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Dmajackson
Jul 8, 2014, 2:49 AM
Crane base is in for this project! :D The only vantage point is from the MacDonald Bridge bikeway so I'll try to remember to snap a photo during my commute next week.

As promised. :)

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2919/14578410296_0ffa83d905_c.jpg
Photo by Dmajackson. Hosted via Urban_Halifax on flickr.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/urban_halifax/)

JET
Jul 8, 2014, 6:17 PM
Heritage Canada The National Trust, lobbies to save Dennis Building:http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/heritage-group-fights-for-halifax-s-dennis-building-1.2699965

fenwick16
Jul 8, 2014, 10:47 PM
Heritage Canada The National Trust, lobbies to save Dennis Building:http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/heritage-group-fights-for-halifax-s-dennis-building-1.2699965

The government told her it has not reached a decision on the building’s future. It told CBC it could preserve the façade, but create a new interior.

Bull said her group is open to that sort of idea.

They sound more reasonable than the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.

Drybrain
Jul 8, 2014, 10:59 PM
The government told her it has not reached a decision on the building’s future. It told CBC it could preserve the façade, but create a new interior.

Bull said her group is open to that sort of idea.

They sound more reasonable than the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.

They are--they're much more representative of a typic heritage-conservation group, which is why it's too bad we're saddled with the polarizing, NIMBYish HTNS.

JET
Jul 9, 2014, 12:37 PM
https://www.heritagecanada.org/en/issues-campaigns/top-ten-endangered/explore-past-listings/nova-scotia/dennis-building
"There is no word from the Hon. Maurice Smith on whether or not the mould problem can be fixed, but after years of inadequate maintenance and repair, the building is in poor condition. It was closed earlier in the year due to water infiltration. A structural assessment by Kassner Goodspeed Architects Ltd. in 2010 condemns the building on the grounds that the perimenter masonry walls and windows are in poor condition, despite structurally solid foundations, floors and roof, and without having drilled a number of test holes to confirm interior wall condition.

In June, 2014, the Hon. Labi Kousoulis, the Minister of Internal Services, was quoted in the Halifax Chronicle Herald stating, "The building is way far beyond repair" and that its renovation would not be a consideration for the site's future. Meanwhile, a mold analysis shows that levels are lower than what is found in outdoor air.

HCNT has written a letter to Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil asking that he intervene to ensure a reasonable process of due diligence is followed: that an appropriate structural assessment is undertaken and a Request for Proposals developed to allow qualified developers to come forward with creative solutions for rehabilitation. A qualified restoration architect has offered his services to the Minister to inspect the building, free of charge. So far, the offer has been neither accepted or rejected."

Not as cut and dried as the governmnet has tried to lead us to believe.

Drybrain
Jul 9, 2014, 1:00 PM
https://www.heritagecanada.org/en/issues-campaigns/top-ten-endangered/explore-past-listings/nova-scotia/dennis-building
"There is no word from the Hon. Maurice Smith on whether or not the mould problem can be fixed, but after years of inadequate maintenance and repair, the building is in poor condition. It was closed earlier in the year due to water infiltration. A structural assessment by Kassner Goodspeed Architects Ltd. in 2010 condemns the building on the grounds that the perimenter masonry walls and windows are in poor condition, despite structurally solid foundations, floors and roof, and without having drilled a number of test holes to confirm interior wall condition.

In June, 2014, the Hon. Labi Kousoulis, the Minister of Internal Services, was quoted in the Halifax Chronicle Herald stating, "The building is way far beyond repair" and that its renovation would not be a consideration for the site's future. Meanwhile, a mold analysis shows that levels are lower than what is found in outdoor air.

HCNT has written a letter to Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil asking that he intervene to ensure a reasonable process of due diligence is followed: that an appropriate structural assessment is undertaken and a Request for Proposals developed to allow qualified developers to come forward with creative solutions for rehabilitation. A qualified restoration architect has offered his services to the Minister to inspect the building, free of charge. So far, the offer has been neither accepted or rejected."

Not as cut and dried as the governmnet has tried to lead us to believe.

See, Kousoulis seems genuine about the intent to honour the building's history by carefully dismantling and rebuilding it, etc. (though this won't involved the brick portion, for some reason) but it's baffling why they're not taking up the offer of a free building inspection. Unless they simply don't think there's any point—the minister seems totally convinced that there's no point trying to salvage the building in situ.

But the government's own studies seem to have been crafted with the "take-it-down" directive in mind, and there seems to be some plan at work behind the scenes. It's clear that while the government theoretically plans to retain the most important historical features and rebuild them, it's also clear that there are other imperatives at work for them, which they haven't been at all up-front about those. And the long-term future of the building will be in doubt until we get some more clarity.

JET
Jul 9, 2014, 1:45 PM
the day before the NS Heritage Trust was to meet with the minister to discuss some of these questions, the minister announced that the building was going to be demolished. Once a mind is made up, some some effort to try to change it. It's not hard to find an engineer to say that a building is not worth saving, also not that hard to find one to tell you HOW to save one.

JET
Jul 9, 2014, 1:57 PM
http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2013/08/01/hal-real-estate-loans-money-to-pioneer.html?page=all reminds me of the Dennis Building

Drybrain
Jul 9, 2014, 2:10 PM
http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2013/08/01/hal-real-estate-loans-money-to-pioneer.html?page=all reminds me of the Dennis Building

Yeah, well, much as Canadians like to crap on American cities, they tend (nowadays) to be far better at respecting their heritage.

And a key difference is that this Seattle example is privately owned, whereas Dennis is government owned. Kousoulis said that the Dennis is so dilapidated that any private operator would for sure "bring out the wrecking ball" on it, which is contrary to what Waye Mason has suggested on Twitter and on this forum, and kinda just seems like a way to justify the government's dismantle-and-rebuild (hypothetically) approach as more historically sensitive than we could expect from the private sector. Which may not be in the case.

Keith P.
Jul 9, 2014, 2:39 PM
See, Kousoulis seems genuine about the intent to honour the building's history by carefully dismantling and rebuilding it, etc. (though this won't involved the brick portion, for some reason) but it's baffling why they're not taking up the offer of a free building inspection. Unless they simply don't think there's any point—the minister seems totally convinced that there's no point trying to salvage the building in situ.


A "free" inspection that is done with a slant towards saving it at whatever cost is likely not welcome at this point. The govt position is not unreasonable given the well-documented issues with the structure - however if they just take it down and leave the lot empty for years, that is equally unacceptable.

Many years ago, probably late 1990s, I recall seeing an artist's conception for this entire block along Granville St at provincial Public Works as it was then called. At that time the design had a clone of One Government Place on the Dennis Building site, with an elevated portion above the heritage buildings in the middle of the block (which were retained and I believe incorporated somehow into the development) connecting the new structure to the existing OGP building - not exactly a bridge but rather a 2 or 3-storey section around the 4th or 5th floor that spanned the block to tie the two buildings into one. Not a bad concept as I recall.

xanaxanax
Jul 9, 2014, 11:54 PM
Personally I think there should be legislation if a Government body isn't using a building or property for x number of years they have to sell it to a private developer

kph06
Jul 10, 2014, 1:59 AM
As promised. :)

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2919/14578410296_0ffa83d905_c.jpg
Photo by Dmajackson. Hosted via Urban_Halifax on flickr.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/urban_halifax/)

First couple sections were up tonight, its the crane from Craigmore.

eastcoastal
Jul 10, 2014, 4:42 PM
Yeah, well, much as Canadians like to crap on American cities, they tend (nowadays) to be far better at respecting their heritage.

And a key difference is that this Seattle example is privately owned, whereas Dennis is government owned. Kousoulis said that the Dennis is so dilapidated that any private operator would for sure "bring out the wrecking ball" on it, which is contrary to what Waye Mason has suggested on Twitter and on this forum, and kinda just seems like a way to justify the government's dismantle-and-rebuild (hypothetically) approach as more historically sensitive than we could expect from the private sector. Which may not be in the case.

Even if a private developer WOULD bring out the wrecking ball - the Province is not a private developer. There are varying levels of financial support provided by different levels of government for private citizens/corporations to assist with the maintenance, renovation, and (in some cases) development of registered heritage properties. I assume this is because heritage is recognized as a cultural asset and presumably worth investing in. The first level of investment SHOULD have been not to defer maintenance, but I guess we really can't say much about that now. It does not seem unreasonable to me to expect that the government invest what is required to sustain a significant heritage structure.

Side note: I'm not sure I think it's significant, personally. Maybe because I think it's ugly, and I equate significance with beauty (I know it's wrong - no lectures please). Anyway, enough people who seem to know enough about these sorts of things say that it's significant, so I choose to believe them.

Keith P.
Jul 10, 2014, 10:58 PM
Side note: I'm not sure I think it's significant, personally. Maybe because I think it's ugly, and I equate significance with beauty (I know it's wrong - no lectures please). Anyway, enough people who seem to know enough about these sorts of things say that it's significant, so I choose to believe them.

I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in that. Around here, those so-called experts tend to equate old with significant regardless of the merits of the building otherwise. As a building, I rather doubt the Dennis was well-thought-of even 100 years ago given its interior design. Today, it is a dungeon inside. I'm sure anyone working there over the last 20 years could have filed an occupational health complaint due to the working conditions.

Dmajackson
Jul 11, 2014, 2:27 AM
First couple sections were up tonight, its the crane from Craigmore.

Crane was erected today. The mobile crane used is now at 3065 Robie Street. The North End revival has begun! :D

Duff
Jul 11, 2014, 2:32 PM
Here is a picture I took this morning.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3877/14604850626_03f0302fde_b.jpg

Dmajackson
Jul 13, 2014, 3:59 AM
From the MacDonald Bridge;

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3866/14637083031_7a0e44dbc9_c.jpg
Photo by Dmajackson. Hosted via Urban_Halifax on flickr.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/urban_halifax/)

mcmcclassic
Jul 13, 2014, 11:32 AM
I can't remember/find a thread for this one, but here are some photos anyways. The new building on Dal's campus (corner of Summer & University Ave.)

http://i.imgur.com/AKkmSFHl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/OHo7IYFl.jpg

counterfactual
Jul 14, 2014, 2:44 PM
A bit of a flip side of issues, here's people rather enthusiastically describing the demolition of a historic building in Ottawa:


Historic Ottawa building is reduced to rubble


OTTAWA - Five seconds and one push of a button. That's all it took to erase 47 years of Ottawa history Sunday morning.

[...]

He's really excited to see how the whole thing works," said Krystal Maher, 32, about her three-year-old son Liam.

"He is really into construction and he calls himself a 'worker man'. This is something that would be cool for him and that he could learn about."

We saw the announcement mid-week in the paper and I thought this would be cool to see," said Don Maher, 59.

"It was fantastic," said Don. "It was a lot louder than I thought it would be."


http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/07/20140714-102151.html



Here's a little more background on the building-- a familiar story:

Deconstruction' of historic site another sign of the times

ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/archival-deconstruction-of-historic-site-another-sign-of-the-times

It opened in 1967.

