phalanx
Dec 4, 2010, 1:08 AM
That reminds me... Wasn't there some discussion of new renders with some significant changes for the YMCA redevelopment a few months back? Were those ever made available?

Keith P.
Dec 4, 2010, 1:21 AM
HRM is in anywhere from a $13 million to a $30 million hole right now. We do not need more money-losers, especially not on the prime retail street in eastern Canada. Sell the damn thing.

fenwick16
Dec 4, 2010, 1:22 AM
That reminds me... Wasn't there some discussion of new renders with some significant changes for the YMCA redevelopment a few months back? Were those ever made available?


This is what is listed on the YMCA website (below). It sounds like the design is still in progress.

(source: http://www.newhalifaxymca.ca/the-new-ymca/renderings.html )
Architect Renderings of New YMCA

Our design work is continuing to evolve based on ongoing consultations. We look forward to providing updated concepts in the near future, so stay tuned!

dmac26
Dec 4, 2010, 1:50 AM
These are the details I have for this site. The Glebe house on the corner of Barrington and Spring Garden is being restored as a residence for priests and the Bishop. There will be a courtyard for parking but also a memorial with the remains of people buried under the church parking lot beside the basilica. That lot (to the west of the basilica) will be available for development but from what I understand the other buildings to the north of the parking lot (hobbie shop and church offices will not be touched). I think the church wants to hold onto the land and still own it after being developed. They also own the land on Barrington next to the church currently an apartment building.

halifaxboyns
Dec 4, 2010, 3:43 AM
HRM may be in the hole; but I suspect that if there is any attempt to sale the old library for any redevelopment, we'll be seeing the heritage groups go up in arms. Now that being said; the sale of the property could include conditions that the building be maintained as part of any redevelopment but that's speculation.

But this whole defecit issue goes back to the conversation that's been had a few times about intensity of use in the downtown. The 7 storey pacey model doesn't work if we want to have a diversity of tax base so that we can improve things all over HRM. You can see if you look at the assessed value of office towers in a viewplane, versus outside (same with hotels). But I'm starting to rant... :)

sdm
Dec 4, 2010, 11:44 AM
HRM may be in the hole; but I suspect that if there is any attempt to sale the old library for any redevelopment, we'll be seeing the heritage groups go up in arms. Now that being said; the sale of the property could include conditions that the building be maintained as part of any redevelopment but that's speculation.

But this whole defecit issue goes back to the conversation that's been had a few times about intensity of use in the downtown. The 7 storey pacey model doesn't work if we want to have a diversity of tax base so that we can improve things all over HRM. You can see if you look at the assessed value of office towers in a viewplane, versus outside (same with hotels). But I'm starting to rant... :)

I'll stand to be corrected, but the old library (current one) cannot be sold as there provinical requirement that it be maintain for civic use or something like that.
Sad really as its prime land.

dmac26
Dec 4, 2010, 2:12 PM
There are many bodies buried under the current library site on SPG. It was used as a burring grounds back in the day for the homeless, the sick, and anyone that did not have family to take them to private cemeteries. Any development here will require extensive archeological excavations (the same goes for the basilica parking lot across the road).

The facade of the library is interesting but I wonder if it worth saving? The rest of the building is a mess if you walk around. Nothing very interesting about the rest of it. The position and set back of the building on the corner is very stately. If it stays a civic building the front park area could be re-worked into a more impressive and designed plaza or public space.

Jonovision
Dec 4, 2010, 2:55 PM
That reminds me... Wasn't there some discussion of new renders with some significant changes for the YMCA redevelopment a few months back? Were those ever made available?

I just checked their website and they do not have any renderings posted.

Dmajackson
Dec 5, 2010, 5:05 AM
Agricola @ West - 2010/12/04:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5010/5232717367_1272ce0890_z.jpg

50

3150 Barrington St - 2010/12/04:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5123/5232714139_f14721d4bc_z.jpg

halifaxboyns
Dec 6, 2010, 1:11 AM
The amendments to the Irishtown Road MPS for some high density towers are going forward to Regional Council this Tuesday.
Here is the link to the staff report (http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/101207ca91iii.pdf), which I think was very well written and deals with the issue very nicely.

There is also a staff presentation (http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/101207ca91pres.pdf) for the project as well.

I'm hopeful this will be accepted considering how much the MPS for Dartmouth has failed to add dwelling units into the downtown - this and King's Wharf will certainly help with that and will be a great way to leverage private money for public realm improvements.

someone123
Dec 6, 2010, 1:31 AM
There's been a moderate amount of construction in downtown Dartmouth over the past 10 years but some of it has been a disaster, particularly in the old canal area (suburban style apartments with vinyl siding).

I really like the idea of "daylighting" the canal and having a decent quality public park around it. Quality improvements are only going to happen with a larger scale of development -- people in the area can't expect developers to fund elaborate public projects with small apartment buildings, and HRM's ability to fund these projects is limited.

King's Wharf is also going to add some interesting public space to the area.

