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JET
Jan 20, 2015, 2:23 PM
micro lofts for in-fill

http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1262066-taylor-small-is-the-new-big-with-halifax-micro-loft-trend

counterfactual
Jan 30, 2015, 5:16 AM
Seems like the rumor really was true:

http://halifax.retales.ca/?p=2418

Now that Urban Outfitters has confirmed that they are opening at 1652 Barrington St. in May via job listings at URBN.com.
I ask the question, Is Urban Outfitters on Barrington a Good Idea?

There are detractors that are going to say we don’t need big american chains, I’d like to agree but I can’t. A large chain like UO in our downtown will only spur on others to come in. Like any shopping centre a downtown needs anchors and UO will make a great anchor for downtown. The university/high school crowd right now who are more likely to hop on a bus and head to the mall will now start coming downtown to shop and discover other great little businesses I can only imagine this will be a great thing for a shop like Biscuit.

Really, really, great score for Starfish. Looks like they're taking Barrington seriously. Malls like HSC and MicMac and Dartmouth Crossing would've loved to land UO. So this is a big win for Barrington/downtown.

hokus83
Jan 30, 2015, 6:12 AM
Seems like the rumor really was true:

http://halifax.retales.ca/?p=2418


Really, really, great score for Starfish. Looks like they're taking Barrington seriously. Malls like HSC and MicMac and Dartmouth Crossing would've loved to land UO. So this is a big win for Barrington/downtown.

Downtown was at its best when it had big retail stores like Eatons on Price and Barrington, ect... The debate if big corporate stores are good for small businesses downtown is idiotic.

coolmillion
Jan 30, 2015, 11:57 PM
I don't think there was ever much of a chance of UO going to a suburban mall. They only have a couple of mall locations in Canada (I think Edmonton, Calgary and maybe one other) and their brand is, of course, very urban.
I just think it's strange that the rumours started so long ago and they're only now getting ready to open. What was the hold up? They were obviously looking at the space over a year ago.

It's such an interesting moment for downtown and it's kind of bittersweet. I've talked to independent store owners on Barrington who have really been struggling through all the construction. Quite a few stores have closed - some no longer viable, most locally owned. It's great that big chains are starting to come back and hopefully others won't be priced out, but it's been such a long time coming and the Roy site and others are going to be a mess for a while yet.

counterfactual
Jan 31, 2015, 12:30 AM
I don't think there was ever much of a chance of UO going to a suburban mall. They only have a couple of mall locations in Canada (I think Edmonton, Calgary and maybe one other) and their brand is, of course, very urban.
I just think it's strange that the rumours started so long ago and they're only now getting ready to open. What was the hold up? They were obviously looking at the space over a year ago.

It's such an interesting moment for downtown and it's kind of bittersweet. I've talked to independent store owners on Barrington who have really been struggling through all the construction. Quite a few stores have closed - some no longer viable, most locally owned. It's great that big chains are starting to come back and hopefully others won't be priced out, but it's been such a long time coming and the Roy site and others are going to be a mess for a while yet.

Suspect it's about the timing of construction on Barrington. If Reznick willing to hold you a space, I'd hold off too, and aim to get started so you can build up capacity and be ready for when The Roy and The Maple are coming online.

someone123
Jan 31, 2015, 12:30 AM
It's such an interesting moment for downtown and it's kind of bittersweet. I've talked to independent store owners on Barrington who have really been struggling through all the construction. Quite a few stores have closed - some no longer viable, most locally owned. It's great that big chains are starting to come back and hopefully others won't be priced out, but it's been such a long time coming and the Roy site and others are going to be a mess for a while yet.

It's hard because there's so much new stuff happening but the actual improvements in the mix of stores, local population, foot traffic, general appearance of the street, etc. doesn't happen until the construction is done. The construction itself is worse than nothing happening for small retailers that don't have the money to ride it out and see the eventual payoff, or for retailers that won't be viable if and when the local market changes or rents go up.

I think the Barrington Street full of quirky independent stores is more a result of the sketchy economic underpinnings of the area during the 1980-2010 period than something for the city to aim for. Nobody gets upset that Fifth Ave in NYC or Union Square aren't full of little locally-owned boutique shops; other places offer that. There are other areas like Agricola Street that could serve the same purpose, and Halifax would be way better off having urban chains plus independents rather than just the independents.

Downtown was at its best when it had big retail stores like Eatons on Price and Barrington, ect... The debate if big corporate stores are good for small businesses downtown is idiotic.

I think there's a bit of knee-jerk anti-capitalism sentiment in Halifax sometimes. People don't necessarily think that business or retail options downtown would be worse if there were big chains, they just don't like what the big chains stand for. I guess that's fine, but it's a personal ideology, not an economic strategy for the city. If those people don't like the chains they don't have to spend their money at those places.

someone123
Feb 1, 2015, 5:41 AM
Small change but it's nice to see something other than just grey here:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8fPkDyCYAAgu5C.jpg:large
From https://twitter.com/haligoniaphotos/

Jonovision
Feb 1, 2015, 4:05 PM
Small change but it's nice to see something other than just grey here:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8fPkDyCYAAgu5C.jpg:large
From https://twitter.com/haligoniaphotos/

Thanks for posting my pic. I forgot about this one. :cheers:

Dmajackson
Feb 2, 2015, 9:00 AM
The former Farmer Clem's site on the Bedford Highway is getting a major revamp;

http://41.media.tumblr.com/046c97087b7a6b82ea0b8566701e97c5/tumblr_nj34eypZ5L1tvjdq8o1_1280.jpg
Halifax Developments Blog (Photo by David Jackson) (http://urbanhalifax.tumblr.com/)

ILoveHalifax
Feb 2, 2015, 1:07 PM
What a waste of a great piece of land. I would much prefer a smaller foot print but much taller. Taller and slimmer would block less views.

enjoy*responsibly
Feb 2, 2015, 3:35 PM
What a waste of a great piece of land. I would much prefer a smaller foot print but much taller. Taller and slimmer would block less views.

Really going to complain about this?

Hali87
Feb 2, 2015, 7:33 PM
What a waste of a great piece of land. I would much prefer a smaller foot print but much taller. Taller and slimmer would block less views.

Consider the purpose though. A tall, narrow farmer's market doesn't make much sense, logistically.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 2, 2015, 9:55 PM
Consider the purpose though. A tall, narrow farmer's market doesn't make much sense, logistically.

LOL!

Tomatoes... they are on the 26th floor. Now if you're looking for apples they are on the 23rd. Butcher shops on the 12th.

Be careful of the Killer Stairs™ though...

:D

ILoveHalifax
Feb 2, 2015, 11:52 PM
From the picture I see 7 units along the front 5 for market and 2 for office.
I would be in favor of a building 5 units long and 1 story tall with about 8 stories of office space 2 units per floor above.
Results same amount of space and the Bedford Hwy would be much more visible.
No need for tomatoes on floor 23, LOL

enjoy*responsibly
Feb 3, 2015, 12:46 PM
From the picture I see 7 units along the front 5 for market and 2 for office.
I would be in favor of a building 5 units long and 1 story tall with about 8 stories of office space 2 units per floor above.
Results same amount of space and the Bedford Hwy would be much more visible.
No need for tomatoes on floor 23, LOL

That is a very specific vision to have.. And because it doesn't match that you are not in favour of it.

I'm not a huge fan of it, but as we are not the owners/developers that is simply not our choice and as such we should have little say in the issue. I understand it was just commenting on a message board about buildings and design and stuff, but that general attitude is not productive at all.

ILoveHalifax
Feb 3, 2015, 1:27 PM
That is a very specific vision to have.. And because it doesn't match that you are not in favour of it.

I'm not a huge fan of it, but as we are not the owners/developers that is simply not our choice and as such we should have little say in the issue. I understand it was just commenting on a message board about buildings and design and stuff, but that general attitude is not productive at all.

And now we have another non productive comment. If you followed the thread you would see that I was responding to some comments about tomatoes on floor 26.

I do think that the Bedford Highway is one of the prettiest roads into any city. I also would prefer to see some controls on development. Seems to me if the trend to low rise boxy strip building the road will soon look like any other road in any other city.

I am also aware that I do not own the property and have no say into what is done with it, however this forum is mainly about people commenting on developments for property they have no say in as well.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 4, 2015, 2:34 AM
Colin will no doubt comment that the farmers market-market is saturated and these will be hollow shells with no tenants (the developers have sold the units to themselves... Halifax has more empty buildings than China) ;) j/k

counterfactual
Feb 5, 2015, 12:50 AM
Colin will no doubt comment that the farmers market-market is saturated and these will be hollow shells with no tenants (the developers have sold the units to themselves... Halifax has more empty buildings than China) ;) j/k

In fact, its just a bunch of farmers renting their produce to other farmers, as they expand the market. :D

Empire
Feb 7, 2015, 5:59 PM
I wish we had more of an appreciation in Halifax for buildings like the Dennis Building. Winnipeg is very proud of their Exchange District and is something worthy of preservation. We should take note.


http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/Dennis%20Bldg_zps9jsczzws.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/Dennis%20Bldg_zps9jsczzws.jpg.html)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/morrismulvey/11617369196/

counterfactual
Feb 7, 2015, 7:30 PM
I wish we had more of an appreciation in Halifax for buildings like the Dennis Building. Winnipeg is very proud of their Exchange District and is something worthy of preservation. We should take note.


http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/Dennis%20Bldg_zps9jsczzws.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/Dennis%20Bldg_zps9jsczzws.jpg.html)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/morrismulvey/11617369196/

Although in fairness to Halifax, Winnipeg's downtown blows.

Though yes, they've been doing much better at investing in the downtown lately. They've figured it out.

someone123
Feb 7, 2015, 7:31 PM
I wish we had more of an appreciation in Halifax for buildings like the Dennis Building. Winnipeg is very proud of their Exchange District and is something worthy of preservation. We should take note.

Yeah, it's strange because Halifax has some of the nicest heritage buildings in Canada, but few people seem to realize it or place much value in it. You really notice it compared to cities like Winnipeg or Saint John NB where there seems to be a bit more civic identification with architectural heritage. Quebec City is another good example because people act like the heritage buildings and history there are on a completely different level but, really, it is like that because citizens and the government made it so during the postwar period. Back in the 1970's and earlier many of the prime heritage spots in Quebec looked like something that most HRM councillors and developers wouldn't think twice about tearing down today.