In case you were dozing just there, please allow me to bonk you over the head with that: It opened in 1967.

Is a 40-year-old building at the end of its useful life? Actually, well beyond it, in this case. In 1994, the Citizen

reported that because of “long-term neglect,” a study had concluded the Carling building may not be worth saving.

In other words, a little more than 25 years after it was built, the federal government was already coming around to the conclusion the Carling building, opened in the glow of Centennial year pride, was kaput.

I hear no outrage about the plan, either, another sign we live in a truly reckless age.

JET
Jul 14, 2014, 3:14 PM
[QUOTE=counterfactual;6653702]A bit of a flip side of issues, here's people rather enthusiastically describing the demolition of a historic building in Ottawa:


Historic Ottawa building is reduced to rubble




http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/07/20140714-102151.html



Here's a little more background on the building-- a familiar story:

Deconstruction' of historic site another sign of the times



Blowed up real good! History ain't what it used to be

JET
Jul 14, 2014, 3:19 PM
I can't remember/find a thread for this one, but here are some photos anyways. The new building on Dal's campus (corner of Summer & University Ave.)

http://i.imgur.com/AKkmSFHl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/OHo7IYFl.jpg


http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192226

mcmcclassic
Jul 14, 2014, 4:45 PM
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192226

Thanks for that link. I'll be sure to take more time looking for older threads to save cluttering the general updates thread.

Keith P.
Jul 14, 2014, 4:54 PM
A bit of a flip side of issues, here's people rather enthusiastically describing the demolition of a historic building in Ottawa:

Historic Ottawa building is reduced to rubble

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/07/20140714-102151.html

Here's a little more background on the building-- a familiar story:

Deconstruction' of historic site another sign of the times

ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/archival-deconstruction-of-historic-site-another-sign-of-the-times

I'm not sure what was "historic" about the building other than that it opened during Centennial year. It sounds like the original construction was badly mismanaged and that the details of the design were not well thought out. Add to that the usual govt lack of maintenance and you end up with a bad building. The Sir John Thompson Building here was a similar story.

One can argue that it was a waste of an asset but that is not the same as decrying it's demolition on grounds that it was "historic".

JET
Jul 14, 2014, 5:54 PM
Thanks for that link. I'll be sure to take more time looking for older threads to save cluttering the general updates thread.

keeping track of the various threads can prove difficult, some are listed by address, or the name of a demolished building, or by the proposed development name.

OldDartmouthMark
Jul 15, 2014, 3:09 PM
A bit of a flip side of issues, here's people rather enthusiastically describing the demolition of a historic building in Ottawa:

Historic Ottawa building is reduced to rubble

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/07/20140714-102151.html

Here's a little more background on the building-- a familiar story:

Deconstruction' of historic site another sign of the times

ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/archival-deconstruction-of-historic-site-another-sign-of-the-times

In Halifax we wouldn't even bat an eye at ripping down a 40-year-old building, especially ones like this which aren't all that particularly interesting visually. I find it curious that, although it had a heritage designation, it was still ripped down - perhaps they don't have a heritage group with any influence there either.

Here in Halifax, we like to rip down or gut out 100+ year old buildings... there's much more sport in that.

JET
Jul 15, 2014, 4:25 PM
10 million to build, estimated 57 million to renovate, and 4.8 million to demolish. All sounds a bit crazy.

Drybrain
Jul 15, 2014, 4:45 PM
In Halifax we wouldn't even bat an eye at ripping down a 40-year-old building, especially ones like this which aren't all that particularly interesting visually. I find it curious that, although it had a heritage designation, it was still ripped down - perhaps they don't have a heritage group with any influence there either.

Here in Halifax, we like to rip down or gut out 100+ year old buildings... there's much more sport in that.

Yeah. The old Memorial Library and Dartmouth City Hall—both far superior to this Ottawa building—may well be demolished, and I doubt that if they are there'll be much more than a peep about it locally.

(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

counterfactual
Jul 15, 2014, 5:09 PM
Yeah. The old Memorial Library and Dartmouth City Hall—both far superior to this Ottawa building—may well be demolished, and I doubt that if they are there'll be much more than a peep about it locally.

(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

No peeps. The HTNS will be too busy bringing law suits to stop the Nova Centre and the installation of free public WIFI (anyone else laugh at the de Adder cartoon in the CH today?), or moonlighting as "Friends of Halifax Commons" to stop round-about construction...

counterfactual
Jul 15, 2014, 5:10 PM
Yeah. The old Memorial Library and Dartmouth City Hall—both far superior to this Ottawa building—may well be demolished, and I doubt that if they are there'll be much more than a peep about it locally.

(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

In fairness, don't see the Memorial library getting demolished; I could-- and hope-- it might be incorporated into a bigger development, with a nice public space to make up for the bad public space planning with the library.

curnhalio
Jul 16, 2014, 2:28 PM
(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

I agree completely. The ivy covered wall facing the landing gives it a nice splash of colour as well.


As for this other building, had it been built in 1966 or 1968 it wouldn't have had any historic designation. You cut your losses and you move on.

counterfactual
Jul 16, 2014, 3:54 PM
Yeah. The old Memorial Library and Dartmouth City Hall—both far superior to this Ottawa building—may well be demolished, and I doubt that if they are there'll be much more than a peep about it locally.

(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

You have me on all early 20th C architecture, and anything older than that.

Without casting judgment on the Dartmouth City Hall, I find it difficult seeing a lot of value in most brutalist architecture; much of it I find was simply an ego-trip for the architect, creating ugly monstrosities aimed more toward projecting images and outward appearance than user experience. Brutalism is anti-human and anti-people; so demolishing that sort of building actually seems to be an act of humanism. Not every demolition is inherently bad, just like every preservation is not inherently good.

The ridiculous UofT Robarts library is a great example of this. Rather than build a library that students might enjoy using, with natural light, etc, they built a ugly concrete monstrosity in the shape of a peacock. I mean, really?

Dalhousie's Killam Library and Life Science building is similarly terribly designed. They are much improved today, because they've been modified with more contemporary design goals in mind-- like the glass ceiling in the Killam creating an atrium for students to sit and enjoy. That was originally designed with an open roof and doors; so in winter, it was a dead zone. Dead zone in summer too.

JET
Jul 16, 2014, 4:04 PM
You have me on all early 20th C architecture, and anything older than that.

Without casting judgment on the Dartmouth City Hall, I find it difficult seeing a lot of value in most brutalist architecture; much of it I find was simply an ego-trip for the architect, creating ugly monstrosities aimed more toward projecting images and outward appearance than user experience. Brutalism is anti-human and anti-people; so demolishing that sort of building actually seems to be an act of humanism. Not every demolition is inherently bad, just like every preservation is not inherently good.

The ridiculous UofT Robarts library is a great example of this. Rather than build a library that students might enjoy using, with natural light, etc, they built a ugly concrete monstrosity in the shape of a peacock. I mean, really?

Dalhousie's Killam Library and Life Science building is similarly terribly designed. They are much improved today, because they've been modified with more contemporary design goals in mind-- like the glass ceiling in the Killam creating an atrium for students to sit and enjoy. That was originally designed with an open roof and doors; so in winter, it was a dead zone. Dead zone in summer too.

"That was originally designed with an open roof and doors"

just to clarify, there were doors from the open courtyard, but no doors from the peimeter of the building into to the courtyard. I rather liked entring into the coutyard when it was just an opening. I can see how the closed atrium creates a year round function

Drybrain
Jul 16, 2014, 4:51 PM
You have me on all early 20th C architecture, and anything older than that.

Without casting judgment on the Dartmouth City Hall, I find it difficult seeing a lot of value in most brutalist architecture; much of it I find was simply an ego-trip for the architect, creating ugly monstrosities aimed more toward projecting images and outward appearance than user experience. Brutalism is anti-human and anti-people; so demolishing that sort of building actually seems to be an act of humanism.

Oh, we're gonna disagree on that! I love good brutalism and modernism. Here's another favourite. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Sears_Canada_Building.JPG)

I love Killam too, and I think the long-range plan to replace the concrete with glass is just atrocious.

However, I do have to concede that when brutalism is bad, it's awful, and indeed can even seem anti-human. And there's not a lot of middle ground. A run-of-the-mill Victorian building is still attractive. A run-of-the-mill brutalist building is like a Borg spaceship. Robarts is public-enemy number one in that regard, as is Scotia Square, the apartment towers nearby on Brunswick, and all that stuff around there.

In a way, that's why I'd like to see the relatively rare good examples preserved. But don't worry, I'm used to being in the minority on this front!

Ziobrop
Jul 16, 2014, 6:03 PM
brutalism was a branch of modernism, which stripped any sense of the human from the building - it was universal. the building was a monument, and it was all about the building.. yah we hate them, so they are easy to knock down, but they are just as important, and some are worth saving.

the Sir john Carling building was kind of off by itself - no one lived near it, and it was just another government complex in a greenbelt. I know lots of people who bemoan its loss, but it certainly wasen't prominent, and some people probably drove by it everyday without noticing it.

The Bigger issue with the SJC is how governments view their buildings, and to a greater extent budget. Capital costs are bad, and evaluated with all other government priorities. operational expenses are fine, so governments sell rather then maintain their buildings now and lease space. Often in the building they just sold. (Ahem Joseph Howe Building)

terrynorthend
Jul 16, 2014, 8:53 PM
Yeah. The old Memorial Library and Dartmouth City Hall—both far superior to this Ottawa building—may well be demolished, and I doubt that if they are there'll be much more than a peep about it locally.

(I know some people probably think Dartmouth City Hall is a hulking concrete monstrosity, but I think it's a perfectly proportioned little brutalist/modernist gem.)

Agree %100! I love that building, especially how the north wall is covered in ivy and provides a lush backdrop to the stairs to the ferry. I really hope they can save it and turn it into a museum/small arts center. The old council chambers in there (with proper engineering) could make a great intimate music venue. Think "Music Room" on Lady Hammond.

Colin May
Jul 17, 2014, 2:57 AM
Agree %100! I love that building, especially how the north wall is covered in ivy and provides a lush backdrop to the stairs to the ferry. I really hope they can save it and turn it into a museum/small arts center. The old council chambers in there (with proper engineering) could make a great intimate music venue. Think "Music Room" on Lady Hammond.

HRM wants to sell all their land along the downtown Dartmouth waterfront and have visions of 15 storey buildings. In a recent staff report they have an estimate of sales revenue as part of long term capital expenditure plans. Quite obvious they have no knowledge of the real estate market.
Or perhaps they think the province will build more LTC facilities.
If anyone is looking for condo sales data in metro I have the data.

counterfactual
Jul 17, 2014, 3:13 AM
HRM wants to sell all their land along the downtown Dartmouth waterfront and have visions of 15 storey buildings. In a recent staff report they have an estimate of sales revenue as part of long term capital expenditure plans. Quite obvious they have no knowledge of the real estate market.
Or perhaps they think the province will build more LTC facilities.
If anyone is looking for condo sales data in metro I have the data.