Dmajackson
Dec 6, 2010, 7:19 PM
I know I have stated this for the Downtown MPs (HRM by Design) before but according to a staff report I am reading the Gottigen Street commercial corridor also has no upper limit on population density.

MonctonRad
Dec 7, 2010, 1:20 AM
HRM may be in the hole; but I suspect that if there is any attempt to sale the old library for any redevelopment, we'll be seeing the heritage groups go up in arms. Now that being said; the sale of the property could include conditions that the building be maintained as part of any redevelopment but that's speculation.

I for one would not want to see any significant changes to the old library property. This is a classic corner lot and provides some very welcome open space on SGR as well as a neat shortcut to "pizza corner" :)

someone123
Dec 7, 2010, 2:53 AM
I like the diagonal path across the old library property but that's about all that I feel is actually important to preserve or would be difficult to somehow otherwise make up for.

People are too averse to change in Halifax. There's a bizarre feeling that nothing can be touched without "ruining" it when in reality the actual quality of different parts of the downtown is very mixed. Most of the good parts have been steadily improved upon and modified over the years while retaining some degree of old character. The worst parts remain trapped in 1971 and are slowly falling apart.

Empire
Dec 7, 2010, 3:58 AM
I for one would not want to see any significant changes to the old library property. This is a classic corner lot and provides some very welcome open space on SGR as well as a neat shortcut to "pizza corner" :)

I hope the site stays the way it is. Original buildings in Halifax are diminishing and I don`t trust the current development climate to do the building justice with a makeover.

alps
Dec 7, 2010, 4:34 AM
I'm not sure I would mind seeing the park developed. I think the plaza/park in front of the new library and the architecture building will fill the same role. I'd rather see the retail strip extended down the street some more. It'd be nice to have a prominent store built on the underused lawn at the corner of Brunswick, and smaller shops and eateries in another building fronting on both the street and the pedestrian path in behind, with a little bit of residential above.

I'm not 100% on the green building, but I'd definitely like to see something like the blue one built. I think the path to Pizza Corner should be preserved as a pedestrian-only street.

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/halps00/bb3093d2.jpg

(of course, this all depends on the old library sticking around. Not sure if it should or not...it's an awkward space and I don't think it's anything too special architecturally.)

Empire
Dec 7, 2010, 11:58 AM
I'm not sure I would mind seeing the park developed. I think the plaza/park in front of the new library and the architecture building will fill the same role. I'd rather see the retail strip extended down the street some more. It'd be nice to have a prominent store built on the underused lawn at the corner of Brunswick, and smaller shops and eateries in another building fronting on both the street and the pedestrian path in behind, with a little bit of residential above.

I'm not 100% on the green building, but I'd definitely like to see something like the blue one built. I think the path to Pizza Corner should be preserved as a pedestrian-only street.

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l217/halps00/bb3093d2.jpg

(of course, this all depends on the old library sticking around. Not sure if it should or not...it's an awkward space and I don't think it's anything too special architecturally.)

Wow, if it is one thing that Halifax lacks it's green space. Pocket parks just don't exist in Halifax. Victoria park is the closest we have and this library comes in a moderate second. This is a great urban green space and to put retail there is very little gain for a huge loss. Where would you put Winnie?

Jonovision
Dec 7, 2010, 2:37 PM
The green space should remain. Empire is right. We lack pocket parks in the city and they are such a great tool for creating pedestrian density. Think of what this park looks like at lunch time when the temperature is above 15C. The park is full of people.

I also think there is an issue with it being an old burial ground from the original Halifax settlement.

JustinMacD
Dec 7, 2010, 4:45 PM
The green space should remain. Empire is right. We lack pocket parks in the city and they are such a great tool for creating pedestrian density. Think of what this park looks like at lunch time when the temperature is above 15C. The park is full of people.

I also think there is an issue with it being an old burial ground from the original Halifax settlement.

This park is notorious for being a haven for homeless people and crazy people though.

It's a nice piece of space, but IMO it's not that special. I'm also assuming some type of green space will be opened up directly across the street with the new library.

beyeas
Dec 7, 2010, 6:41 PM
this green space probably gets more use than the commons!
Cities need spaces like this for people just to hang out, congregate etc... even if they are crazies. Not that it is the same scale at all, but one of my favourite places in NYC is Union Square and partly because it is FULL of crazies, people protesting issues, people dressed as clowns, people just laying around reading etc. It may not be a big space, but I think that Halifax is better for it, and it certainly does get used by the public (and far more than some other public spaces).

-Harlington-
Dec 7, 2010, 8:12 PM
yeah, it is a good space and its used by many
where will people eat there fries and such, aha
i use it as a shortcut downtown all the time and i dont think ive ever went all the way around

eastcoastal
Dec 7, 2010, 10:55 PM
This park is notorious for being a haven for homeless people and crazy people though.

It's a nice piece of space, but IMO it's not that special. I'm also assuming some type of green space will be opened up directly across the street with the new library.
Except that this space faces south and is nice and sunny... if there is a new space across the street - the library would block the sunlight from any greenspace on the Spring Garden side

I like the current library's relationship with the space in front of it and think it works well in the city. It would be a shame to lose it