I've said it before but I blame past heritage lobbying efforts for this. They've been very bitter so they've turned some people off of the idea of anything "heritage"-related, and they've focused disproportionately on houses in residential areas and peripheral issues like views and height limits. The Dennis Building and Green Lantern Building have never really been front and centre in any sustained debate on heritage in the city, which is crazy. The Roy Building also went down without much discussion; a lot of people didn't even seem to realize that it was being demolished.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 7, 2015, 8:20 PM
Yeah, it's strange because Halifax has some of the nicest heritage buildings in Canada, but few people seem to realize it or place much value in it. You really notice it compared to cities like Winnipeg or Saint John NB where there seems to be a bit more civic identification with architectural heritage. Quebec City is another good example because people act like the heritage buildings and history there are on a completely different level but, really, it is like that because citizens and the government made it so during the postwar period. Back in the 1970's and earlier many of the prime heritage spots in Quebec looked like something that most HRM councillors and developers wouldn't think twice about tearing down today.

I've said it before but I blame past heritage lobbying efforts for this. They've been very bitter so they've turned some people off of the idea of anything "heritage"-related, and they've focused disproportionately on houses in residential areas and peripheral issues like views and height limits. The Dennis Building and Green Lantern Building have never really been front and centre in any sustained debate on heritage in the city, which is crazy. The Roy Building also went down without much discussion; a lot of people didn't even seem to realize that it was being demolished.

Amen to all of that.

There's a website aimed at saving the Dennis Building, but it has been pretty stale lately. Looks like no updates in at least 3 months. To the casual observer, it has the appearance of a half-hearted effort to make it look like something's being done when it really isn't.

http://www.dennisbuilding.ca/

Hali87
Feb 7, 2015, 8:41 PM
Although in fairness to Halifax, Winnipeg's downtown blows.

Literally: Main/Portage is the windiest intersection in Canada.

Winnipeg's downtown is also HUGE. There are some really great parts and some really bleak parts and some really boring parts. Many of the older commercial buildings/streetscapes are much more monumental than anything you'd really see in Halifax, but this also contributes to a rather dull street-life. On the other hand the architecture in the Exchange District didn't seem like anything special (except that it's old... but very plain) but it's a much more vibrant place to actually do stuff.

Drybrain
Feb 7, 2015, 9:06 PM
I've said it before but I blame past heritage lobbying efforts for this. They've been very bitter so they've turned some people off of the idea of anything "heritage"-related, and they've focused disproportionately on houses in residential areas and peripheral issues like views and height limits. The Dennis Building and Green Lantern Building have never really been front and centre in any sustained debate on heritage in the city, which is crazy. The Roy Building also went down without much discussion; a lot of people didn't even seem to realize that it was being demolished.


Last year I was driving past the Roy with a colleague, and it had a whole bunch of scaffolding over it as they prepped it for demolition. "Oh, that's great," she said. "They're fixing it up." I had to break the news that it was, in fact, entirely the opposite.

I concur about the notion that Haligonians are have a weaker identification with the city's architectural past. In Winnipeg, outrage ensues when pretty much anything gets knocked down. In Toronto, the Star just went on a week-long hand-wring about heritage because a fairly modest two-storey building at Yonge and Bloor was torn down before it went through a proper heritage appraisal. In Halifax, we knock down the Roy or the Dennis (if that happens), and it's a ho-hum, that's too bad but what're you gonna do? attitude.

I've become somewhat more optimistic on the Dennis. The plan as of last year was to knock it down over the winter, which clearly isn't happening, and the province and minister Kousoulis, I think, may have been to some degree convinced by some of the lobbying that went on around it. I'm still not sure of the plans for it, but it seems like there's now a greater willingness to consider alternatives to outright demolition. I hope I'm right.

As for the Green Lantern, I think most people have no idea it's endangered, and I think it's time for someone, either media or activists or a politician, to take it on as a cause. It's a pretty huge no-brainer from a heritage perspective. I think you could get a pretty major save-the-Green-Lantern movement going on with a lot of support. It's also absurd that Jeff Webber (the owner) went on record as stating that even if it takes a decade to knock it down, he'll wait it out, and likely keep the thing empty and decaying the whole time. I can't imagine media in another city not leaping all over a landlord who's basically just stated "I am committed to destroying a protected and valued building, and until the city lets me, I'm gonna leave it as a nasty blight." How much more villainous can you get?

Keith P.
Feb 7, 2015, 9:59 PM
Literally: Main/Portage is the windiest intersection in Canada.

Winnipeg's downtown is also HUGE. There are some really great parts and some really bleak parts and some really boring parts. Many of the older commercial buildings/streetscapes are much more monumental than anything you'd really see in Halifax, but this also contributes to a rather dull street-life. On the other hand the architecture in the Exchange District didn't seem like anything special (except that it's old... but very plain) but it's a much more vibrant place to actually do stuff.

I was actually impressed with the heritage architecture the last time I was in downtown Winnipeg (though not particularly so with the Exchange district, which I found feeling rather claustrophobic and bland). Many of the larger old buildings in Winnipeg reminded me of a smaller-scale Chicago. I have never had a similar impression of downtown Halifax. We never really had any impressive older buildings of the same scale. The Dennis is pretty nondescript, and most of what we have saved is fine, but not particularly impressive.

Wigglez
Feb 8, 2015, 12:04 AM
I concur about the notion that Haligonians are have a weaker identification with the city's architectural past. In Winnipeg, outrage ensues when pretty much anything gets knocked down. In Toronto, the Star just went on a week-long hand-wring about heritage because a fairly modest two-storey building at Yonge and Bloor was torn down before it went through a proper heritage appraisal. In Halifax, we knock down the Roy or the Dennis (if that happens), and it's a ho-hum, that's too bad but what're you gonna do? attitude.

Sadly developers still (often successfully) try to tear down heritage buildings every year. Most of these buildings are torn down for surface parking lots.

Seems like for every old building refurbished into new condo's a building beside this new development needs to be torn down to provide parking.

A couple of years ago a developer even successfully tore down a beautiful building beside old market square (a small area popular for concerts/festivals) and put up a parking structure.

Drybrain
Feb 8, 2015, 1:05 AM
Sadly developers still (often successfully) try to tear down heritage buildings every year. Most of these buildings are torn down for surface parking lots.

Seems like for every old building refurbished into new condo's a building beside this new development needs to be torn down to provide parking.

A couple of years ago a developer even successfully tore down a beautiful building beside old market square (a small area popular for concerts/festivals) and put up a parking structure.

Did you mean the Ryan Block/Bedford Parkade (http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/bedford-10200502H3390884.jpg)? If so, that's actually sort of illustrative of what I mean. In Winnipeg, this project (dismantling the facade of a historic building and reconstructing it around a parking structure (http://www.heritagewinnipeg.com/blog.html?item=42)) got the community up in arms. Here, it'd be considered a pretty spiffy example of preservation.

I follow Winnipeg quasi-closely and it feels like there has been a lot lost in recent decades, but the pace of demolition has slowed a lot. The city's reputation is probably (IMO) worse than the reality. It seems like there's a really strong pro-heritage sentiment that cuts across political and economic lines.

someone123
Feb 8, 2015, 1:44 AM
We never really had any impressive older buildings of the same scale. The Dennis is pretty nondescript, and most of what we have saved is fine, but not particularly impressive.

I don't really find the buildings in Halifax more or less impressive, just different because they are from a different era. It is similar to how appealing modern architecture is different from buildings constructed in the early 1900's. The construction technology and styles of the older buildings are distinct and interesting and a lot of people find them charming so they are worth preserving.

The exceptional stuff in Halifax is mostly from about 1800 and earlier. The monumental heritage buildings in Winnipeg are actually closer in age to modern buildings than they are to older Halifax structures like St. Paul's (1750) or the Town Clock (1802).

Even a building like Morse's Teas is from circa 1840. It would be the oldest building in most Canadian cities. Government House was started in 1799 and Province House was 1811. The stone Privateer's Warehouse building is from the 1700's too; there are a lot of buildings from that age in Halifax. Toronto's building stock from the 1810's and earlier is mostly log cabins. Canada has very few pre-Victorian buildings and a significant percentage of the nicest ones are in Halifax. I'm not sure anything rivals Province House in terms of age and quality.

fenwick16
Feb 8, 2015, 5:05 AM
Did you mean the Ryan Block/Bedford Parkade (http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/bedford-10200502H3390884.jpg)? If so, that's actually sort of illustrative of what I mean. In Winnipeg, this project (dismantling the facade of a historic building and reconstructing it around a parking structure (http://www.heritagewinnipeg.com/blog.html?item=42)) got the community up in arms. Here, it'd be considered a pretty spiffy example of preservation.
.
.
.

The link that you provided, which was written by Heritage Winnipeg, actually states that the Ryan Block was awarded a 'Preservation Award of Excellence" for commercial conservation in 2012. This was for saving two facades of a building severely damaged by fire.

In order for anyone to accept your point of view they must not read the link that you provided. I therefore consider it to be a straw man argument and consider it to be offensive. You should stop distorting the information in clearly written stories in an attempt to sway people to your point of view, which you stated as "Haligonians have a weaker identification with the city's architectural past" than do residents of other cities (based on previous posts you seem to include residents of almost all other cities).

I think that a direct analogy to the Ryan Block in Winnipeg would be the NFB building in Halifax on Barrington Street. It both cities of Halifax and Winnipeg, funds were made available to encourage developers to save the facades of fire damaged buildings. In Winnipeg the developers appear to have done a fair job of maintaining the heritage streetscape - https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.898284,-97.141012,3a,75y,239.21h,93.07t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1suLepyUgWkcVcVd0N_y2qBw!2e0. I hope that the NFB building will turn out as well or better.

I am being purposely repetitive in stating that your remarks are derogatory towards the city of Halifax and its residents, and are personally offensive to me even though I am an ex-resident.

Drybrain
Feb 8, 2015, 2:36 PM
I am being purposely repetitive in stating that your remarks are derogatory towards the city of Halifax and its residents, and are personally offensive to me even though I am an ex-resident.

Halifax and Haligonians have not done a sufficient job of maintaining the city's built heritage, and some Haligonians seem to have a strain of antipathy toward heritage, a tendency I've never noticed in another city. That's all I'm saying. My purpose is not to offend. I was just stating that to a Winnipeg former, an award-winning example of preservation as considered destruction, which says something (positive) about the value Winnipeggers place on their history.