What would you prefer? The parking lots and abandoned brown sites that populate the Dartmouth waterfront now?

FWIW, I find most long term condo sales and rental rate projections for HRM often highly speculative and overly conservative; they're often touted by HTNS and other NIMBY groups to justify their (shockingly unsurprising) opposition to development, when its really just about opposing change.

And even if the numbers suggest a weaker market, we still need to increase supply of downtown residential developments-- especially now, when it is cheaper to borrow and build-- and yes, that includes creating an over-supply to bring down prices, rental rates, and the downtown costs (to make it more competitive with the sprawlburbs) to encourage greater densification in the core over the long term.

I'm a frequent critic of HRM staff, but I'll laud them if they're planning for higher density development in the downtown core all day long.

There are people in Halifax who view the city as their quiet little retirement community, and they don't like new immigrants, developers, or, quite frankly, people, changing that.

OldDartmouthMark
Jul 17, 2014, 12:36 PM
What would you prefer? The parking lots and abandoned brown sites that populate the Dartmouth waterfront now?

Personally, I'd prefer that they keep a keener eye to the long-term future of the city, and reserve that valuable downtown waterfront land for future public use, for things such as museums, concert venues, cultural centres, an aquarium, or whatever. Would be nice to see them repurpose the old city hall, but if they do decide to scuttle it, then the land should be turned into an extension of the park to reserve it for future possibilities.

This area is growing, and a natural progression for downtown Dartmouth will be for it to be developed and grow as downtown Halifax values continue to rise in the future. Note that I'm not talking 5 - 10 years from now, which seems to be all that local politicians are able to plan for, I'm talking 20 - 50 years from now. Let's get a plan in place that will keep this valuable land available to the public once this area becomes largely developed. There will still be plenty of areas in the downtown available for condos long into the future, but the coveted waterfront area should be kept for the public to enjoy, not just the highest bidder.

Just my :2cents:

counterfactual
Jul 17, 2014, 6:38 PM
Personally, I'd prefer that they keep a keener eye to the long-term future of the city, and reserve that valuable downtown waterfront land for future public use, for things such as museums, concert venues, cultural centres, an aquarium, or whatever. Would be nice to see them repurpose the old city hall, but if they do decide to scuttle it, then the land should be turned into an extension of the park to reserve it for future possibilities.

This area is growing, and a natural progression for downtown Dartmouth will be for it to be developed and grow as downtown Halifax values continue to rise in the future. Note that I'm not talking 5 - 10 years from now, which seems to be all that local politicians are able to plan for, I'm talking 20 - 50 years from now. Let's get a plan in place that will keep this valuable land available to the public once this area becomes largely developed. There will still be plenty of areas in the downtown available for condos long into the future, but the coveted waterfront area should be kept for the public to enjoy, not just the highest bidder.

Just my :2cents:

I don't disagree, you can do all the things you mention in your first para, while also not just opposing every private development. You can place restrictions and requirements on waterfront projects to ensure public access and spaces, etc.

Right now, we don't have museums, public spaces, or public uses, because its just a bunch of parking lots and former industrial brown sites. Government is not going to develop, so if we want these things, it will be private developers.

Colin May
Jul 17, 2014, 7:54 PM
I don't disagree, you can do all the things you mention in your first para, while also not just opposing every private development. You can place restrictions and requirements on waterfront projects to ensure public access and spaces, etc.

Right now, we don't have museums, public spaces, or public uses, because its just a bunch of parking lots and former industrial brown sites. Government is not going to develop, so if we want these things, it will be private developers.

There is one property a few blocks from the waterfront that has been empty for almost 50 years. Zoned for 84 units of townhouses for more than a decade and the owner has done nothing.
What should HRM do to ensure their planning policy for the area is complied with ? (The policy seeks to increase the number of families in the area)

Up at the MacDonald bridge the R-2 zoned land has been empty for at least 15 years and HRM has sat idly by as the fully serviced 3,300 sq ft lots sit on the assessment rolls at $36,000- 53,000.
Planning in Dartmouth is a mess; we need some real professionals and a council which walks the talk.

Hali87
Jul 17, 2014, 8:40 PM
Right now, we don't have museums, public spaces, or public uses, because its just a bunch of parking lots and former industrial brown sites. Government is not going to develop, so if we want these things, it will be private developers.

There's Alderney Gate/Landing and quite a bit of parkland surrounding that..

Keith P.
Jul 17, 2014, 11:07 PM
Parking lots, not parkland.

Given the mess that Alderney Landing turned out to be, I don't think we should look to govt to develop our downtown.

When the market demands it, those properties will be developed. That's why most municipal planning exercises are a foolish waste of effort. No sense planning for something that you cannot control or afford, and no sense having a plan that would turn away someone willing to invest 10s or 100s of millions of dollars on lots that have been empty for generations.

Colin May
Jul 18, 2014, 12:42 AM
Parking lots, not parkland.

Given the mess that Alderney Landing turned out to be, I don't think we should look to govt to develop our downtown.

When the market demands it, those properties will be developed. That's why most municipal planning exercises are a foolish waste of effort. No sense planning for something that you cannot control or afford, and no sense having a plan that would turn away someone willing to invest 10s or 100s of millions of dollars on lots that have been empty for generations.

The block north of Alderney Landing was used by staff for free parking and in my recollection was part of collective agreements. The next block has belonged to CN since the railway arrived in Dartmouth.
Alderney Gate was developed by Micheal Zatzman in response to a call for proposals for a new library. I was at the council meeting the night the deal was approved. Joe Zatzman told Michael he was wrong to take on such a risk. The office space was mostly taken up by the City of Dartmouth because demand for space in Dartmouth was, and is, almost non-existent.
The politicians touted the project as a new start for downtown blah, blah, blah. The usual low brow desperate boosterism so common for the last 60+ years.
The history of Dartmouth development is the history of Burnside, everything else was well down the list as the city poured money into Burnside.
Just over 20 years ago I gathered together all the data for the property taxes generated in Burnside and compared it with taxes generated in downtown Dartmouth. Downtown had a smaller footprint, no investment by the city and generated more taxes per acre than Burnside.
If we want more people in the core we must attract more families - they spend more in the community than singles and seniors. They have been going to the burbs and RP+5 will do nothing to change the situation.

worldlyhaligonian
Jul 18, 2014, 1:32 AM
If we want more people in the core we must attract more families - they spend more in the community than singles and seniors. They have been going to the burbs and RP+5 will do nothing to change the situation.

Yet, demographically there are less families, and they are coming from rural areas... a house in the burbs is normal to them.

To get people living downtown we need immigrant families who are used to urbanity... not those driving massive trucks who live in Sackville or wherever.

counterfactual
Jul 18, 2014, 3:06 AM
Yet, demographically there are less families, and they are coming from rural areas... a house in the burbs is normal to them.

To get people living downtown we need immigrant families who are used to urbanity... not those driving massive trucks who live in Sackville or wherever.

I think you *and* Colin are right... it's a combination of both.

I think you need more of everyone downtown. As for existing NS families, going forward, studies suggest that millenials are gravitate to urban cores, and are building their lives/families there. Generation Xers, who grew up in the burbs, are gravitating to urban core too. And now, Boomers-- who basically radically expanded and grew the burbs-- are returning to downtown areas,

However, we need to incentivize all of this, to push it forward.

And we definitely need many, many, many, more immigrant families and new Canadians to migrate and settle here; they create jobs (new Canadians much more likely to start own business and also import/export) and also live downtown (as that is what they're used to).

Colin May
Jul 18, 2014, 3:49 AM
I think you *and* Colin are right... it's a combination of both.

I think you need more of everyone downtown. As for existing NS families, going forward, studies suggest that millenials are gravitate to urban cores, and are building their lives/families there. Generation Xers, who grew up in the burbs, are gravitating to urban core too. And now, Boomers-- who basically radically expanded and grew the burbs-- are returning to downtown areas,

However, we need to incentivize all of this, to push it forward.

And we definitely need many, many, many, more immigrant families and new Canadians to migrate and settle here; they create jobs (new Canadians much more likely to start own business and also import/export) and also live downtown (as that is what they're used to).

We need families in the core to sustain the schools. All new school construction in HRM has been in the old county, with the exception of Citadel High. School closures have been focussed in the regional centre. Planning staff have been well aware of the issue but have ignored schools because they view education as a 'provincial issue'.
If we want to attract people to the urban core we need modern schools in park like settings and, as a community focus, daycare and recreation space.

I went to a campus with 3 schools for students aged 11-18. Each school had a gym and 2 had a pool. Outside were extensive sports fields - the campus was designed in 1953 and the first school opened in 1956. What we have in the urban core is bush league by comparison.
Businesses looking to expand look for first class public schools, good cultural life, recreation and quick links to the rest of the world.
One of these days the province and HRM will wake up and decide to build a world class and iconic public school ( wander around the net looking at public architecture and you find amazing buildings)

Imagine HRM buying Brightwood and putting this building on the site :
http://www.pmdevereux.com/Projects/All-Projects/Monkseaton-High-School.aspx


or this one : http://www.worldbuildingsdirectory.com/project.cfm?id=5025
How fast would people move into the urban core http://www.pmdevereux.com/Projects/All-Projects/Monkseaton-High-School.aspx

counterfactual
Jul 18, 2014, 3:55 AM
We need families in the core to sustain the schools. All new school construction in HRM has been in the old county, with the exception of Citadel High. School closures have been focussed in the regional centre. Planning staff have been well aware of the issue but have ignored schools because they view education as a 'provincial issue'.
If we want to attract people to the urban core we need modern schools in park like settings and, as a community focus, daycare and recreation space.



*strongly* agree with this. New and excellent schools are a *major* concern for young families. Very much need a better strategy on this, to focus on rehabilitating some schools in the core and building newer/bigger ones.

Keith P.
Jul 18, 2014, 12:20 PM
Once Gloria leaves Council, Brightwood may have a chance to get re-purposed but until then she will not allow anything there to change. I think the club would welcome the opportunity to move.

The problem with our schools is that they are built based upon bare-bones Dept of Education designs using low-bid contractors. The only schools that have come close to being something special were the short-lived P3 projects of the late 1990s which were unfortunately boondoggles thanks to govt ineptitude in writing and negotiating contracts.

A block away from Brightwood, millions were recently spent on Dartmouth High to build a precast concrete box that they painted to make it not look like bare concrete. I can well imagine how awful it will look in a few years.

OldDartmouthMark
Jul 18, 2014, 2:54 PM
There is one property a few blocks from the waterfront that has been empty for almost 50 years. Zoned for 84 units of townhouses for more than a decade and the owner has done nothing.
What should HRM do to ensure their planning policy for the area is complied with ? (The policy seeks to increase the number of families in the area)

Is this the area to which you are referring? (Park Ave, King St, Edward St block) http://binged.it/1sxFDtV

I remember houses being there way back, and all being torn down with the blocks being left vacant. Could see foundations there in the '80s, but now it's all overgrown.

Always wondered what happened - why they would just tear down a couple of blocks of houses and then just leave the area vacant.

