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  #41  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 7:03 PM
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From this weeks Coast. Also some positive comments posted on the article. http://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/...-height-limits

Proposed YMCA/CBC development will break HRM By Design height limits
Wealthy Martello condo owners will be most affected
POSTED BY TIM BOUSQUET ON MON, MAY 3, 2010 AT 1:30 PM

The proposed rebuilding of the YMCA and CBC buildings along South Park and Sackville Streets will require Halifax council to amend height limits included in the HRM By Design planning guidelines for downtown. That amendment would be the first break in the planning policies adopted in 2008.
The YMCA and CBC are jointly preparing a development application to rebuild their respective properties---the iconic Art Deco CBC radio building at the corner of Sackville and South Park Streets, and the 60-year-old YMCA building just to the south, facing South Park.

The HRM By Design rules adopted older height limits for properties facing Citadel Hill. In the case of the CBC building, that limit is 23 metres, with no opportunities for the “bonus” heights that can be awarded to other downtown property owners in exchange for the developers including a variety of “public goods,” like additional parking or affordable housing.

The HRM By Design height limits on the YMCA property is 39 metres, with a “bonus” increase to 49 metres possible. In real terms, that’s likely 10 storeys, with an increase to 13 stories.

On Friday, YMCA president Bette Watson-Borg declined to give specifics about the YMCA’s proposal, saying she wanted a complete “unveiling” of the plans to come at a public open house the organization is holding Wednesday and Thursday (7-9pm, both nights). Watson-Borg says the architectural drawings, by Halifax architect Michael Napier, will include several options for the public to consider.

But, speaking with city staff familiar with the YMCA’s general plans, I’ve learned that the Y intends to ask for the full 49 metres allowed for the present YMCA property under the HRM By Design rules, and also to extend that height all the way to Sackville Street, covering what is now the CBC building---that is, to more than double the HRM By Design height limit of 23 metres for that property.

While exact details of the plan are not yet available, I’m told that it will include some sort of nod to the present CBC building’s façade---either to preserve the existing façade, or to build a new façade reminiscent of it. Also, because of shadow concerns with regard to the Public Gardens across the street, the South Park side of the new building will require “ziggurat”-type street frontage---above the street level, each additional .6 metres of height will have to be set back .9 metres. (The Park Lane building along Spring Garden Road has a similar frontage.)

There’s no doubt that a new YMCA is needed. The existing Y is “aging, not green, not accessible and doesn’t meet the programmatic needs our citizens are looking for,” says Watson-Borg.

And the joint development with the CBC is inspired, as it benefits both organizations. Watson-Borg says the YMCA will not be able to raise enough money through fund-raising alone to pay for the size facility it needs. By bringing in the CBC property, and selling the height bonus to a developer, it can raise the difference. The new building would then house the YMCA facilities, street-level retail, office space and residential housing.

The ceeb, for its part, is presently looking to bring together its formerly separate radio and television divisions under one roof. That means closing its Sackville Street radio operations. One possibility is to build an addition to the Bell Road TV building---the sale of the Radio building might raise enough money to pay for the expansion of the Bell Road building into its parking lot, but that's as yet uncertain.

Another possibility is for the ceeb to lease enough office space to bring radio and TV operations together. Andrew Cochran, CBC’s director for the Maritimes, tells me the CBC is committed to maintaining a downtown presence, and that might mean leasing space in the new Y development.

But no firm decisions have been made one way or another, says Cochran.

The YMCA has discussed the Citadel-facing height issues with Heritage Trust, and the Y’s web site maintains that a “computer model shows that we will not have a negative impact on the view from Citadel Hill or surrounding areas.” That’s probably right, because the new building will back upon the existing Martello condo project, which is 11 storeys built atop the eight-storey Park Lane complex---a new 13 story won't impinge any views from Citadel Hill when there's an 19-storey bind it. (Heritage Trust has not returned a phone call for comment.)