Look: I cannot envision buildings like the Green Lantern or the Dennis or the BMO/Fireside block (a whole block!) being endangered in the other cities I've lived in over the past decade. Certainly I've not seen any demolitions on the scale of those, outside of fires. Certainly THREE all endangered at the same time is ludicrous. I'm not trying to insult the city, but there's a problem here.

fenwick16
Feb 8, 2015, 2:57 PM
Halifax and Haligonians have not done a sufficient job of maintaining the city's built heritage, and some Haligonians seem to have a strain of antipathy toward heritage, a tendency I've never noticed in another city. That's all I'm saying. My purpose is not to offend. I was just stating that to a Winnipeg former, an award-winning example of preservation as considered destruction, which says something (positive) about the value Winnipeggers place on their history.

Look: I cannot envision buildings like the Green Lantern or the Dennis or the BMO/Fireside block (a whole block!) being endangered in the other cities I've lived in over the past decade. Certainly I've not seen any demolitions on the scale of those, outside of fires. Certainly THREE all endangered at the same time is ludicrous. I'm not trying to insult the city, but there's a problem here.

You are posting information on a skyscraper/development forum and despite that fact you still get some support for your distortion of facts. I have no problem with other forumers who support heritage but who do so in a practical, factual manner. I am offended because of your attempt to manipulate facts.

If you were posting on a heritage website would you then conclude that the entire population of Halifax is fighting for heritage preservation?

Drybrain
Feb 8, 2015, 3:30 PM
You are posting information on a skyscraper/development forum and despite that fact you still get some support for your Tim_Bousquet-like distortion of facts. I have no problem with other forumers who support heritage but who do so in a practical, factual manner. I am offended because of your attempt to manipulate facts.

If you were posting on a heritage website would you then conclude that the entire population of Halifax is fighting for heritage preservation?

I'm not talking about what I'm seeing from people in this site (most of whom are supportive of preservation) but from what I see in the community. I'm personally involved in these issues. I think there's a lot of support for heritage in the city, but in the media and political sphere, the city's built heritage is under-valued as a civic resource. The tone of our discussion fixates on heritage as a problem or impediment to deal with, and that is very different from what I've observed elsewhere.

I think maybe you're misunderstanding what I'm saying and where I'm coming from, so let's cut this off now and move on.

Keith P.
Feb 8, 2015, 4:02 PM
Whatever anti-Heritage sentiment there may be in this city - and I suspect it is hardly a majority view - is likely due to the actions of the Heritage Trust and their supporters over the last couple of decades in opposing virtually every proposed project downtown on "heritage" grounds, even when it involved building something on empty lots. The absurdity of viewplanes and adjacency compatibility arguments that ended up making almost anything built downtown in the last 30 years be short, stubby, clad in red brick and (as in the case of the Neptune and Marriott Residence Inn) have hideous faux-Victorian detailing naturally started to generate some questions as to what we have bought into. Add to that the arguably biased HRMxD process that was perceived by many as an appeasement to the loudest heritage voices and it is not hard to see where such resentment comes from. Barrington has been an unattractive street for 30+ years because so many of its buildings are old, run-down and extremely unattractive. The city has done little to change that and has dithered on what role it wishes to play in keeping the status quo. A few thousand dollars in tax rebates or grants will not do much on a multi-million dollar project. It must own part of this issue.

Drybrain
Feb 8, 2015, 5:05 PM
Whatever anti-Heritage sentiment there may be in this city - and I suspect it is hardly a majority view - is likely due to the actions of the Heritage Trust and their supporters over the last couple of decades in opposing virtually every proposed project downtown on "heritage" grounds, even when it involved building something on empty lots.... It must own part of this issue.

Totally agree. Heritage groups nationwide tend to be more diverse in their membership and outreach. The HT, as we all know, is pretty astoundingly fuddy-duddy and cloistered in its membership.

Empire
Feb 8, 2015, 5:30 PM
I think there is a significant disconnect between what HRM residents expect in terms of heritage conservation and what is obtainable through the current mindset of city hall and the outdated and cumbersome policies that govern development and demolition. I would guess that for the most part residents would be shocked to learn any building in the city can be demolished. I would also guess that most residents would be shocked to learn that there is little being done to preserve what we have left of our heritage stock. Just look at the result of three historic buildings that recently underwent renovations and are now buildings that truly represent the historic flavour of Halifax. The Dominion Public Building, the J.W. Johnston building and the Art Gallery of NS. These are perfectly restored mainly because of government ownership. The clear observation is that it takes significant resources to achieve this type of restoration.

HRM can start investing in significant historic buildings by offering massive tax incentives for the preservation of registered buildings. Zero municipal property tax for a registered heritage building properly maintained is what I propose. Additionally, total demolition would be prohibited and facadism would only be permitted when all other avenues of restoration have been exhausted. HT is rarely proactive in preserving heritage as they are too occupied with shadows, wind, views and ensuring ugly buildings like the Prince George occupy prime building sites downtown.

Below is what is left of our commercial heritage stock pre 1960 over 5 storeys. The list is very small and we need to find a way to maintain what we have left.


Dennis Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3467.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/IMG_3467.jpg.html)
Empire

Dominion Public Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/DPB_zps4bcc6f48.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/DPB_zps4bcc6f48.jpg.html)
Empire

Bluenose Diner
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3463.jpg
Empire

Morse's Tea Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3478.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/IMG_3478.jpg.html)
Empire

J.W. Johnston Building left - St. Paul's Building right
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/Johnston_zpsdfzq6sk7.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/Johnston_zpsdfzq6sk7.jpg.html)
Google Maps

Bank of Nova Scotia
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/BofNS_zps3i9rozii.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/BofNS_zps3i9rozii.jpg.html)
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Wigglez
Feb 8, 2015, 5:56 PM
Did you mean the Ryan Block/Bedford Parkade (http://media.winnipegfreepress.com/images/bedford-10200502H3390884.jpg)? If so, that's actually sort of illustrative of what I mean. In Winnipeg, this project (dismantling the facade of a historic building and reconstructing it around a parking structure (http://www.heritagewinnipeg.com/blog.html?item=42)) got the community up in arms. Here, it'd be considered a pretty spiffy example of preservation.

I follow Winnipeg quasi-closely and it feels like there has been a lot lost in recent decades, but the pace of demolition has slowed a lot. The city's reputation is probably (IMO) worse than the reality. It seems like there's a really strong pro-heritage sentiment that cuts across political and economic lines.

Sorry, I didn't post my statement to disagree with you that we value history here. It was more of a statement that no matter how loud a community yells money always has more power.

That said, yes there have been fewer buildings torn down over the last few years, mostly because it has finally become economically viable to turn them into condo's instead of parking lots.

As for the Ryan Block, many people didn't consider tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding the facade to attach it to a parkade to be a proper use of a heritage building. Which does support your statement on how Winnipegers feel about heritage. My statement was just that a strong opinion often doesn't matter if someone can make a profit off its destruction :shrug:.

someone123
Feb 8, 2015, 7:36 PM
Look: I cannot envision buildings like the Green Lantern or the Dennis or the BMO/Fireside block (a whole block!) being endangered in the other cities I've lived in over the past decade. Certainly I've not seen any demolitions on the scale of those, outside of fires. Certainly THREE all endangered at the same time is ludicrous. I'm not trying to insult the city, but there's a problem here.

And then there's been talk of modifying the Royal Bank block, the block of Spring Garden Road east of Queen Street, the TD tower facadism (and previous demolition of the Kelly Building), the Discovery Centre building was going to be gutted, the Bank of Canada building was demolished, and on and on.

I think a part of the disconnect is that over the past 5 years or so the amount of development pressure downtown has increased enormously. The density of construction happening in Halifax right now reminds me of Vancouver or Toronto. Actually it might be significantly greater than downtown Vancouver at the moment. It takes a lot more organization and effort to preserve heritage buildings in this type of environment. Most heritage preservation in Canada has occurred in cities that have traditionally had relatively little postwar development pressure.

The problem with transit in Halifax is similar in that a good chunk of the population, the media, politicians, and bureaucrats at one point seem to have internalized the idea that Halifax is a low-growth or declining city with an uncertain future. The city's been growing every year and technology keeps changing but we are stuck with modest incremental changes to 1960's-era infrastructure.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 8, 2015, 7:42 PM
I think there is a significant disconnect between what HRM residents expect in terms of heritage conservation and what is obtainable through the current mindset of city hall and the outdated and cumbersome policies that govern development and demolition. I would guess that for the most part residents would be shocked to learn any building in the city can be demolished. I would also guess that most residents would be shocked to learn that there is little being done to preserve what we have left of our heritage stock. Just look at the result of three historic buildings that recently underwent renovations and are now buildings that truly represent the historic flavour of Halifax. The Dominion Public Building, the J.W. Johnston building and the Art Gallery of NS. These are perfectly restored mainly because of government ownership. The clear observation is that it takes significant resources to achieve this type of restoration.

HRM can start investing in significant historic buildings by offering massive tax incentives for the preservation of registered buildings. Zero municipal property tax for a registered heritage building properly maintained is what I propose. Additionally, total demolition would be prohibited and facadism would only be permitted when all other avenues of restoration have been exhausted. HT is rarely proactive in preserving heritage as they are too occupied with shadows, wind, views and ensuring ugly buildings like the Prince George occupy prime building sites downtown.

Below is what is left of our commercial heritage stock pre 1960 over 5 storeys. The list is very small and we need to find a way to maintain what we have left.


Dennis Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3467.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/IMG_3467.jpg.html)
Empire

Dominion Public Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/DPB_zps4bcc6f48.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/DPB_zps4bcc6f48.jpg.html)
Empire

Bluenose Diner
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3463.jpg
Empire

Morse's Tea Building
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/IMG_3478.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/IMG_3478.jpg.html)
Empire

J.W. Johnston Building left - St. Paul's Building right
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/Johnston_zpsdfzq6sk7.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/Johnston_zpsdfzq6sk7.jpg.html)
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Bank of Nova Scotia
http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q7/empire1_2007/BofNS_zps3i9rozii.jpg (http://s132.photobucket.com/user/empire1_2007/media/BofNS_zps3i9rozii.jpg.html)
Google Maps

Excellent post. Absolutely agree that the whole line of thinking needs to be overhauled and that significant incentives need to be offered to make preserving heritage buildings a stronger business case.