This would be a prime downtown development location, right next to the park and a 2 minute walk to the ferry.

Empty lots like this are why I believe land such as the old city hall location should not be handed over for private development at this time. Eventually the surrounding neighborhood will be built up (when is anybody's guess) and the residents should have prime waterfront space available for the enjoyment of the public. Give it away now and it's gone forever.

Colin May
Jul 18, 2014, 4:32 PM
Is this the area to which you are referring? (Park Ave, King St, Edward St block) http://binged.it/1sxFDtV

I remember houses being there way back, and all being torn down with the blocks being left vacant. Could see foundations there in the '80s, but now it's all overgrown.

Always wondered what happened - why they would just tear down a couple of blocks of houses and then just leave the area vacant.

This would be a prime downtown development location, right next to the park and a 2 minute walk to the ferry.

Empty lots like this are why I believe land such as the old city hall location should not be handed over for private development at this time. Eventually the surrounding neighborhood will be built up (when is anybody's guess) and the residents should have prime waterfront space available for the enjoyment of the public. Give it away now and it's gone forever.

Yes. A few foundations are still visible.
HRM has it as an 'opportunity' site It is 2.1 acres and zoned for 42 units per acre. Grossly under assessed but I called the provincial assessment people more than 5 years ago when it was on the roll at less than $400,000 and my 2500 sg ft lot was assessed at $50,000. I argued that as the site was suitable for 19 lots the property was worth at least $950,000. The assessment went up but was appealed , it is now at $989,900 f - really worth at least $2 million.
The developer was from Toronto with a home in Bedford and back in 1989 I was in a meeting with him and John Savage and staff trying to push him to develop the site for families but all he wanted was apartments, no interest in owner occupied. He tried to change the downtown plan to allow two tall apartment buildings but planners and residents successfully argued for sticking to the plan. If HRM had sense they would expropriate and call for proposals for townhouse development - the tax loss from under assessment and no development is substantial.
The city just seems unwilling to push the envelope. The tax revenue loss from not being aggressive in pushing development on empty lots combined with the tax revenue loss from grossly under assessed properties is in the millions.

The land at the bridge belongs to the Murphy family in Charlottetown, owner of all Timmies in PEI see this article : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/timbit-titan-the-story-behind-peis-entrepreneurial-murphy-clan/article6966097/?page=all#dashboard/follows/

curnhalio
Jul 18, 2014, 5:07 PM
The land at the bridge belongs to the Murphy family in Charlottetown, owner of all Timmies in PEI see this article : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/timbit-titan-the-story-behind-peis-entrepreneurial-murphy-clan/article6966097/?page=all#dashboard/follows/

So the rumor I've heard that the owner wants to build a hotel on the site checks out. That would be one of the 40 he wishes to own by 2030. I would prefer a hotel to a vacant lot at this point.

Colin May
Jul 18, 2014, 8:15 PM
So the rumor I've heard that the owner wants to build a hotel on the site checks out. That would be one of the 40 he wishes to own by 2030. I would prefer a hotel to a vacant lot at this point.
The smaller lots are zoned for residential and the larger lots on Wyse are commercial. There are at least 2 other hotels planned for downtown Halifax and the market prefers Halifax.

OldDartmouthMark
Jul 18, 2014, 10:22 PM
Yes. A few foundations are still visible.
HRM has it as an 'opportunity' site It is 2.1 acres and zoned for 42 units per acre. Grossly under assessed but I called the provincial assessment people more than 5 years ago when it was on the roll at less than $400,000 and my 2500 sg ft lot was assessed at $50,000. I argued that as the site was suitable for 19 lots the property was worth at least $950,000. The assessment went up but was appealed , it is now at $989,900 f - really worth at least $2 million.
The developer was from Toronto with a home in Bedford and back in 1989 I was in a meeting with him and John Savage and staff trying to push him to develop the site for families but all he wanted was apartments, no interest in owner occupied. He tried to change the downtown plan to allow two tall apartment buildings but planners and residents successfully argued for sticking to the plan. If HRM had sense they would expropriate and call for proposals for townhouse development - the tax loss from under assessment and no development is substantial.
The city just seems unwilling to push the envelope. The tax revenue loss from not being aggressive in pushing development on empty lots combined with the tax revenue loss from grossly under assessed properties is in the millions.

The land at the bridge belongs to the Murphy family in Charlottetown, owner of all Timmies in PEI see this article : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/timbit-titan-the-story-behind-peis-entrepreneurial-murphy-clan/article6966097/?page=all#dashboard/follows/

Thanks Colin. Now I have "the rest of the story". Hopefully something will be done with it some day - that would actually be a REALLY nice neighborhood to build in - I like it there a lot. :twocents:

Colin May
Jul 19, 2014, 1:41 AM
Thanks Colin. Now I have "the rest of the story". Hopefully something will be done with it some day - that would actually be a REALLY nice neighborhood to build in - I like it there a lot. :twocents:

The neighbourhood is changing as the 30 somethings move in with kids or planning to have kids. " The more the merrier " I say. Where there is life there is hope , and seeing new life gives us hope for the future.
Joel Plaskett lives across the road from the property which we have always called 'Dell Holdings'.

I am reading 'Austerity Britain, 1945-1951' by David Kynaston and the early pages deal with urban planning for new housing and new town/city centres. It is available as an e-book and I recommend it to everyone interested in the density debate and the role of tall buildings versus suburbia.
Planners should definitely study how the debate was framed before the end of WWII and understand the social context of the time when housing, healthcare and education were undergoing vast changes. A bit like reading a personal history.
here is a review : http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/may/20/historybooks.features

curnhalio
Jul 19, 2014, 1:16 PM
The smaller lots are zoned for residential and the larger lots on Wyse are commercial. There are at least 2 other hotels planned for downtown Halifax and the market prefers Halifax.

I've always thought it would be a perfect spot for a townhouse style development. Maybe even built to look like brownstones. The Wyse Rd lots can have a mid-rise building with commercial on the ground floor. A hotel could certainly work into that, but there is already the Holiday Inn right there and a number of hotels in downtown Dartmouth. So, if this guy can't ever build his hotel, is anything EVER going to be built there?

Colin May
Jul 19, 2014, 8:56 PM
Thanks Colin. Now I have "the rest of the story". Hopefully something will be done with it some day - that would actually be a REALLY nice neighborhood to build in - I like it there a lot. :twocents:


The City of Dartmouth sold to Dell Holdings the part of Park Avenue which abuts the their property and Dartmouth Common some time in the late 1970s and the boundary is now about 15 feet from the metal fence.
The property is best viewed at http://www.viewpoint.ca/

counterfactual
Jul 20, 2014, 12:46 AM
Mattress entrepreneur forced to find other work to stay in Halifax

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/mattress-entrepreneur-forced-to-find-other-work-to-stay-in-halifax-1.2625617

'They call me the mattress man,' says Chen Qing, who graduated from Saint Mary's University

An international student from China, who started a $200,000 business selling mattresses out of his Halifax apartment, says he's been told by the government that if he wants to be a permanent resident he'll have to work for somebody else.

Chen Qing moved to Canada in 2009. While studying business at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, he went from selling his possessions online to operating a mattress and furniture showroom out of a penthouse on South Street.

Qing said it all started with two movie tickets he won.

"I didn't have a girlfriend at the time. I was thinking I should probably sell it instead of going to the movie," he told Stephanie Domet on Mainstreet.

"Pretty much most Chinese students [in Halifax], they buy their mattress from me," he said. "They call me the mattress man."

Qing now carries mattresses from 10 suppliers and runs a showroom called Hometown Furniture and Mattress Ltd. out of a penthouse unit. He said he sold approximately 384 mattresses last year.

Immigration woes

Qing graduated from Saint Mary's University in January. He said he likes Halifax and wants to stay to continue to grow his business.

But he soon found out if he wants to be a permanent resident he needs to get a full-time job — and work for someone else, not himself.

"I can't apply based on my own company," Qing said. "I was quite surprised actually."

The irony is Hometown Furniture and Mattress Ltd. is doing so well, Qing has hired a Canadian sales representative to work with him.

Qing said there's no path in Nova Scotia to encourage young international students to apply for permanent residency as an entrepreneur.

This is a prototypical immigration story. A young immigrant has come to Halifax, and started TWO businesses, meeting a neglected need in the marketplace-- that is, selling to immigrant/student communities. And not only is he making money, but he's creating jobs-- he's hired an entire sales team.

But neither NS or the Canadian Government have a means for him to apply for permanent residency. Instead, he needs to work for someone else to apply.

Ludicrous. Idiotic. Brainless. Hopeless.

Ziobrop
Jul 21, 2014, 3:45 AM
not sure if there is thread for the Halifax Apartments retail expansion on Brunswick St (Couldnt find it if there was)
But Steel was going up on friday.

http://38.media.tumblr.com/923bc986580274ad956c7cb48b03640a/tumblr_n8xusnOk5M1sjmfgco1_1280.jpg

Jonovision
Jul 21, 2014, 11:37 PM
Another pic from today.

https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10314522_10100421955490559_2425750258043586510_n.jpg?oh=3ede6023cebbf72f8d95efc39bffff7a&oe=54430F01

Colin May
Jul 22, 2014, 12:11 AM
This is a prototypical immigration story. A young immigrant has come to Halifax, and started TWO businesses, meeting a neglected need in the marketplace-- that is, selling to immigrant/student communities. And not only is he making money, but he's creating jobs-- he's hired an entire sales team.

But neither NS or the Canadian Government have a means for him to apply for permanent residency. Instead, he needs to work for someone else to apply.

Ludicrous. Idiotic. Brainless. Hopeless.

Here is an example of an employer attempting to get around efforts by the governments of Nova Scotia to ensure Nova Scotians and other Canadian residents were employed in the offshore oil and gas exploration off Nova Scotia in the 1980s.
A Canadian company was bringing a rig over from the North Sea to drill on the Scotian Shelf. My job was to ensure all companies involved in the offshore had a succession plan to replace foreigners with Nova Scotians and other Canadian residents - the requirement was part of the conditions to obtain a permit for offshore exploration.
I met with a Canadian from Calgary and he told me that the rig would be 100% Canadian within a few weeks. This had never been done before so I asked how this was going to be achieved. He told me that he was meeting with Flora MacDonald in Ottawa the next day and all the rig crew were to become landed immigrants and thus his company would meet the requirements of the permit. He was less than happy when I told him that would not happen and Nova Scotia would make sure they fulfilled the same obligations that applied to all other companies. He seemed to think that the feds and Flora called all the shots so I reminded him that jurisidiction in the offshore was shared by the two governments and that now that Mulroney was PM the federal government would consult with the province before making any decision on his request. And off he went to Ottawa and he didn't get what he thought was a slam dunk. In dealing with US, European and Canadian companies I can tell you that the Canadians were the worst and the Yanks were the best - Rowan couldn't get enough Nova Scotians and they employed them around the world. Sedco built rigs in Halifax and hired Nova Scotians who gained promotion to senior positions and worked all over the world.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. The young man should be allowed to run his business and become a citizen of Nova Scotia.

mcmcclassic
Jul 22, 2014, 6:40 PM
I was just looking at a report on office vacancy rates (Q1 2014) and the numbers aren't that great. Dartmouth alone boasts vacancy rates in the ~25% range for classes A,B, and C space. Bedford is not much better.

