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  #81  
Old Posted May 29, 2018, 7:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro Bodine View Post
I had been a resident of Waterford Suites for more than 12 years on the 8th floor looking over the new Flynn Flats being constructed. I put a deposit for the Alexander so waiting for the construction to be completed. I absolutely hated living under such a large crane (and the construction noise didn't help) so moved out a couple of months ago, put my stuff into storage and doing some travelling.

I'm not one of those that's against new construction or large buildings going up in cities. As a matter of fact, I love architecture and larger cities and have travelled extensively to experience those things around the world. Having said this, they never should have allowed the Flynn building to be built in that particular lot, so close to the Waterford. They should have allowed some upscale townhouses or something similar to reflect what was standing there prior to the tear down. I don't think this building will work very well for the area, wrong building for wrong lot. There are too many lots or spaces that could have been developed before this particular location, which would have made more sense.

I love Halifax and have enjoyed living here for 35 years but I believe the city has to be very careful how they develop the waterfront area. Spacing is extremely important for such an area and I believe that they are beginning to let certain developments go up that could be a negative for what I consider to be one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the world. The Queens development is another example, I believe that will change the waterfront for worse, not for better. Just my humble opinion.
I'm keeping an open mind about Queen's Marquee . . . we'll find out soon enough. I agree about this Hollis St development being too snug in relation to the Waterford Suites. A bit of a shame. Living in the Hydrostone Market area now in a building kinda similar to the Waterford.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2018, 3:26 PM
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  #83  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 4:13 PM
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  #84  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2018, 4:29 PM
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  #85  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2018, 3:47 AM
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I thought this was an interesting view. It makes sense given the height, the relatively short buildings around, and the elevation, but I didn't think of Flynn Flats popping up like this:


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The Cunard Block will make a big difference to this view too.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2018, 4:35 PM
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I hope we see more smaller infill projects like this. It makes the street so much more interesting.
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  #87  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2018, 1:12 PM
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I hope we see more smaller infill projects like this. It makes the street so much more interesting.
I hope so too, but this wasn't exactly an infill project--they tore town a Georgian-era building for it.

I really hope the old south suburb HCD covering this district gets approved ASAP. They Schmidtville HCD just came into effect, which is great, but it's not like there's a bunch of development pressure there. This should be the priority. This little stretch of Hollis and Barrington, and the cross-streets, still contains a really interesting mix of architectural eras rare in the country. I think that needs protection so that infill really is infill, not tear-downs and re-builds.
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  #88  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2018, 6:35 PM
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I hope so too, but this wasn't exactly an infill project--they tore town a Georgian-era building for it.
Another unfortunate side-effect of this type of development is that there are a bunch of historic rental buildings that are forever in a minimum maintenance holding pattern because their owners hope to one day cash in by redeveloping them.

The building across the street, 1360 Hollis, still looks like this. It's clad in beige vinyl siding and surrounded by 200 year old sandstone buildings and national historic sites.

It's great that the city is growing and experiencing development pressure but the municipality is doing a mediocre job of channeling this pressure into the right locations while protecting the character that makes the city interesting in the first place. I think Halifax has mostly just been "lucky" so far that there have been so many empty lots to redevelop. A lot of the remaining empty lots now are effectively land banks held by government and major institutions or companies (the province, Dalhousie, NSP, WDC, etc.). A bad but very possible scenario is that these will continue to languish as empty lots while developers start cannibalizing the nice adjacent built-out neighbourhoods because that is the only way to satisfy demand for downtown housing.
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  #89  
Old Posted Jul 26, 2018, 3:26 PM
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  #90  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2018, 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
I hope so too, but this wasn't exactly an infill project--they tore town a Georgian-era building for it.

I really hope the old south suburb HCD covering this district gets approved ASAP. They Schmidtville HCD just came into effect, which is great, but it's not like there's a bunch of development pressure there. This should be the priority. This little stretch of Hollis and Barrington, and the cross-streets, still contains a really interesting mix of architectural eras rare in the country. I think that needs protection so that infill really is infill, not tear-downs and re-builds.
I very much agree with your points, and someone123's above. If this building had happened in any of the empty lots that still exist I'd have been very pleased with it. But it's hard to be enthusiastic given the circumstances.