As a lifelong resident of "Halifax" (formally HRM), I've always noticed that "we" have had a hard time imagining that "we" can have the same things that larger cities can have. Restoring, modernizing, preserving, overhauling a heritage building is a huge job, one that I would offer is much more difficult and expensive than just building new from scratch. These kind of "impractical" projects have always been on the cusp of our awareness as happening in other places, whereas "we" feel that we just have to make due and survive, without the "extravagant" projects that other places with lots of money have.

This is a very real perception, I think, and although I believe it is changing I feel there will long be a percentage of our people who would think that any extra money built to just make an old property beautiful and useful again is a waste when it's cheaper to rip it down and build a "practical" modern box in its place. It is this attitude that I think still prevails in our city/province at a political level - there still seems to be an overwhelming lack of vision at these levels for some reason.

Just my 2¢ (errr... 5¢ if I want to be more current) on the matter, from somebody who has always lived here and still loves living here... but recognizes we can do much better than we have been.

someone123
Feb 8, 2015, 7:57 PM
As a lifelong resident of "Halifax" (formally HRM), I've always noticed that "we" have had a hard time imagining that "we" can have the same things that larger cities can have. Restoring, modernizing, preserving, overhauling a heritage building is a huge job, one that I would offer is much more difficult and expensive than just building new from scratch. These kind of "impractical" projects have always been on the cusp of our awareness as happening in other places, whereas "we" feel that we just have to make due and survive, without the "extravagant" projects that other places with lots of money have.

I think even "HRM" was related to this attitude. You don't hear it as much today but people used to go on and on about how Halifax is as much an assemblage of rural areas as it is an actual city like they have in other places. If you look at Statistics Canada's evaluation of the metro area however it's actually more densely populated and centralized than the North American norm.

I don't even live there anymore and this negative exceptionalism in Halifax still drives me crazy.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 8, 2015, 8:21 PM
I think even "HRM" was related to this attitude. You don't hear it as much today but people used to go on and on about how Halifax is as much an assemblage of rural areas as it is an actual city like they have in other places. If you look at Statistics Canada's evaluation of the metro area however it's actually more densely populated and centralized than the North American norm.

I don't even live there anymore and this negative exceptionalism in Halifax still drives me crazy.

Bang on. :tup:

As my screen name suggests, I grew up in Dartmouth when it was its own city, Bedford and Sackville were towns and Halifax was the "big city". Halifax county was "out in the country".

When HRM was formed, I personally felt a bit of disappointment as I had a lot of pride in "my" city. The county still seemed like another place entirely.

Years have passed, I've seen a good chunk of the world and have found that what I had perceived as a loss of identity for "my" city was actually not a loss, but a gain. No different than Scarborough still being Scarborough, Etobicoke still being Etobicoke, but all part of a larger "team" (sorry for all the quotation marks) that is Toronto. People I know who live there, tell strangers that they live in Toronto but tell friends they live in Etobicoke or York or whatever. Their communities still have an identity but they are clear that they are part of the "big city".

Halifax, I think, has yet to adopt this kind of thinking for the most part. It is changing, though, as other areas (the evil suburbs) become more densely populated. It's a slow evolution, though.

Drybrain
Feb 8, 2015, 9:21 PM
As a lifelong resident of "Halifax" (formally HRM), I've always noticed that "we" have had a hard time imagining that "we" can have the same things that larger cities can have. Restoring, modernizing, preserving, overhauling a heritage building is a huge job, one that I would offer is much more difficult and expensive than just building new from scratch. These kind of "impractical" projects have always been on the cusp of our awareness as happening in other places, whereas "we" feel that we just have to make due and survive, without the "extravagant" projects that other places with lots of money have.


This is my perception too, for sure. Even on this forum, when I've posted examples of heritage restorations in Toronto or Calgary or Montreal or wherever, or cited situations in those cities where developers have taken extra care to incorporate historic buildings into new developments, I get the "Developers can't afford to do that here" response. Ol' downtrodden Halifax has to make do with what it can get. Excellence is out of reach in this old burg, etc. This is all nonsense, of course--the fact that we have developers willing to take on projects like the NFB Lofts or the Dillon restoration should prove that. But there's no end to the excuses made for half-assed city building. Despite the huge amount of development activity now, the tone of media coverage, for sure, is often very "Mr. Developer is so good to wade through our red tape and invest in out third-rate city. Let's not make life hard for him."

The good news is that I feel like I moved here as this attitude was shifting, and there's some genuinely exciting stuff going on, from big-scale (Cogswell) to individual developments (1592 Barrington). This is part of the reason why I'm bullish on the city, despite all these challenges.


No different than Scarborough still being Scarborough, Etobicoke still being Etobicoke, but all part of a larger "team" (sorry for all the quotation marks) that is Toronto. People I know who live there, tell strangers that they live in Toronto but tell friends they live in Etobicoke or York or whatever. Their communities still have an identity but they are clear that they are part of the "big city".

Halifax, I think, has yet to adopt this kind of thinking for the most part. It is changing, though, as other areas (the evil suburbs) become more densely populated. It's a slow evolution, though.


That's true, but of course, Toronto just emerged from a nightmare mayoralty in which urban/suburban divisions and mutual loathing defined everything about the city's civic discussions, from transit to poverty to development. TO needs a few more decades as well, probably, to really think of the whole thing as "Toronto."

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 8, 2015, 9:44 PM
The good news is that I feel like I moved here as this attitude was shifting, and there's some genuinely exciting stuff going on, from big-scale (Cogswell) to individual developments (1592 Barrington). This is part of the reason why I'm bullish on the city, despite all these challenges.

I agree that it is shifting, and at least partially through individuals like yourself who have seen better ways in other places, yet have a clear idea of what it means to be "Halifax". Personally from reading your posts I think you have an excellent vision for how we could make Halifax the best Halifax it can be, which isn't to try to be Toronto or Vancouver.

I've stated this before and still hold tight to the idea that we need to strive to to embrace ideas from other places, but apply them to our own unique city to improve things while maintaining our own strong identity. Hopefully we will get there.

And, I don't think you should feel as though you are offending anybody with your posts. As I see it, you're calling it like you see it. That's a tough job sometimes, but it needs to be done. :2cents:

Keith P.
Feb 8, 2015, 11:17 PM
This is my perception too, for sure. Even on this forum, when I've posted examples of heritage restorations in Toronto or Calgary or Montreal or wherever, or cited situations in those cities where developers have taken extra care to incorporate historic buildings into new developments, I get the "Developers can't afford to do that here" response. Ol' downtrodden Halifax has to make do with what it can get. Excellence is out of reach in this old burg, etc. This is all nonsense, of course--the fact that we have developers willing to take on projects like the NFB Lofts or the Dillon restoration should prove that. But there's no end to the excuses made for half-assed city building. Despite the huge amount of development activity now, the tone of media coverage, for sure, is often very "Mr. Developer is so good to wade through our red tape and invest in out third-rate city. Let's not make life hard for him."


You're combining a couple of different issues here, but I disagree with you on both. In terms of the affordability of refurbs - it is a lot more affordable to do that in an environment like Toronto or wherever, where a unit that might sell here for $400K brings 2 or 3 times that in that market.

Your comment about the development climate and how tough HRM is on developers may reflect something that is similar to other cities but does not change the fact that HRM does not make it easy for developers to do business, and has a labyrinth of obstacles, to the point where injunctions have been issued because of the broken relationship between staff and the people taking the risk and spending the money.

Drybrain
Feb 9, 2015, 12:04 AM
You're combining a couple of different issues here, but I disagree with you on both. In terms of the affordability of refurbs - it is a lot more affordable to do that in an environment like Toronto or wherever, where a unit that might sell here for $400K brings 2 or 3 times that in that market.

Your comment about the development climate and how tough HRM is on developers may reflect something that is similar to other cities but does not change the fact that HRM does not make it easy for developers to do business, and has a labyrinth of obstacles, to the point where injunctions have been issued because of the broken relationship between staff and the people taking the risk and spending the money.

I'm no expert so I can't do the arithmetic on cost vs. return-on-investment, but I do think that there are enough examples of careful and impressive heritage restoration locally that we can't just lob around the "it doesn't work in this market" argument. We already have fairly pricey real estate in the inner city. Plus if ambitious restoration and renovation is happening in places like Winnipeg and Hamilton, then the argument that the market is insufficient to support it doesn't feel right.

There's also the corollary--that in a market like TO, the potential benefit of building as high as you're allowed creates an impossible to resist incentive for developers to bulldoze things left and right--but they're not doing that.

You're right of course that the city could and should make life easier for developers, especially those who abide by the rules. Certainly I'm not making an argument against big bad developers. I'm actually one of the few people I know who defends Starfish as a company that's invested a ton of money in our downtown with no guarantee of a return on it. (Though I don't think it's healthy for one company to own so much of a major street like Barrington, or Westwood does on Spring Garden, but that's another issue.)

counterfactual
Feb 9, 2015, 12:13 AM
Excellent post. Absolutely agree that the whole line of thinking needs to be overhauled and that significant incentives need to be offered to make preserving heritage buildings a stronger business case.

As a lifelong resident of "Halifax" (formally HRM), I've always noticed that "we" have had a hard time imagining that "we" can have the same things that larger cities can have. Restoring, modernizing, preserving, overhauling a heritage building is a huge job, one that I would offer is much more difficult and expensive than just building new from scratch. These kind of "impractical" projects have always been on the cusp of our awareness as happening in other places, whereas "we" feel that we just have to make due and survive, without the "extravagant" projects that other places with lots of money have.

This is a very real perception, I think, and although I believe it is changing I feel there will long be a percentage of our people who would think that any extra money built to just make an old property beautiful and useful again is a waste when it's cheaper to rip it down and build a "practical" modern box in its place. It is this attitude that I think still prevails in our city/province at a political level - there still seems to be an overwhelming lack of vision at these levels for some reason.

Just my 2¢ (errr... 5¢ if I want to be more current) on the matter, from somebody who has always lived here and still loves living here... but recognizes we can do much better than we have been.