Wonder if this will hurt rental rates in the city anytime soon...

http://cwatlantic.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Halifax_AMERICAS_Alliance_MarketBeat_Office_Q12014_FINAL.pdf

OldDartmouthMark
Jul 24, 2014, 4:50 PM
The City of Dartmouth sold to Dell Holdings the part of Park Avenue which abuts the their property and Dartmouth Common some time in the late 1970s and the boundary is now about 15 feet from the metal fence.
The property is best viewed at http://www.viewpoint.ca/

Interesting, but presumably "Lot P" would be required to contain some sort of right of way to and by the properties, most likely a walkway but maybe a lane?

Do you know the history of this block of land? Was it just expropriated and sold, only to be cleared and left to vacant for 40+ years? Clearly it contained single and/or multi-family homes at one point in time, then it appears that they were all taken down at once. Seems really really strange to me, unless it was part of the seniors' building project that wasn't realized?

scooby074
Jul 26, 2014, 12:33 AM
Has it been mentioned that St. Pats has been declared surplus and likely heading for demo?

"Halifax regional council has declared the old St. Patrick’s High School surplus, clearing the way for the demolition of the 1950s building and sale of the property."
http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1224693-way-cleared-for-st-pat-s-demolition

It will be interesting to see what goes up on that site.

ILoveHalifax
Jul 26, 2014, 12:58 AM
Has it been mentioned that St. Pats has been declared surplus and likely heading for demo?

"Halifax regional council has declared the old St. Patrick’s High School surplus, clearing the way for the demolition of the 1950s building and sale of the property."
http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1224693-way-cleared-for-st-pat-s-demolition

It will be interesting to see what goes up on that site.

Great location for a couple of really tall towers 50 stories plus? ? ?
There are no view planes in the area. Imagine the views. A revolving restaurant on the top would be an incredible place for a meal.

W.Sobchak
Jul 26, 2014, 1:15 AM
delete please

Colin May
Jul 26, 2014, 3:37 PM
Great location for a couple of really tall towers 50 stories plus? ? ?
There are no view planes in the area. Imagine the views. A revolving restaurant on the top would be an incredible place for a meal.

I get the joke.
50 storeys HAHAHAHA.
Spend a fortune digging a hole for a parking garage and then spend another fortune building hundreds of condos/apartments, but only after finding some semi-stunned lender willing to risk financing the deal.
The Trillium has $10,000,000 of unsold condos and other unsold condos in Halifax/Dartmouth total at least $20,000,000.
The market is saturated with MT condos and apartments.

How one lender makes money :

" Timbercreek offers first and second mortgage loans to qualified borrowers, on income-producing real estate, including offices, commercial, multi-unit residential retirement communities, at competitive rates and terms. Our focus is on shorter-term, customized loans provided to experienced real estate professionals who require fast execution and flexible terms.

$500,000 to $100 million loan amounts
Customized, flexible terms designed to meet your borrowing standards
Quick turnaround and approvals
Typically shorter-term, from 6 to 60 months
Generally interest only payments or flexible amortization
Loan-to-value up to 85%
Clearly defined exit strategy "

http://www.timbercreek.com/borrowers

Drybrain
Jul 26, 2014, 4:03 PM
I get the joke.
50 storeys HAHAHAHA.
Spend a fortune digging a hole for a parking garage and then spend another fortune building hundreds of condos/apartments, but only after finding some semi-stunned lender willing to risk financing the deal.


I really don't get this hunger for supertalls in Halifax. We have 420,000 people and modest population growth--there is no market for 50+ storey buildings. Certainly not several. Even Vancouver, an especially high-risey city, has only one building taller that 50. I would be surprised if there's even one example of a city in our size range on this continent with multiple residential supertalls. It's just not going to happen, and it has nothing to do with anti-height sentiment. It's basic market fundamentals.

portapetey
Jul 26, 2014, 4:20 PM
I really don't get this hunger for supertalls in Halifax. We have 420,000 people and modest population growth--there is no market for 50+ storey buildings. Certainly not several. Even Vancouver, an especially high-risey city, has only one building taller that 50. I would be surprised if there's even one example of a city in our size range on this continent with multiple residential supertalls. It's just not going to happen, and it has nothing to do with anti-height sentiment. It's basic market fundamentals.

And even 420,000 is a huge stretch as it includes hundreds of kilometers of sparsely populated countryside.

The actual urban population is only around 300,000.

I have tried to make the point that Halifax is far, far too small a market for 50 story buildings, but some people just don't want to hear it.

I want to see more mid- and high-rise development, but let's be realistic people.

The fact is, we already have a pretty decent stock of tall-ish building for such a small city. Find any other city of 300,000 that is isolated hours away from any other city of even moderate size and compare its building stock to Halifax.

Cities like ours simply aren't full of 50 story skyscrapers.

scryer
Jul 26, 2014, 8:19 PM
I really don't get this hunger for supertalls in Halifax. We have 420,000 people and modest population growth--there is no market for 50+ storey buildings. Certainly not several. Even Vancouver, an especially high-risey city, has only one building taller that 50. I would be surprised if there's even one example of a city in our size range on this continent with multiple residential supertalls. It's just not going to happen, and it has nothing to do with anti-height sentiment. It's basic market fundamentals.

About Vancouver.... We have these view-cone laws in regards to the mountains. So it is an INCREDIBLE hassle to get something built around 50 floors done. As soon as these laws drop, though, there will be higher developments.. A lot of people disagree with the view cone laws.

worldlyhaligonian
Jul 26, 2014, 8:31 PM
I get the joke.
50 storeys HAHAHAHA.
Spend a fortune digging a hole for a parking garage and then spend another fortune building hundreds of condos/apartments, but only after finding some semi-stunned lender willing to risk financing the deal.
The Trillium has $10,000,000 of unsold condos and other unsold condos in Halifax/Dartmouth total at least $20,000,000.
The market is saturated with MT condos and apartments.

How one lender makes money :

" Timbercreek offers first and second mortgage loans to qualified borrowers, on income-producing real estate, including offices, commercial, multi-unit residential retirement communities, at competitive rates and terms. Our focus is on shorter-term, customized loans provided to experienced real estate professionals who require fast execution and flexible terms.

$500,000 to $100 million loan amounts
Customized, flexible terms designed to meet your borrowing standards
Quick turnaround and approvals
Typically shorter-term, from 6 to 60 months
Generally interest only payments or flexible amortization
Loan-to-value up to 85%
Clearly defined exit strategy "

http://www.timbercreek.com/borrowers

Colin May, more worried about developer's finances than they are since 2014.

Seriously dude, if the bubble bursts... many people are buying in at low prices / low interest rates.

You seem to think there is zero money in HRM.

counterfactual
Jul 26, 2014, 8:40 PM
I really don't get this hunger for supertalls in Halifax. We have 420,000 people and modest population growth--there is no market for 50+ storey buildings. Certainly not several. Even Vancouver, an especially high-risey city, has only one building taller that 50. I would be surprised if there's even one example of a city in our size range on this continent with multiple residential supertalls. It's just not going to happen, and it has nothing to do with anti-height sentiment. It's basic market fundamentals.

Not sure Vancouver is at all high-risey. They have 27 protected "mountain view" corridors that have limited height and thus deterred true high risers (unlike Toronto).

And I'm not sure you want to use Vancouver as a comparator for your argument, in any case, given anything proposed over 10m in Halifax is a damn war to get approved.

Halifax has a mere 4 buildings over 80m.

Vancouver has, by contrast, 50 that exceed 100m

Halifax has 78 buildings that are 35m or above.

Vancouver has 650 that are 35m or above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Halifax,_Nova_Scotia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Vancouver

So let's break that down by population to understand proportions.

Vancouver's metro population -- 2,476,145
HRM - 408,702

So, Vancouver has 6x our population, but over 12x our number of skyscrapers; and that's comparing 80m vs 100m.

The numbers speak for themselves-- we *don't* have a proportion amount of high rise in this city. Not a proportion amount of mid-rise.

So, I don't get all the moaning and groaning in the city-- even on this site-- whenever high rise development is proposed.

Moreover, one of the reasons why we've had so much ridiculous sprawl in this sprawling-plagued city, is that we've had very little residential development on the peninsula and the the downtown core. That has meant two things-- first, the cost of living (buying a condo or renting a nice place) has been prohibitively high, leading more people to live off the peninsula in cheaper and unregulated suburban sprawl development. This, in turn, has led over time to the downtown population to crumble (while suburbs expand) undermining downtown businesses and commercial office leasing, which in turn have slowly moved to the suburbs and biz parks too.

It's more of a downward spiral than a cycle. And part of the problem, is that whenever someone proposes something truly high rise downtown, we all hand wring and disclaim that there is no market.

People said the same thing about King's Wharf and Fares can't build those condos fast enough to meet demand. He sold out both towers before they were done.

I say bring on the development, even bring on the glut; if anything, it'll bring down prices, making downtown buying and renting cheaper, to making downtown living more affordable to a wider range of people and families. This will help reverse the downward sprawl cycle. Further, we're living in a time of remarkably low interest rates. That won't last forever. So may as well build now, and build tall, before things get expensive again.

counterfactual
Jul 26, 2014, 8:40 PM
And even 420,000 is a huge stretch as it includes hundreds of kilometers of sparsely populated countryside.

The actual urban population is only around 300,000.

I have tried to make the point that Halifax is far, far too small a market for 50 story buildings, but some people just don't want to hear it.

I want to see more mid- and high-rise development, but let's be realistic people.

The fact is, we already have a pretty decent stock of tall-ish building for such a small city. Find any other city of 300,000 that is isolated hours away from any other city of even moderate size and compare its building stock to Halifax.

Cities like ours simply aren't full of 50 story skyscrapers.

Disagree. See post above responding to Dry's (similar) point.

curnhalio
Jul 27, 2014, 4:32 PM
The Trillium has $10,000,000 of unsold condos and other unsold condos in Halifax/Dartmouth total at least $20,000,000.
The market is saturated with MT condos and apartments.

Units in The Trillium go for the $1M range and higher. Bryant Realty lists one available at $2.2M, and another at $899,900. According to The Trillium site, there are 84 units and they claim that 98% are sold. Which would mean that only 2 or 3 are vacant. I wonder if that $4.9M penthouse is one of them, which would seriously inflate that figure.

As for this 6399 North development, I am not a fan. I happen to think the current building is very cool looking. I like the stone. They're taking a good building and screwing it up.

portapetey
Jul 27, 2014, 7:22 PM
Not sure Vancouver is at all high-risey. They have 27 protected "mountain view" corridors that have limited height and thus deterred true high risers (unlike Toronto).