But it’s exactly those Martello residents who will likely be most vociferous opponents of the YMCA plans. The Martello is one of Halifax’s most pricey residences and, if the Y proposal moves forward, owners of the west side Martello units will have their views of the Public Gardens obstructed by the new building.

A recently proposed five-storey addition to the City Centre Atlantic building across Dresden Row from the Martello was opposed by residents of the neighbouring Heritage Way condo project, dozens of whom appeared at a council meeting last month to speak against the development. Despite the objections, Halifax council approved the project.
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  #42  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 8:22 PM
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The media in Halifax are pretty horrible.

The Herald headline is "Proposed project too high". For the Coast it's "Proposed YMCA/CBC development will break HRM By Design height limits".

...and we wonder why the debate starts out with a bunch of people who are focused on height to the exclusion of all else. The height of the CBC condo tower is not even close to being the most important thing about this proposal.
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  #43  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 9:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
The media in Halifax are pretty horrible.

The Herald headline is "Proposed project too high". For the Coast it's "Proposed YMCA/CBC development will break HRM By Design height limits".

...and we wonder why the debate starts out with a bunch of people who are focused on height to the exclusion of all else. The height of the CBC condo tower is not even close to being the most important thing about this proposal.
I agree wholeheartedly. The media reports on new developments in Halifax should have a title that is at least neutral in tone, then they can describe the project's pros and cons.

Height is only one aspect of any new development and I think that the other aspects of a proposal should be given value as well.
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  #44  
Old Posted May 6, 2010, 10:18 PM
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Not that it'll help, but you could always try a letter to the editor.
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  #45  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 12:10 AM
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I love the view from the 3rd picture. The buildings fit in well with the Paramount and Martello. An exterior color change to the CBC building certainly would help a bit.
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  #46  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 2:42 AM
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According to the allnovascotia.com, Councillor Sloane is supporting this project. That is good to see, hopefully it will help to push this proposal forward. Councillor Sloane feels that this is for the common good in keeping the YMCA on the peninsula.

I think that there is a lot of agreement on this point. I hope that it will go ahead in the near future since it will mean more people living close to downtown Halifax and it will result in new YMCA facilities.
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  #47  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 3:28 AM
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It really only improves the area...
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  #48  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 4:04 AM
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To me this is a perfect site for some height. There is nothing around it, but open space and other tall buildings and, if what they say is true, the Gardens won't be left in the shade and we'll be adding much needed density to the Peninsula. Seems like a no brainer.

On the design, I'm not such a fan of the way the Y building angles in at street level (angle on the tower is great), but it looks like from the Herald picture that may have changed. Hopefully on the CBC portion where the Y is going they'll use some see through glass. Since there is no retail there, if the glass is opaque, it'll be pretty dull whereas if you can look into the gym, pool, basketball court or something as you walk by, that would liven things up. It would also be more fun to run on the exercise machines if you had a view out to the street!

I'm not sure about the way the atrium juts out randomly with different materials between what is essentially two different buildings, but it might look nice from street level as compared to the overhead render. I don't actually mind the new CBC building, but it feels to me like something's missing on top at the corner. A small tower with roof garden maybe? A roof restaurant with views of the Citadel and Gardens? Maybe even a new CBC studio? It would be sweet to have the super hour news broadcast from up there! It's a prominent corner, the building is rounded and steps up to the top. It's calling out for something to go there, but instead it just ends with a boring flat top. Feels half done and could definitely be more interesting. One thing I really like, there doesn't seem to be blank walls anywhere and it'll hide the one crappy side of the Paramount!

All and all, I'm in favour.
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  #49  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 5:29 AM
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I like these ideas -- you ought to forward that message to the YMCA via the feedback form on their website.
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  #50  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 4:46 PM
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I also really like these ideas. Looking at the main floor plans, I can't tell exactly what's going on (maybe someone here can interpret better than I can). It looks like the pool will be along the street and below grade but from the renderings of it, I don't know if those are windows looking in from the street. As for the gymnasium, the plans say it's change rooms at street level but judging by the how the windows match up to the outside, it looks to be at street level. Who knows!