:yes::yes:

counterfactual
Feb 9, 2015, 12:18 AM
This is my perception too, for sure. Even on this forum, when I've posted examples of heritage restorations in Toronto or Calgary or Montreal or wherever, or cited situations in those cities where developers have taken extra care to incorporate historic buildings into new developments, I get the "Developers can't afford to do that here" response. Ol' downtrodden Halifax has to make do with what it can get. Excellence is out of reach in this old burg, etc. This is all nonsense, of course--the fact that we have developers willing to take on projects like the NFB Lofts or the Dillon restoration should prove that. But there's no end to the excuses made for half-assed city building. Despite the huge amount of development activity now, the tone of media coverage, for sure, is often very "Mr. Developer is so good to wade through our red tape and invest in out third-rate city. Let's not make life hard for him."

The good news is that I feel like I moved here as this attitude was shifting, and there's some genuinely exciting stuff going on, from big-scale (Cogswell) to individual developments (1592 Barrington). This is part of the reason why I'm bullish on the city, despite all these challenges.

I agree -- I also think the new library should suggests a change in thinking. Rather than settle for sub-par or small thinking, we really now have a world class library. Or at the very least, national class library with world class elements. I seriously cannot think of another comparable public space in Canada; not even the Toronto Public Library's main branch comes close. We have something that no other cities, even the biggest, in Canada have. And it adds so much as a meeting place for people downtown, a nice place to go, both in winter and even better in summer. I seriously still have trouble getting over how great the new library is.

fenwick16
Feb 9, 2015, 2:35 AM
This is my perception too, for sure. Even on this forum, when I've posted examples of heritage restorations in Toronto or Calgary or Montreal or wherever, or cited situations in those cities where developers have taken extra care to incorporate historic buildings into new developments, I get the "Developers can't afford to do that here" response. Ol' downtrodden Halifax has to make do with what it can get. Excellence is out of reach in this old burg, etc. This is all nonsense, of course--the fact that we have developers willing to take on projects like the NFB Lofts or the Dillon restoration should prove that. But there's no end to the excuses made for half-assed city building. Despite the huge amount of development activity now, the tone of media coverage, for sure, is often very "Mr. Developer is so good to wade through our red tape and invest in out third-rate city. Let's not make life hard for him."


You want to dig up examples of heritage preservation in other cities instead of using examples from Halifax. Often, the examples you use from other cities are examples of facadism described in glowing terms in order to condemn better examples in Halifax.

Here are a couple examples that you ignore when you hype the heritage preservation of Toronto:

Toronto cut itself off from its waterfront with the Gardener Expressway, which is an incredible eyesore cutting through the city. Why do you ignore the vibrant waterfront of Halifax that has taken decades to plan and develop? Here is a link that praises the Halifax waterfront (and it is from Hamilton, Ontario) - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/vision-for-hamilton-s-waterfront-more-halifax-than-toronto-1.1325792

A Halifax developer (Ben McCrea) who took old derelict waterfront warehouses (Historic Properties) in the 1970's and did an actual heritage preservation (no facadism here, as in your numerous examples): http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1123652-halifax-developer-mccrea-dies-at-73. I also like the Founders Square complex in spite of your condemnation.

There were also mistakes that were made in Halifax such as the layout of Scotia Square and the Cogswell exchange. However, lessons have been learned from such mistakes in Halifax and elsewhere. Why aren't you hyping the plans to tear down the Cogswell Interchange and restore the street grid?

The Dennis building hasn't been torn down yet. However, it isn't desirable space in its current configuration. So what is a practical way to save it? I am quite certain that in Toronto, Hamilton, or any other city that you want to mention, the best that would be done is save the exterior and rebuild it on the inside. If it is a private development in those other cities, then it would probably also include redeveloping the vacant land that surrounds it (my opinion is based on living in those cities).

I make no apologies for liking modern buildings. You mentioned the BMO block and its endangered heritage buildings but I think you meant the Royal Bank block and 22nd Commerce Square. Halifax doesn't have to live in the past and if heritage buildings can be incorporated into impressive modern buildings then that might actually be the desire of the majority as opposed to ignorance of heritage preservation. In addition to reusing and saving portions of the heritage buildings on that block the nondescript Royal Bank tower will be replaced with a more impressive building. Just as the Waterside redevelopment has improved the appearance of that block of the city, the 22nd Commerce Square may improve the appearance of the Royal Bank tower block.

The Barrington Street facade of the Roy Building is being rebuilt with new materials. Using the original brick might be better but on the positive side, this development will bring many residents to Barrington Street that will help to revitalize the street.

Drybrain
Feb 9, 2015, 3:10 AM
Here are a couple examples that you ignore when you hype the heritage preservation of Toronto:

[INDENT]Toronto cut itself off from its waterfront with the Gardener Expressway, which is an incredible eyesore cutting through the city. Why do you ignore the vibrant waterfront of Halifax that has taken decades to plan and develop? Here is a link that praises the Halifax waterfront (and it is from Hamilton, Ontario) - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/vision-for-hamilton-s-waterfront-more-halifax-than-toronto-1.1325792

A Halifax developer (Ben McCrea) who took old derelict waterfront warehouses (Historic Properties) in the 1970's and did an actual heritage preservation.



Those are both decades old examples, but yeah, the Historic Properties was a fantastic project. That's what strikes me: Halifax was once a leader in adaptive re-use.



The Dennis building hasn't been torn down yet. However, it isn't desirable space in its current configuration. So what is a practical way to save it? I am quite certain that in Toronto, Hamilton, or any other city that you want to mention, the best that would be done is save the exterior and rebuild it on the inside. If it is a private development in those other cities, then it would probably also include redeveloping the vacant land that surrounds it (my opinion is based on living in those cities).



I agree, but no such commitment had been made with regards to the Dennis.



You mentioned the BMO block and its endangered heritage buildings but I think you meant the Royal Bank block and 22nd Commerce Square. Halifax doesn't have to live in the past and if heritage buildings can be incorporated into impressive modern buildings then that might actually be the desire of the majority as opposed to ignorance of heritage preservation.



No, I mean the BMO block and neighbouring buildings on SGR, which Westwood Developments owns and has a long-standing plan to knock down for a boutique hotel project.

Anyway, I'm not "hyping" Toronto or anywhere else. The fact is, I believe that the conversation around heritage in Halifax isn't as complex as it should be and the city, despite all its heritage resources, isn't a leader in imaginative heritage conservation and re-use. It once was (Historic Properties, etc) but today it's a bit of a laggard. I think we can do better.

fenwick16
Feb 9, 2015, 4:28 AM
Those are both decades old examples, but yeah, the Historic Properties was a fantastic project. That's what strikes me: Halifax was once a leader in adaptive re-use.
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Anyway, I'm not "hyping" Toronto or anywhere else. The fact is, I believe that the conversation around heritage in Halifax isn't as complex as it should be and the city, despite all its heritage resources, isn't a leader in imaginative heritage conservation and re-use. It once was (Historic Properties, etc) but today it's a bit of a laggard. I think we can do better.

A few recent examples that I forgot:
Nova Scotia Power Inc. headquarters http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/property-report/halifax-power-stations-old-bones-get-new-heart/article16524699/. Here is the skyscraperpage thread link - http://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=153811. I challenge you to provide a better example of a heritage rebuild in any other city in Canada.

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market - http://greensource.construction.com/green_building_projects/2012/1207-halifax-seaport-farmers-market.asp and http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g154976-d2706875-Reviews-Halifax_Seaport_Farmer_s_Market-Halifax_Halifax_Regional_Municipality_Nova_Scotia.html

Cunard Centre - http://www.rcr.ca/catering/venues/cunard-centre/

Keith Hall and Brewery - http://historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11003. This is a heritage reuse from the 1980's (Brewery Market Atrium) and also recently (Keith Hall renovation, which is an actual heritage preservation versus facadism).

Morse's Tea building renovation - not only was the exterior kept, most of the original interior structure was retained and refurbished (therefore not an example of facadism)

Ziobrop
Feb 9, 2015, 5:53 PM
A few things.

1.The HTNS was quite active in the 1970's advocating for preservation and coming up with alternative plans. they also produced many publications documenting Halifax's built heritage. Sadly, the names are all the same, and they are all 35 years older, and are cranky old obstructionist nimbys now.

2. Sometimes facadism is ok. the Dennis Building has 2 nice sides., the other 2 were previously obstructed, and the interior is circa 1970's cheap. the facde is what needs to be preserved in this case.

3. Barrington e space are 3 buildings which are still intact. the Dillon will incorporate a heritage building, intact. both successful re-use projects.

Shameless Plug:
several years ago, the Canadian Center of Architecture put on an exhibit of 60's development in Montreal. On builtHalifax.ca, Im writing a series of posts basically applying that concept to Halifax. the main page to that is here (http://halifaxbloggers.ca/builthalifax/2013/06/the-60s-halifax-thinks-big/)

Its a work in progress, But there is a Post on Harbour Drive (http://halifaxbloggers.ca/builthalifax/2015/01/harbour-drive/), and the First of three on Scotia Square. (http://halifaxbloggers.ca/builthalifax/2015/01/scotia-square-lands-cleared-now-what/)

Drybrain
Feb 9, 2015, 6:17 PM
3. Barrington e space are 3 buildings which are still intact. the Dillon will incorporate a heritage building, intact. both successful re-use projects.


Dillon and especially Espace especially are two examples of projects that have involved very careful restoration of heritage structures. And in the case of Espace, only a small addition on top. Yet Starfish clearly still think they'll be able to turn a profit on it, which should allay some of the arguments that "we can't afford" such projects in Halifax.

The Green Lantern, as a larger building to begin with, would seem to have that much more potential for profit. I can easily see the bottom floors becoming reasonably pricey retail, with lofts or heritage office conversions on the upper floors. Webber's whining is totally unconvincing, as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure he's had difficulty with the city, and I empathise, but it doesn't justify tearing it down.

(And, I've been enjoying those Built Halifax posts. Really informative.)

Dmajackson
Feb 20, 2015, 2:10 PM
A report has been released regarding the proposed Barrington South Heritage District (Old South Suburb Report). It is an interesting read and for the most part I agree with the proposed protection levels. Interestingly the report does mention a dislike of the Hollis&South proposal. They state that the building is out of scale with the neighbourhood.

Old South Suburb Background Report (http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/hac/documents/HACItem71150225web.pdf)

Drybrain
Feb 20, 2015, 3:31 PM
Related to heritage, the province has released a tender for hazardous-materials abatement and "interior, non-structural deconstruction" of the Dennis Building. Basically, they're gonna gut the whole thing but leave the exterior shell intact--for now. I don't know if this is the first phase of a fuller demolition (I assume they'd have to remove all the asbestos, etc., anyway before taking it down), but it stops short of destroying the structure, and paves the way for...