Having just returned from Ottawa and Montreal, and having visited Saint John in the spring, it has become very apparent to me that Halifax either doesn't value their historic structures as much as those cities, or just does not have the political will or ability to create better rules to ensure that the deferred maintenance/neglect situation doesn't continue to occur.

It's really disappointing, and actually embarrassing to some extent.
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  #91  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2018, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I very much agree with your points, and someone123's above. If this building had happened in any of the empty lots that still exist I'd have been very pleased with it. But it's hard to be enthusiastic given the circumstances.

Having just returned from Ottawa and Montreal, and having visited Saint John in the spring, it has become very apparent to me that Halifax either doesn't value their historic structures as much as those cities, or just does not have the political will or ability to create better rules to ensure that the deferred maintenance/neglect situation doesn't continue to occur.

It's really disappointing, and actually embarrassing to some extent.
I think it's embarrassing too. Most visitors probably don't how poorly we perform on this issue--I was definitely surprised after I started paying attention to issues in the city before moving here; I thought it'd be exactly the opposite, given the city's historic reputation. It's very perplexing.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 12:54 AM
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I think it's embarrassing too. Most visitors probably don't how poorly we perform on this issue--I was definitely surprised after I started paying attention to issues in the city before moving here; I thought it'd be exactly the opposite, given the city's historic reputation. It's very perplexing.
Halifax's level of heritage preservation reminds me of Vancouver or maybe Calgary. The main differences are that Halifax is an unusually historic place so the stuff torn down is more historically significant and the impact on national historic sites and the like is worse. There's also less of an improvement in the new architecture compared to other cities that have grown by leaps and bounds. Maybe it makes sense to forge ahead and tear lots of stuff down in Calgary because it has grown so much and was relatively young to begin with. I think this is a terrible strategy in Halifax where the history and character is a huge part of what makes the city interesting. Halifax is one of the worst cities I know in terms of good buildings getting torn down for mediocre new development, or ruined by ill-conceived renovations. It's one thing if you're going to tear down generic 2 storey brick commercial buildings from 1920 for a signature office tower. It's another if you're defacing a row of brick Victorians so you can add 8 apartments onto the back.

The good and bad news I guess is that there's a lot left that is in poor shape. It could be torn down but it could also be restored. Halifax could have a lot of amazing-looking historic neighbourhoods with a relatively small amount of well-targeted investment (equal to a small fraction of the money that goes into building new stuff every year in the city).

Example almost-great streetscape:


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Most Canadian cities have 0 buildings like Government House, Keith Hall, Black-Binney, or even Benjamin Wier.
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Last edited by someone123; Jul 28, 2018 at 1:12 AM.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 12:24 PM
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Don't wring your hands too much. We have this discussion here periodically and I always need to point out that we are not tearing down the equivalent of Penn Station here. What we have are mostly unremarkable wood-framed two-storey boxes frm the late 1800s that were never particularly great when new and with the passage of time have become slummy and stripped of most of whatever they originally had in the way of architectural detail. It is also worth pointing out that groups like the Heritage Trust spent most of their political capitol and goodwill fighting to preserve empty lots or utterly unworthy things like the old "dry canteen" on the Wanderers Grounds and various parking/empty lots, so they have lost any credibility they may have had.

Halifax never looked like Old Town Quebec so let's stop fretting.
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  #94  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 5:00 PM
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Halifax never looked like Old Town Quebec so let's stop fretting.
There's a big misconception embedded in this argument.

Old Quebec wasn't merely preserved in its present state, it was actively enhanced and restored. Halifax had many blocks that could have been given the same treatment and there are still areas today that could be. The 1950's-60's pre-renovation pictures of Old Quebec look a lot like Granville Street did back then. In some cases the Quebec examples were farther gone.