And I'm not sure you want to use Vancouver as a comparator for your argument, in any case, given anything proposed over 10m in Halifax is a damn war to get approved.

Halifax has a mere 4 buildings over 80m.

Vancouver has, by contrast, 50 that exceed 100m

Halifax has 78 buildings that are 35m or above.

Vancouver has 650 that are 35m or above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Halifax,_Nova_Scotia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Vancouver

So let's break that down by population to understand proportions.

Vancouver's metro population -- 2,476,145
HRM - 408,702

So, Vancouver has 6x our population, but over 12x our number of skyscrapers; and that's comparing 80m vs 100m.

The numbers speak for themselves-- we *don't* have a proportion amount of high rise in this city. Not a proportion amount of mid-rise.

So, I don't get all the moaning and groaning in the city-- even on this site-- whenever high rise development is proposed.

Moreover, one of the reasons why we've had so much ridiculous sprawl in this sprawling-plagued city, is that we've had very little residential development on the peninsula and the the downtown core. That has meant two things-- first, the cost of living (buying a condo or renting a nice place) has been prohibitively high, leading more people to live off the peninsula in cheaper and unregulated suburban sprawl development. This, in turn, has led over time to the downtown population to crumble (while suburbs expand) undermining downtown businesses and commercial office leasing, which in turn have slowly moved to the suburbs and biz parks too.

It's more of a downward spiral than a cycle. And part of the problem, is that whenever someone proposes something truly high rise downtown, we all hand wring and disclaim that there is no market.

People said the same thing about King's Wharf and Fares can't build those condos fast enough to meet demand. He sold out both towers before they were done.

I say bring on the development, even bring on the glut; if anything, it'll bring down prices, making downtown buying and renting cheaper, to making downtown living more affordable to a wider range of people and families. This will help reverse the downward sprawl cycle. Further, we're living in a time of remarkably low interest rates. That won't last forever. So may as well build now, and build tall, before things get expensive again.

I don't think you can pick an arbitrary building height and scale it like that, saying, for example, "if a city of 1,000,000 has 50 60-story buildings, then a city of 100,000 should have 5." It's not that simple. A city Of 100,000 doesn't have any 60 story buildings. No one would expect to see one in Moncton, for example.

And you're still trying to pit the "skyscraper rate" of a metro area with contiguous urban populations totalling 2.5 million to a "regional municipality" with an urban population of 300,000 plus another 120-odd thousand scattered loosely throughout surrounding rural villages. They're just not analogous types of communities.

I'd again suggest finding a few other relatively isolated cities of 300,000 without huge commuter sheds across North America, and show me one that is full of skyscrapers of dramatically higher in heights or numbers than Halifax. I bet you won't find any.

And again, I want more development in Halifax. I would love to see more mid or high rise buildings in Halifax, and more modernity. But I think it unreasonable to expect such a small city to suddenly crop up with a skyscraper city of 40 to 60 story buildings, like, for example, Vancouver or Panama City.

portapetey
Jul 27, 2014, 7:38 PM
I think I'd have to add too that Vancouver seems to Have an unusually dense skyline for a city of its size. From a distance, that skyline looks almost as broad and dense as, say, Hong Kong or Manhattan - much larger cities. The other other city I cited, Panama City, is also one I find is unusually dense.

worldlyhaligonian
Jul 27, 2014, 9:15 PM
Units in The Trillium go for the $1M range and higher. Bryant Realty lists one available at $2.2M, and another at $899,900. According to The Trillium site, there are 84 units and they claim that 98% are sold. Which would mean that only 2 or 3 are vacant. I wonder if that $4.9M penthouse is one of them, which would seriously inflate that figure.

As for this 6399 North development, I am not a fan. I happen to think the current building is very cool looking. I like the stone. They're taking a good building and screwing it up.

Don't worry, this guy makes spurious claims based upon questionable information.

For us young people, build build build developers! If this bubble bursts, we'll all be buying in at low prices. Its called supply and demand and the developers put themselves at risk, but I don't think they build if they didn't think they could sell to at least recover their costs.

Colin May
Jul 27, 2014, 10:14 PM
Don't worry, this guy makes spurious claims based upon questionable information.

For us young people, build build build developers! If this bubble bursts, we'll all be buying in at low prices. Its called supply and demand and the developers put themselves at risk, but I don't think they build if they didn't think they could sell to at least recover their costs.

Don't have a clue do you ?
You don't know where to find the information.
Building has 85 units
Here are the 13 unsold units : 1003, 1102, 1103, 1301, 1303, 1305, 1205, 801, 803, 306, 1901, 1902, 602.
Information accurate as of July 22 2014
'Unsold' means never sold and does not include units being re-sold.

Colin May
Jul 27, 2014, 10:57 PM
People said the same thing about King's Wharf and Fares can't build those condos fast enough to meet demand. He sold out both towers before they were done.



I can assure you that one condo, 31 King's Wharf Place, sold very well.
The condo next to the train tracks, 15 King's Wharf Place did not sell well at all. ( Sales to independent buyers were very low. )

worldlyhaligonian
Jul 27, 2014, 11:58 PM
Don't have a clue do you ?
You don't know where to find the information.
Building has 85 units
Here are the 13 unsold units : 1003, 1102, 1103, 1301, 1303, 1305, 1205, 801, 803, 306, 1901, 1902, 602.
Information accurate as of July 22 2014
'Unsold' means never sold and does not include units being re-sold.

It is you who does not have a clue because you have yet to explain, for buyers and the general public, why oversupply is bad for us?

More on the market that doesn't move will lead to lower prices... if it doesn't, I can't see how developers will be able to sit on properties given the costs.

Please explain, I'd love to hear it as a person looking to eventually buy in HRM. I'm all ears, seriously.

Ziobrop
Jul 28, 2014, 12:05 AM
I agree an oversupply is a good thing.. Unless you get paid a percentage of the sale price for brokering the sale and the oversupply keeps prices low.

Colin May
Jul 28, 2014, 3:07 AM
It is you who does not have a clue because you have yet to explain, for buyers and the general public, why oversupply is bad for us?

More on the market that doesn't move will lead to lower prices... if it doesn't, I can't see how developers will be able to sit on properties given the costs.

Please explain, I'd love to hear it as a person looking to eventually buy in HRM. I'm all ears, seriously.

You posted earlier and referring to me : " Don't worry, this guy makes spurious claims based upon questionable information. "

and therefore I posted ' You don't have a clue'. You made a wild allegation, provided no evidence to support the allegation and when presented with the facts you have chosen to ignore them. Why not just agree to withdraw the sentence I quote and leave it at that.
Nowhere do I say oversupply is good or bad. I laid out the available units in one building and commented on King's Wharf developments. The data is freely available if you know where to look.

IanWatson
Jul 28, 2014, 4:01 PM
It is you who does not have a clue because you have yet to explain, for buyers and the general public, why oversupply is bad for us?

More on the market that doesn't move will lead to lower prices... if it doesn't, I can't see how developers will be able to sit on properties given the costs.

Please explain, I'd love to hear it as a person looking to eventually buy in HRM. I'm all ears, seriously.

Oversupply doesn't typically mean lower prices, it just means no further development for a period of time. Unit prices are basically set by cost to build plus the developer's desired margin. If the market isn't there, the property owner will just sit on it - either continue taking in money from the existing building, or tear it down and rent as a parking lot.

This is basically what happened with the office market in DT Halifax. As much as people like to blame the HT for the last 20 years stagnation, it had more to do with the fact that there was an oversupply of office space. We've had a boom in recent years because easy financing has combined with the end date for a bunch of major leases, so developers are rushing to get new product on the market. With TD, Waterside, and the Nova Centre coming online we probably won't see many new office proposals for another 20 years, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't even see 22 Commerce Square get off the ground.

All that being said, it's not really the city's role to evaluate individual proposals based on whether there is demand or not. BUT it also means that there's no pressing need, beyond a fetish for tall towers, to open up the floodgates to projects of unlimited size.

counterfactual
Jul 29, 2014, 5:19 AM
Oversupply doesn't typically mean lower prices, it just means no further development for a period of time. Unit prices are basically set by cost to build plus the developer's desired margin. If the market isn't there, the property owner will just sit on it - either continue taking in money from the existing building, or tear it down and rent as a parking lot.

This is basically what happened with the office market in DT Halifax. As much as people like to blame the HT for the last 20 years stagnation, it had more to do with the fact that there was an oversupply of office space. We've had a boom in recent years because easy financing has combined with the end date for a bunch of major leases, so developers are rushing to get new product on the market. With TD, Waterside, and the Nova Centre coming online we probably won't see many new office proposals for another 20 years, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't even see 22 Commerce Square get off the ground.

All that being said, it's not really the city's role to evaluate individual proposals based on whether there is demand or not. BUT it also means that there's no pressing need, beyond a fetish for tall towers, to open up the floodgates to projects of unlimited size.


Huh? Come on, now. This is patently false stuff.

*Of course* oversupply also leads to lower prices in condo / housing market.

*Of course* oversupply in the rental market deters rent inflation and exerts downward pressure on rents overall.

Thus:

Toronto condo prices to fall amid ‘striking’ oversupply: TD


A new report from TD Economics published Monday takes a deeper look into the condo boom occurring in the country’s most populous city and backs up what some have been saying for some time.

Prices are headed for a correction.

By how much? TD’s call is for an eight per cent decline in prices by the end of 2015. The average condo price in the Greater Toronto Area sits at $353,665, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

A pullback of that magnitude could spell some meaningful downward revisions on prices on brand new units coming up for sale later this year or next.

http://globalnews.ca/news/1198221/td-says-toronto-condo-prices-to-fall-amid-striking-oversupply/

This applies to small markets as well:




Condo market rapidly cooling off in St. John's area

Janes said that translates to lower prices for people looking to buy a condo.

"Last year the average new condo price was down about eight per cent, so again a little bit because of that oversupply situation. And right now, the average existing condo price was down four per cent in 2013," he said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/condo-market-rapidly-cooling-off-in-st-john-s-area-1.2568741

BUILD, BUILD, BUILD, BUILD.

counterfactual
Jul 29, 2014, 5:24 AM
I can assure you that one condo, 31 King's Wharf Place, sold very well.
The condo next to the train tracks, 15 King's Wharf Place did not sell well at all. ( Sales to independent buyers were very low. )

I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you're disputing?

Either they're sold out or they're not. Whether units in the second tower sold for less can be attributed to any number of factors-- market and non-market related- and, in any case, is neither here nor there. The fact that he's seeking to expand the broader KW development suggests that he's sold those units high enough to make money.

On the fact that both towers were sold out-- and expansion of the development-- see this piece in the CH a few days ago.

The piece also indicates a third tower-- not even build yet-- is 85% sold:

King’s Wharf could add up to a nearly billion-dollar development. Fares Inc. has approvals for a dozen buildings with 1,293 residential units, 200 hotel rooms and 120,000 square feet of commercial and office space in total.

Fares said there are plans to seek approvals for another three buildings. He says his vision is to create a small village of mixed-use buildings in the area.