A: Leaving the shell intact and building a new interior, or

B: Careful dismantling and preserving of the facade.

Hoping option A is where things are heading.

someone123
Feb 20, 2015, 4:22 PM
The site which shall remain nameless had an article on this. Apparently they are committed to at least preserving the facade and they acknowledge that it's an important part of the city's heritage. Better than nothing.

Hopefully we'll soon see some more plans relating to this. It could be a really great project for the city if done well. If the Dennis Building were well-preserved and the surface parking on the George Street lot and Province House grounds were dealt with it would be a huge improvement.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 20, 2015, 11:54 PM
The site which shall remain nameless had an article on this. Apparently they are committed to at least preserving the facade and they acknowledge that it's an important part of the city's heritage. Better than nothing.

Hopefully we'll soon see some more plans relating to this. It could be a really great project for the city if done well. If the Dennis Building were well-preserved and the surface parking on the George Street lot and Province House grounds were dealt with it would be a huge improvement.

It would be nice to see a tower built in and around it, but not leaving a fake facade, i.e. building in the lots around, but not above.

Waterside doesn't look good in that regard. I hate the dormers.

counterfactual
Feb 21, 2015, 6:23 AM
The site which shall remain nameless had an article on this. Apparently they are committed to at least preserving the facade and they acknowledge that it's an important part of the city's heritage. Better than nothing.

Hopefully we'll soon see some more plans relating to this. It could be a really great project for the city if done well. If the Dennis Building were well-preserved and the surface parking on the George Street lot and Province House grounds were dealt with it would be a huge improvement.

I just don't know why a cash strapped government doesn't see the win-win for the government and the city, of spending a bit of time to create an RFP that requires some heritage elements of the Dennis be preserved, inviting proposals from interested buyers.

You preserve the building, you get a major cash injection from the sale, and property tax in perpetuity, as the value of the property increases.

Just get it done.

Keith P.
Feb 21, 2015, 3:10 PM
I just don't know why a cash strapped government doesn't see the win-win for the government and the city, of spending a bit of time to create an RFP that requires some heritage elements of the Dennis be preserved, inviting proposals from interested buyers.

You preserve the building, you get a major cash injection from the sale, and property tax in perpetuity, as the value of the property increases.

Just get it done.

Because the existing building, even preserved, may not be suitable for what the needs of today are. Govt wants to get cars off the grounds of Province House. That likely means several levels of parking underground on this site. You cannot practically do that with the old structure overhead. The floor heights in the Dennis are low and likely undesirable. The capacity of the structure is likely undersized for what the intended uses will be. I could go on and on. I would much rather have govt spend money on building something that meets its needs FIRST, then try to accommodate whatever heritage elements are deemed necessary, than the other way around.

Drybrain
Feb 21, 2015, 10:00 PM
Because the existing building, even preserved, may not be suitable for what the needs of today are. Govt wants to get cars off the grounds of Province House. That likely means several levels of parking underground on this site. You cannot practically do that with the old structure overhead. The floor heights in the Dennis are low and likely undesirable. The capacity of the structure is likely undersized for what the intended uses will be. I could go on and on. I would much rather have govt spend money on building something that meets its needs FIRST, then try to accommodate whatever heritage elements are deemed necessary, than the other way around.

Enough with the "ceilings are too low" stuff. They average about 10 feet, once any drop ceilings are removed. They're fine. There are existing historic commercial buildings in this city with lower ceilings. There are recent example of restorations in other cities with upper-storey ceilings at right feet (Lister Block, Hamilton). The ceilings are not a problem.

It's a seven-storey office building. It's not like some oddball, single-purpose structure whose use has been eliminated, like a velodrome or something. It's an office building. Fix it.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 22, 2015, 5:02 AM
It NEEDS to be preserved. Maybe if the HT hadn't cried wolf so many times about parking lots, this would be saved.

Getting cars off Province House grounds is a poor reason for this structure to be demolished.

fenwick16
Feb 22, 2015, 3:04 PM
Related to heritage, the province has released a tender for hazardous-materials abatement and "interior, non-structural deconstruction" of the Dennis Building. Basically, they're gonna gut the whole thing but leave the exterior shell intact--for now. I don't know if this is the first phase of a fuller demolition (I assume they'd have to remove all the asbestos, etc., anyway before taking it down), but it stops short of destroying the structure, and paves the way for...

A: Leaving the shell intact and building a new interior, or

B: Careful dismantling and preserving of the facade.

Hoping option A is where things are heading.

You gave a good description of the tender, but if anyone would like more details here is a link to the tender documents - http://www.novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/tender-details.aspx?id=60148215.

Here is a list of the work required (from the tender):

1 Removal and disposal of all plaster.
2 Removal of all thermal insulation and gaskets.
3 Removal of all floor tiles and other identified flooring materials.
4 Removal of all other identified ACM.
5 Removal of Lead waste.
6 Removal of Mercury waste.
7 Inspection of ballasts for PCBs.
8 Disposal of PCB containing ballasts.
9 Removal and disposal of all other interior effects and non-load bearing building components.

Hopefully this is a positive step forward in saving the important heritage aspects of the building.

Keith P.
Feb 22, 2015, 3:13 PM
Enough with the "ceilings are too low" stuff. They average about 10 feet, once any drop ceilings are removed. They're fine. There are existing historic commercial buildings in this city with lower ceilings. There are recent example of restorations in other cities with upper-storey ceilings at right feet (Lister Block, Hamilton). The ceilings are not a problem.

It's a seven-storey office building. It's not like some oddball, single-purpose structure whose use has been eliminated, like a velodrome or something. It's an office building. Fix it.

The point remains, the province needs to address its office space needs with the best building they can get. The heritage components can be incorporated, but must play a secondary role to the primary requirement. As a near-bankrupt, we cannot afford to build another Disney-fied project like Historic Properties that satisfies nothing except a desire to re-create the past.

ILoveHalifax
Feb 22, 2015, 5:48 PM
There should not be any parking component to this building. The city councillors want to encourage transit, bikes and skate boards for transportation for the general population and therefore should submit to the same.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 22, 2015, 8:50 PM
There should not be any parking component to this building. The city councillors want to encourage transit, bikes and skate boards for transportation for the general population and therefore should submit to the same.

Exactly what I was thinking... or pay for parking like everybody else.

They don't even meet that frequently!

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 22, 2015, 9:01 PM
The point remains, the province needs to address its office space needs with the best building they can get. The heritage components can be incorporated, but must play a secondary role to the primary requirement. As a near-bankrupt, we cannot afford to build another Disney-fied project like Historic Properties that satisfies nothing except a desire to re-create the past.

That is a somewhat fair point, but wasn't historic properties done by a private developer? I'm sure it has value above and beyond its tangible value in terms of spinoffs... isn't that what the point of heritage is? I think that's why western cities fight hard to preserve the little scraps they have... otherwise they are just generic cities that most likely wouldn't exist if it wasn't for oil.

I'm sure this is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the province... and the great thing about governments is that their revenue stream is guaranteed.

As I said, this would be great to have a tower around it in the same height as the TD tower... I'm sure there is a stupid viewplane (ironic, a view possibly leading to the destruction of heritage because its not viable).

http://www.torontotransforms.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iHeritageTallBuildingweb.jpg

I think a requirement for something like this, around the same height as the TD tower would be perfect.

Empire
Feb 22, 2015, 9:54 PM
The Dennis building would make a great Boutique Hotel. Leave as whole and completely refurbish.

Then build a two tower development on the vacant site, one office and one residential to the max height of course.

someone123
Feb 22, 2015, 10:05 PM
The Dennis building would make a great Boutique Hotel. Leave as whole and completely refurbish.

Then build a two tower development on the vacant site, one office and one residential to the max height of course.

I think this is the sort of case where the city's restrictive height limits, partly fought for by the Heritage Trust and co., tend to hurt heritage buildings. If developers got substantial height bonuses in exchange for heritage preservation, preservation would become a money-maker and developers would stop making up excuses for why heritage buildings must be torn down.

Ziobrop
Feb 23, 2015, 1:20 AM
I think this is the sort of case where the city's restrictive height limits, partly fought for by the Heritage Trust and co., tend to hurt heritage buildings. If developers got substantial height bonuses in exchange for heritage preservation, preservation would become a money-maker and developers would stop making up excuses for why heritage buildings must be torn down.

I don't have the reference handy, but the citadel view planes predate the HTNS.
The city decided they were important years before they were active, any before anything remotely tall was built.

The view planes can also be complied with and still allow height. The Nova Center does.

Fwiw the minister told me that he's commited to preserving the facade. He feels the building is important to the area, but the interior is 60's dated. The interior gut should be a good first step in preserving the building.

someone123
Feb 23, 2015, 2:50 AM
I don't have the reference handy, but the citadel view planes predate the HTNS.
The city decided they were important years before they were active, any before anything remotely tall was built.

I'm not so sure about this. They may predate the dates given now, but if you look on the HRM website the view plane materials are normally dated 1974 (see LUB (https://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/DowntownHalifax_LUB.pdf)). I think the ramparts bylaw is 1978, and supposedly there are some buildings that predate it and violate it. A few taller buildings like the first of the Scotia Square towers, Royal Bank, Fenwick, and Park Vic are from the 1960's and early 70's. The height limits were a reaction to the trend toward highrise construction that had already started.

The HT was founded in 1959 but the more relevant point is that some of the same people who talk about heritage preservation (and stopping development) today were politically active in the 1970's and advocated for these height limits.

As an aside, I don't necessarily think that height bonuses should be tied to particular sites. Developers should be encourage to invest in heritage preservation anywhere, and they should be allowed to use those credits on appropriate sites. A mechanism like that could be used to greatly increase the market value of the Dennis Building; the province could sell it to a developer who would be willing to buy it in exchange for density elsewhere.

Fwiw the minister told me that he's commited to preserving the facade. He feels the building is important to the area, but the interior is 60's dated. The interior gut should be a good first step in preserving the building.

I read this too and it's a positive change from some of the earlier stories. I think this could be a really good development for the area if it's well-executed. A preserved Dennis Building facade with a nice new building on the rest of the lot with underground parking would be a huge improvement.

Drybrain
Feb 23, 2015, 3:11 AM
You gave a good description of the tender, but if anyone would like more details here is a link to the tender documents - http://www.novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/tender-details.aspx?id=60148215.