A 1970's shot of Place Royale in Quebec City:



Restoration work:



There's an article about the area here: http://www.ameriquefrancaise.org/en/...of_a_City.html
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  #95  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 5:04 PM
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Cogswell demolition buildings that could have been integrated into a historic district similar to old Quebec (from here):





Look how there was even a nice masonry building next to Morse's Teas that was torn down at some point then replaced decades later with a duller imitation historic facade:



Halifax even had and still has cobblestone streets. You can see an example in Granville Mall or around historic properties and there is another surviving example inside Scotia Square which was Buckingham Street before the redevelopment. Many other streets still have cobblestones that today are buried under asphalt, just like in those 1970's Quebec City photos.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 5:12 PM
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Sometimes in Halifax the right decision is made and good restoration work gets done. Usually with lots of complaining about cost, and usually at the 11th hour when the options are a huge overhaul or demolition.





The Power Cottage story: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-...tion-1.4542238
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  #97  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 5:49 PM
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The Power Cottage is an unfortunate example to use as it was wildly, ridiculously, extravagantly expensive project with absolutely no limits to what tax dollars were spent. A lovely but unused building that still has not found any real purpose except to shw how HRM likes to throw around money. We cannot preserve things without regard to cost.

The examples you cite that were victims of the urban renewal of the 1960s are typical of what occurred in many large cities at the time and were unfortunate losses in some cases. But it is not germane to what we are discussing, which is what is happening now.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 5:57 PM
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The examples you cite that were victims of the urban renewal of the 1960s are typical of what occurred in many large cities at the time and were unfortunate losses in some cases. But it is not germane to what we are discussing, which is what is happening now.
The same disregard for heritage keeps happening in Halifax.

Here's a shot of Argyle Street:



Look at the state of the buildings. The one on the left used to be a 3 storey facade but it burned down and never got rebuilt. The Nova Centre one looks like it's in the usual holding pattern of neglect before redevelopment happens. You can see another brick building in the background that got a 4th floor addition only a couple of years ago. It is now covered in an ugly stucco-like material or cladding. On the right there's another brick building with granite lintels that show how old it is but it still has an ugly brown 1970's mansard roof. Next to that is another building with sandstone work reminiscent of the courthouse on Spring Garden Road, so probably from around 1850. It's in OK shape but it still has the stucco treatment and an ugly cornice, and it's not a registered heritage building so it could easily disappear. All of this stuff could be torn down tomorrow simply because it may no longer maximize the profits of speculative property buyers like Dongdu. That is no way to run a city.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 8:43 PM
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The same disregard for heritage keeps happening in Halifax.

Here's a shot of Argyle Street:



Look at the state of the buildings. The one on the left used to be a 3 storey facade but it burned down and never got rebuilt. The Nova Centre one looks like it's in the usual holding pattern of neglect before redevelopment happens. You can see another brick building in the background that got a 4th floor addition only a couple of years ago. It is now covered in an ugly stucco-like material or cladding. On the right there's another brick building with granite lintels that show how old it is but it still has an ugly brown 1970's mansard roof. Next to that is another building with sandstone work reminiscent of the courthouse on Spring Garden Road, so probably from around 1850. It's in OK shape but it still has the stucco treatment and an ugly cornice, and it's not a registered heritage building so it could easily disappear. All of this stuff could be torn down tomorrow simply because it may no longer maximize the profits of speculative property buyers like Dongdu. That is no way to run a city.
The question is do you want a heritage preservation district, i.e. a building museum, with limited tenant/owner uses and strict restrictions on what can be changed/renovated? If so that would require massive injections of public funds to private owners or public ownership outright. Or would you prefer what you see in the photograph, which is a pretty vibrant area with some buildings renovated for best use and others awaiting the same? Museums are seldom vibrant.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2018, 9:30 PM
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The question is do you want a heritage preservation district, i.e. a building museum, with limited tenant/owner uses and strict restrictions on what can be changed/renovated? If so that would require massive injections of public funds to private owners or public ownership outright. Or would you prefer what you see in the photograph, which is a pretty vibrant area with some buildings renovated for best use and others awaiting the same? Museums are seldom vibrant.
I have not seen this trade-off in other cities. Lots of European cities are vibrant and have much stronger heritage preservation laws than Halifax. In fact I would say that preservation of fine-grained buildings often goes hand-in-hand with vibrancy.

It's also important to point out that most of the heritage buildings in downtown Halifax have already been demolished. We are only debating whether to protect the 40% or so that is left. A couple blocks down from this there are multiple highrise development sites.
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