The first two condominium towers have been completed and sold so far. A third building, under construction with a completion date for next spring, is 85 per cent sold.[
http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1224329-rising-sea-levels-make-tough-work-for-king-s-wharf-project

This goes back to my original point: despite all the handwringing from detractors, claims for years "THERE'S NO MARKET! NO MARKET!", he's selling these units faster than he can build them.

portapetey
Jul 29, 2014, 6:34 PM
I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you're disputing?

Either they're sold out or they're not. Whether units in the second tower sold for less can be attributed to any number of factors-- market and non-market related- and, in any case, is neither here nor there. The fact that he's seeking to expand the broader KW development suggests that he's sold those units high enough to make money.

On the fact that both towers were sold out-- and expansion of the development-- see this piece in the CH a few days ago.

The piece also indicates a third tower-- not even build yet-- is 85% sold:



This goes back to my original point: despite all the handwringing from detractors, claims for years "THERE'S NO MARKET! NO MARKET!", he's selling these units faster than he can build them.

I agree with you on King's Wharf, and if Fares thinks he can fill a 40 story tower, I'd love to see it happen.

But I still maintain that Halifax is far too small a city to be expected to have numerous 50 and 60 story towers in its downtown as many people seem to want to imagine is possible.

There's not another city so small anywhere that does. I think there needs to be a critical mass of population to support that....where does it happen? 1 million people? 2? I don't know. But it's certainly not 300,000 urban / 420,000 metro.

Colin May
Jul 30, 2014, 12:14 AM
I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you're disputing?

Either they're sold out or they're not. Whether units in the second tower sold for less can be attributed to any number of factors-- market and non-market related- and, in any case, is neither here nor there. The fact that he's seeking to expand the broader KW development suggests that he's sold those units high enough to make money.

On the fact that both towers were sold out-- and expansion of the development-- see this piece in the CH a few days ago.

The piece also indicates a third tower-- not even build yet-- is 85% sold:

This goes back to my original point: despite all the handwringing from detractors, claims for years "THERE'S NO MARKET! NO MARKET!", he's selling these units faster than he can build them.

Sales at 15 King's Wharf were very poor and the developer is renting many units through associated companies. Potential tenants are given a hefty sales pitch as you are shown through various units and then at the last minute the agent offers a buyer the incentive of 12 months free condo fees. I have accessed all the sales data in 15 and 31 King's Wharf.
The claim of 85% sales in the 3rd tower cannot be independently verified as the building is not completed.
And in Halifax the moon does not set in the southwest.

counterfactual
Jul 30, 2014, 12:58 AM
I agree with you on King's Wharf, and if Fares thinks he can fill a 40 story tower, I'd love to see it happen.

But I still maintain that Halifax is far too small a city to be expected to have numerous 50 and 60 story towers in its downtown as many people seem to want to imagine is possible.

There's not another city so small anywhere that does. I think there needs to be a critical mass of population to support that....where does it happen? 1 million people? 2? I don't know. But it's certainly not 300,000 urban / 420,000 metro.

Who is talking about "numerous 50 and 60 story towers" ?

I'm not. How about *one* 50 story? Hell forget 50, how about a 40 story tower? Why not start there?

Because in Halifax, anything over 5 is a war.

Why is it that when someone proposes *one* skyscraper, this automatically means we are going to transform into Toronto and have a skyline of countless 50 and 60 story towers?

As for whether there is a market, your skepticism is common on here and in the city. All I can do, is point out that sales keep debunking this thinking in Halifax. People claimed Fares couldn't sell the first tower, because there's no market. He sold it out. They then said the second would never sell. Sold out too. Now he's onto the third, and the same detractors are being undercut by 85% sales of the third. Given some more time, it'll be sold out.

At some point, people need to accommodate the reality that there's demand for more downtown housing. Period.

And as for "smallish" Halifax; nearing half a million people, Halifax is no longer a quaint town on the ocean and we will never be again. We're a city.

Again: Halifax currently has 4 skyscrapers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=66

Compare: Ottawa metro area has 800,000 people. The city has 84 towers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=60

Compare: London, ON, has 470,000, population in metro. London currently has 15 skyscrapers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=60

When talking skyscrapers (over 80m) by proportion of population, London has almost four times more skyscrapers than we do. Ottawa, essentially ten times.

The point is not that we need to start building Mirvish towers to catch up; just that we've been wholly modest in developing/building taller structures compared to other Canadian cities, and that maybe a few more *taller* towers downtown-- bringing more intense density-- will not be the end of the world.

counterfactual
Jul 30, 2014, 1:20 AM
Sales at 15 King's Wharf were very poor and the developer is renting many units through associated companies. Potential tenants are given a hefty sales pitch as you are shown through various units and then at the last minute the agent offers a buyer the incentive of 12 months free condo fees. I have accessed all the sales data in 15 and 31 King's Wharf.
The claim of 85% sales in the 3rd tower cannot be independently verified as the building is not completed.
And in Halifax the moon does not set in the southwest.

You have made some pretty serious allegations in this post.

I have cited my facts to an article in Nova Scotia's paper of record.

Do you have a credible independent source that you can cite here to back up your claim that Fares has blatantly lied to a news reporter that the towers are sold out (and that the reporter has not verified printed facts), but has, in fact, rented/sold units to "associated" companies (as in, companies he owns)?

Do you have a credible independent source that you can cite here to back up your claim that about the "hefty sales pitch" with "18 months free condo fees" ?

I ask, because to be quite honest, I'm worried your assertions are getting a little close to potentially defamatory claims about an identified individual. I'm no lawyer, but we're not talking about a public figure or group like HTNS here, nor corporate or government policy. This is a private citizen. Not trying to be difficult; but just raising a bit of a flag for your own benefit.

Also, these assertions just don't square with what is going on. Why would Fares move to expand the King's Wharf development by multiple towers, if he's losing his shirt on existing towers and sales? And why lie about it? How are you going to sell units if you pretend towers are already "sold out", including one not even built?

counterfactual
Jul 30, 2014, 1:22 AM
In other (good) news:

Halifax heritage buildings to get a financial boost

A program to help finance facelifts for properties in the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District Boundary is being extended.

Last week, city council voted to run the Barrington Street Heritage Incentives Program, which started in 2009, over another two years.

[..]

....the program still has approximately $400,000 available from projects that were approved but that never went ahead.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1225997-halifax-heritage-buildings-to-get-a-financial-boost

portapetey
Jul 30, 2014, 1:29 AM
Who is talking about "numerous 50 and 60 story towers" ?

I'm not. How about *one* 50 story? Hell forget 50, how about a 40 story tower? Why not start there?

Because in Halifax, anything over 5 is a war.

Why is it that when someone proposes *one* skyscraper, this automatically means we are going to transform into Toronto and have a skyline of countless 50 and 60 story towers?

As for whether there is a market, your skepticism is common on here and in the city. All I can do, is point out that sales keep debunking this thinking in Halifax. People claimed Fares couldn't sell the first tower, because there's no market. He sold it out. They then said the second would never sell. Sold out too. Now he's onto the third, and the same detractors are being undercut by 85% sales of the third. Given some more time, it'll be sold out.

At some point, people need to accommodate the reality that there's demand for more downtown housing. Period.

And as for "smallish" Halifax; nearing half a million people, Halifax is no longer a quaint town on the ocean and we will never be again. We're a city. Time to start adjusting to that reality too.

Again: Halifax currently has 4 skyscrapers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=66

Compare: Ottawa metro area has 800,000 people. The city has 84 towers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=60

Compare: London, ON, has 470,000, population in metro. London currently has 15 skyscrapers over 80m: http://skyscraperpage.com/cities/maps/?cityID=60

When talking skyscrapers (over 80m), London has almost four times more skyscrapers than we do. Ottawa, essentially ten times.

The point is not that we need to start building Mirvish towers to catch up; just that we've been wholly modest in developing/building taller structures compared to other Canadian cities, and that maybe a few more *taller* towers downtown-- bringing more intense density-- will not be the end of the world.

Ottawa has over 880,000 people (city) and over 1.2 million (metro). It is about 4 times the size of Halifax by any measure, and in a much more densely populated part of the country. And I don't think the multiplier (4 times the population versus 10 times the building over a certain height) is a useful way to think about this. As I said above, if you want to apply that kind of math, then we'd say that a city of 100,000 should have a certain number of buildings over that height. And we would never expect to see a single building of that height in, I dunno, Sydney. There is a critical mass issue. Cities don't build significant numbers of skyscrapers until they are over a threshold. Maybe it's a million, something like that.

London is probably a closer comparison than Ottawa, although its population isn't so overstated by including rural people scattered throughout 5,000 square kilometres like Halifax (yes, over 5000 sq km). And again, part of the most densely populated part of the country.

The point I'm trying to make is that people seem to have a very inflated idea of how big Halifax is relative to other cities - I'm starting to think that's the worst effect of HRM amalgamation! Halifax is not a city of almost half a million people in any real sense. Realistically, if you want to compare Halifax to other cities, you should be looking at cities the size of the former City of Halifax - 140,000 city, 300,000 including surrounding urban areas, 420,000 if you include everything all the way to Timbuktu.

In any case, London also has a skyline that really isn't any more impressive than Halifax's:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/London,_Ontario#/image/File:London,_Ontario,_Canada-_The_Forest_City_from_above.jpg

Again, I'll stand by my assertion that you will be very hard pressed to find any city with a similar population profile to Halifax that has a significantly denser or higher skyline. You just won't. Please, go do some research and prove me wrong. I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

My second point then, is that all of the handwringing and moaning about how Halifax is severely underdeveloped and "behind the times" skyscraper-wise is based on a completely false premise. Halifax has a pretty decent stock of mid rise buildings and a pretty decent skyline for such a small city.

And none of that is to say that I don't want to see more. I do want to see more. I do think the Antidevelopment Trust has hampered Halifax developing an even more impressive downtown. I'm here at the skyscraperpage because I'm interested in development and tall buildings.

I'm just realistic about it and don't have starry-eyed visions of a futuristic Metropolis springing up downtown in a world where truly tall skyscrapers just don't exist in small cities like Halifax.

someone123
Jul 30, 2014, 2:31 AM
Many CMAs are as large as Halifax's CMA or larger. Ottawa's CMA, which is where that 1.2 million figure comes from, covers 5,700 square kilometres. The CMA boundaries themselves depend on commuting patterns, so if a district is included then that means that it is linked strongly to the nearby urban area.

It's likewise pretty misleading to say that Halifax's population is spread out over the full land area of the HRM. The vast majority of people live in the western third of the municipality; before the recent council shuffle, the eastern 2/3 had only one out of 23 councillors. It only has about 20,000 people and many of those people are suburban commuters. The HRM does not have a large rural population or an inflated overall population. It's on the order of 95% urban and suburban or exurban and 5% rural.

The 40 and 50 storey building stuff sounds like a straw man to me. It's possible that somebody somewhere is obsessed with this but it is not a very prominent opinion. I encounter way more people who seem preoccupied with pointing out why things won't work out in Halifax for one reason or another, what's wrong with it, etc. Personally, I prefer the unrealistically positive outlooks to the excessive pessimism.