Here is a list of the work required (from the tender):

1 Removal and disposal of all plaster.
2 Removal of all thermal insulation and gaskets.
3 Removal of all floor tiles and other identified flooring materials.
4 Removal of all other identified ACM.
5 Removal of Lead waste.
6 Removal of Mercury waste.
7 Inspection of ballasts for PCBs.
8 Disposal of PCB containing ballasts.
9 Removal and disposal of all other interior effects and non-load bearing building components.

Hopefully this is a positive step forward in saving the important heritage aspects of the building.

Apparently Pacey wants to save the plaster (he posted this on the HT's Dennis Facebook page.) It's like, really Phil, the plaster? The group is so disconnected from the reality of what's actually important on these issues.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 23, 2015, 5:11 AM
Apparently Pacey wants to save the plaster (he posted this on the HT's Dennis Facebook page.) It's like, really Phil, the plaster? The group is so disconnected from the reality of what's actually important on these issues.

He should keep it and the aesbestos, lead, and mercury at his house. :cheers:

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 23, 2015, 5:12 AM
The HT was founded in 1959 but the more relevant point is that some of the same people who talk about heritage preservation (and stopping development) today were politically active in the 1970's and advocated for these height limits.



Good news, clock is ticking. :wiseman:

Keith P.
Feb 23, 2015, 3:23 PM
Apparently Pacey wants to save the plaster (he posted this on the HT's Dennis Facebook page.) It's like, really Phil, the plaster? The group is so disconnected from the reality of what's actually important on these issues.

Having been inside the Dennis Building I think the only original plaster might be in the entry on the ground floor and is hardly anything remarkable. The other interior spaces I have seen all have low-bid drywall or 1950s cheap plywood paneling on the walls and typical drop ceilings. Absolutely no architectural detail anywhere. Maybe there is some behind all that stuff, I don't know, but I doubt Pacey knows either.

ILoveHalifax
Feb 23, 2015, 6:22 PM
Pack up all the asbestos and deliver it to the Pacey household

Drybrain
Feb 23, 2015, 6:47 PM
Having been inside the Dennis Building I think the only original plaster might be in the entry on the ground floor and is hardly anything remarkable. The other interior spaces I have seen all have low-bid drywall or 1950s cheap plywood paneling on the walls and typical drop ceilings. Absolutely no architectural detail anywhere. Maybe there is some behind all that stuff, I don't know, but I doubt Pacey knows either.

I'd go to bat to preserve the stuff if there was any, but I doubt it. Even if there is anything it's probably just the odd cornice or molding, not a proper interior. In any case, it would be very cool to have the massing of the old structure fully preserved with a state-of-the-art interior.

ILoveHalifax
Feb 23, 2015, 9:05 PM
If Phil Pacey wants stuff from the Dennis building he should be charged for it and given a specific time to get it removed from the property. Why would the people of Nova Scotia pay to remove it and deliver it to him?

Drybrain
Feb 24, 2015, 12:56 AM
If Phil Pacey wants stuff from the Dennis building he should be charged for it and given a specific time to get it removed from the property. Why would the people of Nova Scotia pay to remove it and deliver it to him?

He doesn't want it for himself. He wants it preserved inside the building during restoration. (whatever it might be--in all likelihood there's little or nothing worth salvaging in the interior).

hokus83
Feb 24, 2015, 1:10 AM
Can't wait to laugh at Phil Pacey and the HT fighting against development of the surrounding parking lot. Save the Plaster, that building must be preserved mostly with the pre existing Plaster, Nooooooo you can't build anything around the Dennis building.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 24, 2015, 1:40 AM
This is the biggest problem with these folks... they'll fight tooth and nail to not allow a development on the empty lot, and risk the loss of the building itself. Its just plain stupid.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 24, 2015, 1:50 AM
This example is even better than the Toronto one:

http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2013/06/14/1226663/891903-new-melbourne-tower.jpg

counterfactual
Feb 24, 2015, 2:55 AM
I'm not so sure about this. They may predate the dates given now, but if you look on the HRM website the view plane materials are normally dated 1974 (see LUB (https://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/DowntownHalifax_LUB.pdf)). I think the ramparts bylaw is 1978, and supposedly there are some buildings that predate it and violate it. A few taller buildings like the first of the Scotia Square towers, Royal Bank, Fenwick, and Park Vic are from the 1960's and early 70's. The height limits were a reaction to the trend toward highrise construction that had already started.

The HT was founded in 1959 but the more relevant point is that some of the same people who talk about heritage preservation (and stopping development) today were politically active in the 1970's and advocated for these height limits.

As an aside, I don't necessarily think that height bonuses should be tied to particular sites. Developers should be encourage to invest in heritage preservation anywhere, and they should be allowed to use those credits on appropriate sites. A mechanism like that could be used to greatly increase the market value of the Dennis Building; the province could sell it to a developer who would be willing to buy it in exchange for density elsewhere.



I read this too and it's a positive change from some of the earlier stories. I think this could be a really good development for the area if it's well-executed. A preserved Dennis Building facade with a nice new building on the rest of the lot with underground parking would be a huge improvement.

This is excellent, and wholly accurate.

And the usual suspects we hear from today, were part of the planning battles back then. Some of it was good -- like stopping the Cogswell/Harbourfront highway-- but the other parts of their legacy, I think, has been negative and detrimental to the city, view planes and development uncertainty.

That's what a lot of these battles today are about. It's about aging former activists, who are now wealthy property owners, battling to preserve their legacy, largely crytallized in the 1960s and 70's.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 24, 2015, 7:31 PM
Good news, clock is ticking. :wiseman:

It is for all of us, my friend. One certainty about life is that nobody gets out alive... :yes:

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 24, 2015, 7:36 PM
Fwiw the minister told me that he's commited to preserving the facade. He feels the building is important to the area, but the interior is 60's dated. The interior gut should be a good first step in preserving the building.

That in itself is good news. As far as the interior goes, it sounds like the damage had already been done 40 - 50 years ago, but at least the exterior should be salvageable.

FWIW, if they do find any decorative elements from the original era during the gutting, I hope they save them and find some way to incorporate some of it into the final product.

I'm just happy to hear that there may be some hope in saving what's left of the building, that's much better than what we were hearing just 6 months ago. :tup:

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 25, 2015, 3:33 AM
It is for all of us, my friend. One certainty about life is that nobody gets out alive... :yes:

True. I'm just hoping the legacy of obstructionism doesn't live on.

Halifax has been held back for too long... sure, there were some good decisions, like not to build a highway through the downtown, but its not the 1970s anymore and its time to move on.

Height / density could be the new legacy, which will create an even more vibrant and walkable city as opposed to the generic, sprawl mess that Halifax has become outside of its core.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 25, 2015, 1:25 PM
True. I'm just hoping the legacy of obstructionism doesn't live on.

Halifax has been held back for too long... sure, there were some good decisions, like not to build a highway through the downtown, but its not the 1970s anymore and its time to move on.

Height / density could be the new legacy, which will create an even more vibrant and walkable city as opposed to the generic, sprawl mess that Halifax has become outside of its core.

I agree mostly, but the question is, unless some younger members step up to the plate with more reasonable ideas of integrating heritage structures with modern buildings where will we be?

If the HT just fizzles out due to attrition who will be there to provide balance?

The question to ask is why are the younger citizens leaving heritage structure preservation to the same people who have been doing it since the sixties? Is it that they just don't care about our history?

I really don't have a good answer to this, but I hear lots of complaints about the HT but nobody stepping up to do a better job than they are....

Keith P.
Feb 25, 2015, 5:53 PM
True. I'm just hoping the legacy of obstructionism doesn't live on.

Halifax has been held back for too long... sure, there were some good decisions, like not to build a highway through the downtown, but its not the 1970s anymore and its time to move on.

Height / density could be the new legacy, which will create an even more vibrant and walkable city as opposed to the generic, sprawl mess that Halifax has become outside of its core.

The problem is, that decision was made after they built a container pier at the end of the downtown, meaning we have been condemnned to 40 years of tractor-trailers crashing through downtown.

We would have been better off with the highway than the Disney-fied faux-historic waterfront we have now.

halifaxboyns
Feb 25, 2015, 6:24 PM
The problem is, that decision was made after they built a container pier at the end of the downtown, meaning we have been condemnned to 40 years of tractor-trailers crashing through downtown.

We would have been better off with the highway than the Disney-fied faux-historic waterfront we have now.

I don't think that's the case - but the solution won't be cheap. The solution in my mind is to build the 3rd harbour connection (as a tunnel) with a connection onward through the arm (tunnel). I know that's not exactly a smart thing to do from a planning perspective, but my rationale (to me) seems to make sense.

You only build these tunnels if we put into them a 3rd tunnel with the purpose of transit (think the Seattle transit tunnel) so that buses and eventually an LRT can use it but separately. The other thing is that the main traffic tunnels have a dedicated lane for the big trucks for goods movement and you negotiate with the port to build direct exits onto and off of their property into the tunnel providing better access. This takes the trucks out of downtown, prepares the City for future transit needs by ensuring at least one connection off the peninsula to Dartmouth and you build a transit tunnel to the mainland.

This way - the new communities you end up building along the new road that eventually links up with North West Arm drive can have access to BRT/LRT and thus be planned out with much higher densities than typical suburban communities. This is also an opportunity to have a conversation with CN to see if they would be interested in putting some skin in the game to get their own train tunnel as well, so that they can have a direct link back to the rail cut via the harbour. It might allow for them to shut down the line running through DT Dartmouth at around Shannon Park (so that all the industrial is still serviced) and then just route the car traffic from the autoport via this new harbour crossing and out the rail cut. If they aren't willing to put $ into it - then perhaps a land swap so that HRM can take over the land that is the railyards in DT Dartmouth and sell the land to be redeveloped.

Drybrain
Feb 25, 2015, 8:56 PM
The problem is, that decision was made after they built a container pier at the end of the downtown, meaning we have been condemnned to 40 years of tractor-trailers crashing through downtown.

We would have been better off with the highway than the Disney-fied faux-historic waterfront we have now.

Seriously? Our waterfront is imperfect (the retail mix in Historic Properties in particular isn't living up to its potential, and the way the site is managed IS pretty Disneyfied) but that's a pretty extreme blanket condemnation. People--locals and visitors alike--love the waterfront, and I'd go as far as to say it's one of the most successful outdoor urban public attractions in the country. And it keeps getting better. A strip of asphalt hugging the harbour would be...less good, to say the very least.

worldlyhaligonian
Feb 25, 2015, 11:47 PM
I agree mostly, but the question is, unless some younger members step up to the plate with more reasonable ideas of integrating heritage structures with modern buildings where will we be?