Source: http://www.newhalifaxymca.ca/the-new...enderings.html


Source: http://www.newhalifaxymca.ca/the-new...enderings.html


Source: http://www.newhalifaxymca.ca/the-new...enderings.html

Anyway, definitely send in your comments because I think they would all make a positive difference to the development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
There is one rendering that wasn't posted. It showed the view looking up Bell Rd at the new YMCA tower on the corner.
The website has this night one (and another day one from further back)

Source: http://www.newhalifaxymca.ca/the-new...enderings.html
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  #51  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 5:29 PM
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The Y building looks nice in that evening shot, but the tower still looks a little too narrow. Another 'column' width on each side would be better, I think.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 7, 2010, 9:56 PM
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I agree.. that's the first time I've seen a rendering from that angle and it looks unbalanced to see such a narrow tower on top of such a massive base.

This still feels like a bit of a wasted corner to me - empty grass lot on one side and greenhouses on the other. They could put in a building on the right and put greenhouses on the roof or something, and move the house somewhere.
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  #53  
Old Posted May 8, 2010, 4:30 PM
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May 7th, 2010 (Partial Phototour)

Here are some before shots;









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  #54  
Old Posted May 8, 2010, 4:54 PM
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Looking up Bell road I almost think it should be taller. The proportions would work better if it went up another 5 floors. But we all know that would never happen. I'm also liking the idea of taking the messy part of the back of this tower and putting the units in a third tower between the two.
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  #55  
Old Posted May 8, 2010, 5:40 PM
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From the rendering; it looks like what they were doing was trying to get the tower component to fit in empty area between the tree canopy that runs down Bell Road, so that the tower would be fully visible from the street and not obscured by the trees?
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  #56  
Old Posted May 10, 2010, 12:11 PM
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I just walked by there this morning, and man is that Y building ugly. Not just the design, but also the lack of general maintenance; it's very shabby. I'll be happy to see it go. SP st. is easily one of Hfx's most beautiful streets, so ridding it of this eyesore should be made a priority.

Last edited by Nouvellecosse; May 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM. Reason: grammar
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  #57  
Old Posted May 10, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
I just walked by there this morning, and man is that Y building ugly. Not just the design, but also the lack of general maintenance; it's very shabby. I'll be happy to see it go. SP st. is easily be one of Hfx's most beautiful streets, so ridding it of this eyesore should be made a priority.
I agree completely. This should go ahead as soon as possible.

PS: This one by Dmajackson looks good though. Even I at times am sorry to see the city changing. However, this is progress. Just the truly significant buildings should be saved (I don't think that the YMCA qualifies, the CBC is nice though).

(source Dmajackson)
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  #58  
Old Posted May 10, 2010, 3:20 PM
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I am surprised (in a good way) with this.
My only nitpick is that I don't like that the current CBC corner has no entranceways etc... it is glass, which is nice, but I still worry it might just have a "wall" effect on that corner.
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  #59  
Old Posted May 10, 2010, 7:45 PM
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not sure on the building on the CBC building, but i will take it if thats what they want.

I love the last rendering, DENSITY, about freakin time we get density working downtown.
Completely agree. High lot coverage and decent height, this must be one of the highest density proposals for downtown. Any idea on the number of units, or units per acre?

The building on the CBC site is really your classic tower and podium, probably one of the better places in Halifax to try this because this block isn't narrow like so many others. I like the 'urban design' a fair bit, although as others have pointed out the jog in along South Park and the atrium entrance could be a little awkward. I dislike the architecture, especially the tower on the Y site.
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2010, 4:51 PM
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Just a little update; This project is inching along very slowly with some support. But you have the ones that don't like it , like PARKS CANADA, they're complaining about the view plain from Citidal hill and how it will block the area from the view of I don't know what. Isn't there a tax dispute going on here with Canada Parks and Halifax?
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