I agree that there probably won't be demand to fill lots of 40+ storey buildings, but I don't think a single 40 storey building is that unrealistic. Southwest's Maple tower probably could have been a 40 storey building with a similar number of units had the view planes permitted. A lot of the tall buildings here in Vancouver have fewer units per floor than what you see in Halifax (Shangri la is about 300 units in 60+ floors and 700,000 square feet -- the Nova Centre has a greater floor area). It probably costs more to go higher but I doubt the 30 storey (Fenwick) to 40 storey transition is so prohibitive that such a building could never be viable in Halifax.

portapetey
Jul 30, 2014, 2:48 AM
I was comparing Halifax land area to London's. Nobody is saying Halifax's population is spread through 5000 sq km (speaking of straw men). But over a quarter of it is. The stats are here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax,_Nova_Scotia 300,000 urban, or roughly 75%, nowhere near 95.

In any case, I do feel strongly that people seem to think Halifax is a significantly bigger city than it really is, when they are always comparing it to cities much larger. Or they think other cities aren't nearly as big relative to Halifax as they are. Something like that; six of one, half a dozen of the other, I suppose. I'm just trying to compare apples to apples.

I don't think a single 40 story building is unrealistic.

But I don't think Halifax is seriously underdeveloed relative to other small cities its size either.

Once again, find me an urban area of 300,000 that is not part of a major metropolis with a significantly larger number of high rises, or significantly taller ones. They don't exist, as far as I can tell.

I'm not a pessimist at all - I just want to challenge the down-in-the-mouth, crying-poor, overwhelming negativity of how lousy Halifax is for not having more skyscrapers. It's a perfectly normal city for its size. We have it pretty good, and I wish people would recognize that instead of moaning about how much it sucks here.

Be patient. When our urban population hits 700,000 or so, long after all of us here are dead, a few 40 story buildings will go up. :-D

someone123
Jul 30, 2014, 2:54 AM
Here is one example, but it is a resort town: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benidorm

I don't personally think the 40 or 50 storey towers are that desirable beyond maybe having one or two signature buildings since they come at the expense of a larger number of smaller developments. I would rather see a larger number of holes filled downtown and in the North End.

For all the complaining on here, the current pipeline of projects happening in Halifax is pretty great. There's a nice mix of taller and shorter buildings planned, and many neighbourhoods are getting infill.

portapetey
Jul 30, 2014, 3:21 AM
Here is one example, but it is a resort town: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benidorm

I don't personally think the 40 or 50 storey towers are that desirable beyond maybe having one or two signature buildings since they come at the expense of a larger number of smaller developments. I would rather see a larger number of holes filled downtown and in the North End.

For all the complaining on here, the current pipeline of projects happening in Halifax is pretty great. There's a nice mix of taller and shorter buildings planned, and many neighbourhoods are getting infill.

I think we actually agree. :-D

I think we have a lot happening here, and I'd rather see 2 25 story towers filling some gaps in the downtown than one 50.

I had never heard of Benidorm; looks pretty cool. But as you already acknowledged in not so many words, quite an outlier. From Wikipedia:

"It has a population density of 1,915.5 inhab/km². The unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings, which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast) Urban Age project, bears witness to the fact that Benidorm has the most high-rise buildings per capita in the world.[1]"

Now I want to go there!

Colin May
Jul 30, 2014, 3:46 AM
You have made some pretty serious allegations in this post.

I have cited my facts to an article in Nova Scotia's paper of record.

Do you have a credible independent source that you can cite here to back up your claim that Fares has blatantly lied to a news reporter that the towers are sold out (and that the reporter has not verified printed facts), but has, in fact, rented/sold units to "associated" companies (as in, companies he owns)?

Do you have a credible independent source that you can cite here to back up your claim that about the "hefty sales pitch" with "18 months free condo fees" ?

I ask, because to be quite honest, I'm worried your assertions are getting a little close to potentially defamatory claims about an identified individual. I'm no lawyer, but we're not talking about a public figure or group like HTNS here, nor corporate or government policy. This is a private citizen. Not trying to be difficult; but just raising a bit of a flag for your own benefit.

Also, these assertions just don't square with what is going on. Why would Fares move to expand the King's Wharf development by multiple towers, if he's losing his shirt on existing towers and sales? And why lie about it? How are you going to sell units if you pretend towers are already "sold out", including one not even built?

I have not claimed that any person 'blatantly lied to a news reporter'.
I have not said he ' is losing his shirt ' .
I am careful about what I write.

The 85 % sales figure for the 3rd building cannot be independently verified unless : a) the developer provides copies of the agreement of sale for the units, and that will never happen; and b) when the sales are registered at the registry of deeds and the condominium is registered.

I have all the sales data for 15 & 31 King's Wharf Place. The information is on the public record. All financing for the two buildings and the units is on the public record. Units in 15 King's Wharf Place are advertised for rental and purchase. I have looked at the units as a potential tenant and the agent kept extolling the virtues of purchase, including the 12 month deal on condo fees, and went so far as to point to 3 empty units in 31 King's Wharf Place describing them as purchased by an 'investor' who believed the condos were a good investment.

I do not know why the developer is building 2 more towers. I presume he has deep pockets and a longer view of the market than other people.

The associated companies are on the public record.
It is all on the public record
It is all verified by cross referencing several public sources.
If you have several hours you can find all the information.

And the moon does not set in the south west - pretty pictures are just pretty pictures.

Phalanx
Jul 30, 2014, 4:06 AM
...
I have all the sales data for 15 & 31 King's Wharf Place. The information is on the public record. All financing for the two buildings and the units is on the public record...

Out of curiosity, perhaps you could share the sources you're using? You say that they're free and publicly available, so I wouldn't think it would be an issue.

I'm not trying to argue or dispute what you say, but it's difficult to verify/interpret the data when it's all coming through a single person. It could also be of use to the rest of the people here. It would also mean that you'd have to spend less time repeating yourself when people can just go check for themselves.

counterfactual
Jul 30, 2014, 6:40 AM
I was comparing Halifax land area to London's. Nobody is saying Halifax's population is spread through 5000 sq km (speaking of straw men). But over a quarter of it is. The stats are here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax,_Nova_Scotia 300,000 urban, or roughly 75%, nowhere near 95.

In any case, I do feel strongly that people seem to think Halifax is a significantly bigger city than it really is, when they are always comparing it to cities much larger. Or they think other cities aren't nearly as big relative to Halifax as they are. Something like that; six of one, half a dozen of the other, I suppose. I'm just trying to compare apples to apples.

I don't think a single 40 story building is unrealistic.

But I don't think Halifax is seriously underdeveloed relative to other small cities its size either.

Once again, find me an urban area of 300,000 that is not part of a major metropolis with a significantly larger number of high rises, or significantly taller ones. They don't exist, as far as I can tell.

I'm not a pessimist at all - I just want to challenge the down-in-the-mouth, crying-poor, overwhelming negativity of how lousy Halifax is for not having more skyscrapers. It's a perfectly normal city for its size. We have it pretty good, and I wish people would recognize that instead of moaning about how much it sucks here.

Be patient. When our urban population hits 700,000 or so, long after all of us here are dead, a few 40 story buildings will go up. :-D

Who is being "negative" about Halifax not having enough skyscrapers? This whole debate started when another SSPer suggested that maybe some highrise towers could be developed at the site of the current St. Pat's school, and was subsequently mocked for so suggesting.

It seems to me the only "overwhelming" negative people that are "down-in-the-mouth" and "crying-poor" are those being negative about the potential for success of some modest high rise development in Halifax.

As for whether Halifax is a bigger or smaller city, here is a list of the 100 largest urban areas in Canada by population:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_100_largest_urban_areas_in_Canada_by_population

Out of 100, Halifax places at 14. Our population is categorized as "Large urban".

We fall just below in the ranks, but are comparable to: St. Catherine's-Niagara, Kitchener, London, Victoria.

Cities below us on the list: Oshawa, Windsor, Saskatoon, Regina, Barrie, St. John's, Kelowna, Sherbrooke, Kingston, Guelph, Sudbury, Moncton, Brantford, Thunder Bay, Nanaimo, Lethbridge, Peterborough, New Westminister, Sarnia, Kamloops, etc, all fairly significant Canadian urban centers and cities.

We're a city. One of the biggest urban areas in Canada. We can support 40 story towers and more. In fact, we can do a lot of things, frankly, we think we're too small to do now...

counterfactual
Jul 30, 2014, 6:42 AM
I do not know why the developer is building 2 more towers. I presume he has deep pockets and a longer view of the market than other people.


Bingo. Perhaps we should also take a longer view and support taller, more dense, development.

mcmcclassic
Jul 30, 2014, 11:50 AM
Who is being "negative" about Halifax not having enough skyscrapers? This whole debate started when another SSPer suggested that maybe some highrise towers could be developed at the site of the current St. Pat's school, and was subsequently mocked for so suggesting.

It seems to me the only "overwhelming" negative people that are "down-in-the-mouth" and "crying-poor" are those being negative about the potential for success of some modest high rise development in Halifax.

As for whether Halifax is a bigger or smaller city, here is a list of the 100 largest urban areas in Canada by population:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_100_largest_urban_areas_in_Canada_by_population

Out of 100, Halifax places at 14. Our population is categorized as "Large urban".

We fall just below in the ranks, but are comparable to: St. Catherine's-Niagara, Kitchener, London, Victoria.

Cities below us on the list: Oshawa, Windsor, Saskatoon, Regina, Barrie, St. John's, Kelowna, Sherbrooke, Kingston, Guelph, Sudbury, Moncton, Brantford, Thunder Bay, Nanaimo, Lethbridge, Peterborough, New Westminister, Sarnia, Kamloops, etc, all fairly significant Canadian urban centers and cities.

We're a city. One of the biggest urban areas in Canada. We can support 40 story towers and more. In fact, we can do a lot of things, frankly, we think we're too small to do now...

One interesting thing to note in this though when looking at the tallest buildings in some of these other cities above us is that Fenwick (our tallest at 98m) is taller than anything in Kitchener, Victoria, St. Catherines, and is only ~15m shorter than London's tallest.

Realisticly, the height of a building shouldn't matter - it should be based on if the market can handle the amount of units going up. Take for example:

Building A -16 units per floor @ 15 stories

Building B - 6 units per floor @ 40 stories

Both have the same number of units, but one just takes up less land. Imagine taking a Clayton Park special like Grand Haven Heights and taking its unit count and stretching it upward in somewhere like the North End.... We have the ability to support taller than Fenwick stuff, we just seem to enjoy demolishing forests and such to build stupid super wide 10-12 story buildings in suburbia. :2cents:

IanWatson
Jul 30, 2014, 12:51 PM
Out of curiosity, perhaps you could share the sources you're using? You say that they're free and publicly available, so I wouldn't think it would be an issue.

Colin can correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect he's using Propery Online and the Registry of Joint Stocks to look that kind of thing up.