If the HT just fizzles out due to attrition who will be there to provide balance?

The question to ask is why are the younger citizens leaving heritage structure preservation to the same people who have been doing it since the sixties? Is it that they just don't care about our history?

I really don't have a good answer to this, but I hear lots of complaints about the HT but nobody stepping up to do a better job than they are....

I think they have actually (Fusion-types), and the HT groups just completely shut down the concept. Look at alot of the restorations done by young people in the north end.

Does the HT provide balance or is it just a bunch of BANANAs. I'd go with the latter.

scooby074
Feb 26, 2015, 12:14 AM
Seriously? Our waterfront is imperfect (the retail mix in Historic Properties in particular isn't living up to its potential, and the way the site is managed IS pretty Disneyfied) but that's a pretty extreme blanket condemnation. People--locals and visitors alike--love the waterfront, and I'd go as far as to say it's one of the most successful outdoor urban public attractions in the country. And it keeps getting better. A strip of asphalt hugging the harbour would be...less good, to say the very least.

I have to agree with this assessment. Hard to argue the success of Historic Properties and the Boardwalk. Arguably one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

Drybrain
Feb 26, 2015, 12:59 AM
I think they have actually (Fusion-types), and the HT groups just completely shut down the concept. Look at alot of the restorations done by young people in the north end.

Does the HT provide balance or is it just a bunch of BANANAs. I'd go with the latter.

I'd go with the latter too.

I think young people investing in the city centre tend to value heritage quite a bit (as you point out, the old house restorations, etc.) I actually know that some of the people in Fusion are quite pro heritage. (I went to a meeting about the Dennis Building with one of them.)

I feel like the HTNS brand, such as it is, is a bit poisoned and no one wants to get involved with them because of the negative associations. If they disappeared entirely, something new would step into the void.

Keith P.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:21 AM
I have to agree with this assessment. Hard to argue the success of Historic Properties and the Boardwalk. Arguably one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

The only success at Historic Properties has been the Lower Deck pub. Everything else has been a revolving door of openings and closings. Even the food court there turned sour. As for the Boardwalk, that is the Disneyfied part I was referring to. And it is massively supported by govt funding thru the WDC. It could be so much better than what it is. Harbour Drive could have been built and something else could go on infill at the waters edge. We only think what we have is good because we can't imagine anything else.

fenwick16
Feb 26, 2015, 6:28 AM
The only success at Historic Properties has been the Lower Deck pub. Everything else has been a revolving door of openings and closings. Even the food court there turned sour. As for the Boardwalk, that is the Disneyfied part I was referring to. And it is massively supported by govt funding thru the WDC. It could be so much better than what it is. Harbour Drive could have been built and something else could go on infill at the waters edge. We only think what we have is good because we can't imagine anything else.

I think Halifax has a great Harbour Waterfront and it seems to be appreciated by locals and tourists as shown by the opinions on Tripadvisor - http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g154976-d6749512-Reviews-Halifax_Waterfront_Boardwalk-Halifax_Halifax_Regional_Municipality_Nova_Scotia.html

I think that if the Harbour Drive was built as a freeway it would have been just as bad as the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. I think the real mistake was in also eliminating the planned Northwest Arm Drive and bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Arm_Drive), which would have provided a direct route for trucks and cars to the 102 highway without requiring them to go through the downtown area. This could have been built without the Harbour Drive/Cogswell Interchange and would have saved interesting heritage buildings such as the Pentagon building - http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=143037&page=7

scooby074
Feb 26, 2015, 12:55 PM
I agree with Fenwick 100%.

Without Historic Properties (yes they've had some vacancy issues) and the Boardwalk, there'd be no Casino, no Marriot Casino Hotel, no Murphys (including the Harbour Hopper), no Gahan House, no Bluenose good or bad, no Saltys, no Lower Deck, no Bishops Landing, with its restaurants etc. etc.

Maybe you forget how gritty the waterfront was? The days of loading frozen fish are long gone. Todays Boardwalk and Historic Properties is the new cash cow. Id argue that more money, motel stays and jobs are created by HP and the Boardwalk than the Citadel and Metro Centre combined.

Keith P.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:25 PM
If you think what is on the waterfront now is the best we could do, you haven't seen many other places with far better shoreline spaces. The Casino, hotel, restos, etc would not only still be there but likely would be better. And if you claim that Murphy's is in any way an asset then I must question your judgement. That place has always epitomized everything that is wrong with how we treat tourists.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 26, 2015, 2:40 PM
I think they have actually (Fusion-types), and the HT groups just completely shut down the concept. Look at alot of the restorations done by young people in the north end.

Does the HT provide balance or is it just a bunch of BANANAs. I'd go with the latter.

I wasn't aware of the Fusion group, so I just looked them up. I could see how they possibly could include heritage structures in their mandates, but there wasn't anything on their website to allude to any kind of focus on that issue. However, their website wasn't all that comprehensive so it's quite possible that a lot more is going on behind the scenes. It is very encouraging, however, that they are taking a serious interest in their community and are stepping up to deal with issues important to them.

In an ideal world, the HT would provide balance, however at least in recent years it appears they have just dug a hole for themselves and unfortunately nobody seems to take them seriously anymore. I am curious on why they are considered the authority on heritage structures, given the above.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't believe anybody voted them to be the authority, they just positioned themselves as such - so what would keep a more focused, level-headed group from moving in and providing the balance and guidance needed to successfully preserve heritage structures while integrating them with modern buildings? Why wait for attrition to create a gap? Just curious as I'm admittedly not an expert on politics/planning protocol/etc.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 26, 2015, 2:53 PM
If you think what is on the waterfront now is the best we could do, you haven't seen many other places with far better shoreline spaces. The Casino, hotel, restos, etc would not only still be there but likely would be better. And if you claim that Murphy's is in any way an asset then I must question your judgement. That place has always epitomized everything that is wrong with how we treat tourists.

I agree with Scooby and Fenwick in that the waterfront is not all that bad, and is enjoyed by many. I am old enough to have childhood memories of when the waterfront was more industrial, and though I have a certain fondness for that kind of busy, working waterfront, it would not have been an attractive place for tourists to enjoy what our city has to offer.

However, I also agree with you in that it could be a lot better than it is now, and if you consider some of the potential projects that look to be coming up, it will be a lot better. As everything, it is in a state of evolution and we are not witnessing the finished product currently.

I don't think that Harbour drive would have allowed for a very good waterfront experience, though, even with the infill you are suggesting. I think the Northwest Arm crossing that Fenwick suggested would have been the best solution to get traffic out of the downtown, rather than create a situation for more automotive traffic in an area that is perhaps best suited to transit and pedestrian traffic. :2cents:

Drybrain
Feb 26, 2015, 3:24 PM
If you think what is on the waterfront now is the best we could do, you haven't seen many other places with far better shoreline spaces. The Casino, hotel, restos, etc would not only still be there but likely would be better. And if you claim that Murphy's is in any way an asset then I must question your judgement. That place has always epitomized everything that is wrong with how we treat tourists.

There are definitely too many overpriced, lame restaurants like Murphy's et. al. (I don't think the Lower Deck is much to write home about either--great building, terrible pub. There's not even a single local beer available in there besides Keith's and Olands). But bad dining and tourist trap junk is normal for areas like this. It's starting to get a bit different, as the retail mix in Historic Properties has turned around (a little) in the past few years, and some of the boardwalk shacks are actually bringing some decent food options to the area.

It gets better and better as you head south too, toward Bishop's Landing and the Seaport Market. Great public art, views, and some decent food and retail options.

I still enjoy the waterfront, and I've never brought a visitor there and seen them come away disappointed. Obviously it can be improved, but it is already very successful.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 26, 2015, 3:40 PM
There are definitely too many overpriced, lame restaurants like Murphy's et. al. (I don't think the Lower Deck is much to write home about either--great building, terrible pub. There's not even a single local beer available in there besides Keith's and Olands). But bad dining and tourist trap junk is normal for areas like this. It's starting to get a bit different, as the retail mix in Historic Properties has turned around (a little) in the past few years, and some of the boardwalk shacks are actually bringing some decent food options to the area.

It gets better and better as you head south too, toward Bishop's Landing and the Seaport Market. Great public art, views, and some decent food and retail options.

I still enjoy the waterfront, and I've never brought a visitor there and seen them come away disappointed. Obviously it can be improved, but it is already very successful.

Agree, and amen to the LD poor beer choices. It actually was a much better pub 20 years ago (or maybe I had lower standards 20 years ago... lol) but I digress.

I think Historic Properties hasn't seen its potential yet. With increasing residential downtown bringing with it the potential for more and regular pedestrian traffic, I think there will be many more opportunities for restaurants/retail to remain viable out of tourist season in that complex.

However, first the city has to do something about the "crosswalk of death" at the Morses' Tea building in order to allow people to actually get there. ;)

Drybrain
Feb 26, 2015, 3:45 PM
However, first the city has to do something about the "crosswalk of death" at the Morses' Tea building in order to allow people to actually get there. ;)

What an embarrassment. I used to cross there every day on the way to work. It just screams "Screw you, pedestrians."

But of course, if we had never razed a whole neighbourhood's worth of buildings and streets in order to build that atrocity called the Cogswell Interchange, we'd have a normal street crossing there, the Historic Properties and the Granville Mall wouldn't be orphaned at the north edge of downtown, and the whole area would probably be a whole lot healthier.

The quick fix will be to put in a proper walk signal there. The real fix will be the Cogswell redevelopment.

OldDartmouthMark
Feb 26, 2015, 3:50 PM
What an embarrassment. I used to cross there every day on the way to work. It just screams "Screw you, pedestrians."

But of course, if we had never razed a whole neighbourhood's worth of buildings and streets in order to build that atrocity called the Cogswell Interchange, we'd have a normal street crossing there, the Historic Properties and the Granville Mall wouldn't be orphaned at the north edge of downtown, and the whole area would probably be a whole lot healthier.

The quick fix will be to put in a proper walk signal there. The real fix will be the Cogswell redevelopment.

Yes, that's right! And, the Cogswell redevelopment will likely help the situation at Historic Properties as well.