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  #41  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2011, 5:17 PM
Phalanx Phalanx is offline
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Fares has said that they have concept drawings, but nothing detailed... hopefully we will see at least the concept released sometime soon!
A concept image appeared with the print version of the Chronicle-Herald article. I can't find it online, though, and I don't have a scanner...

It looked pretty good at first glance.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2011, 6:05 PM
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Good to see that this is moving forward after so many years. Looking forward to the rendering.

Hopefully they'll step it up a bit for the next two sites and begin the tendering process for the second while this building is under construction.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2011, 7:20 PM
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Development duo to build on downtown Halifax lots
Public parking lots behind Spring Garden Road to house retail, commercial structures
By CHRIS LAMBIE Business Editor
Wed, Jun 29 - 4:00 PM
Two prominent Halifax developers are buying two large downtown Halifax lots.

W.M. Fares Group and Banc Developments are now hammering out a deal with the city for two parking lots on Clyde Street, divided by Birmingham Street.

Both developers said the two eight-storey commercial and residential developments they plan to build should be worth a total of about $60 million once constructed.

“We bid on both of them and we got them both,” Wadih Fares, president of the Fares Group, told thechronicleherald.ca today.

“We thought it would make it a lot more appealing to have both lots, from the economic point of view and the control point of view.”

The city had planned to sell three lots individually. The properties are identified as "Mary Ann", "Margaretta" and "Rosina" - the Schmidt sisters who lived in the area, known as Schmidtville, about 140 years ago.

But the request for proposals for Mary Ann, the 33,869-square-foot property bounded by Birmingham, Queen and Clyde streets, gave developers the option to also bid on Margaretta, the neighbouring 42,600-square-foot lot on the west side of Birmingham.

The city plans to sell Rosina, which is the former Halifax Infirmary site, at a later date.

“We’ll do our best to get the third one when it comes up,” Besim Halef of Banc Developments, said with a chuckle.

Halef said he’s had his eye on the Mary Ann and Margaretta lots since he came to Canada in 1975.

“I always thought it would be a great opportunity to build something over there,” Halef said. “Luckily, 36 years later, it came to fruition.”

Peter Stickings, manager of real estate and facility services for the municipality, confirmed negotiations are now going on with the developers for both downtown lots. Three of the eight bidders for the Mary Ann site also wanted Margaretta, he said.

Fares and Banc plan to build an eight-storey, commercial-residential development on the Mary Ann site that will include three levels of underground parking.

The ground floor on Mary Ann, which may include a Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. outlet to replace the existing Clyde Street store, would be retail space. The upper floors would contain 120 to 130 apartments.

Margaretta should contain a similar combination of apartments and ground floor retail, as well as underground parking, he said.

“They’ll be almost the same type of development,” Fares said. “They will be compatible with each other.”

But each building will have its own distinguishing characteristics, Halef said.

The developers are looking at connecting the two projects with either a bridge or a tunnel.

“We can’t say anything right now because it’s all ideas,” Fares said.

The request for proposals from the city gave developers two years to begin construction.

But Fares said today construction on at least one of the two properties could start next spring and take two years to complete.

“We anticipate to close in a short order of time with the city and in the meantime, we will be doing our detailed design,” Halef said.

“We’re going to break ground (on at least one site) next year for sure. We are comfortable either building them one at a time or both of them at the same time.”

Neither Fares nor Halef would say what they offered to pay for the Mary Ann and Margaretta properties. They are estimated to be worth $6 million a piece for tax purposes.

A confidential May 20 city hall report on the deal won’t be released until the transaction closes.

“We’ll wait for the city to make it public, Fares said.

Other bidders on the Mary Ann property included Killam Properties Inc. and Urban Capital Property, Mythos Developments Ltd., Dexel Developments, Universal Properties, Armour Group Ltd., Tony Metlege and Westwood Developments Ltd.

“We have a lot of respect for everyone who put in a bid and I’m sure every one of them would have done a great job,” Fares said.

“That’s what’s so exciting about this. It really drew the top of the development industry in our city.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2011, 7:38 PM
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Very interesting.. I thought they were only looking at the one lot. It sounds like the two year construction deadline applies to both sites..?

A bridge or tunnel seems kind of excessive when the buildings will be separated by a tiny street with very little vehicle traffic. I wonder how much retail they intend to include. Will these have more "mini-malls" like Park Lane or Spring Garden Place?
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  #45  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2011, 9:51 PM
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3 levels of parking! The net result of development on these lots will likely be positive, so shut it NIMBYs and people who don't even live DT.

I can't wait until they develop the lot that fronts onto Queen... those two houses on it need to go!
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  #46  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2011, 12:41 AM
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I'm glad to see they are finally doing something with these parking lots. I feel so much good real estate is lost to these eye sores. Not only will there be more total parking, but more people living living downtown which will help feed all these new retail shops.

I also like the idea of a tunnel. I feel that bringing more convenient covered passage ways to Halifax is a good thing, especially on those brutal winter days.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2011, 3:10 AM
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ANS has a rendering posted. To be honest I really don't care for the design, although it is a pretty rough sketch. Hopefully it will be refined into something simpler and more elegant. The overall form looks good.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2011, 4:27 AM
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I didn't expect both lots to be sold. On the upside hopefully that means things will move quicker, but I'm also a disappointed that the two buildings seem to have similar/identical designs...I was hoping for a lot more variety in appearance.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2011, 10:28 AM
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I hope the two buildings do maintain distinct identities.

... and a tunnel? Unless there's an extensive tunnel system to connect to, I'm pretty sure a tunnel between two buildings that leads no-where else is not a particularly good use of investment.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2011, 4:04 AM
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ANS ran another story about how the NSLC is interested in opening their new flagship store on Queen Street in this development.

It would be nice to see that move onto Queen Street since it could act as an anchor for other retail nearby. It would also open up a development site at the old NSLC location, which is in an odd spot.

Apparently they're only interested if the rents are low, which makes sense. People are going to go to the downtown NSLC whether it's in a prime spot or not.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2011, 12:58 PM
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Anyway someone can put the rendering on here?

I'm kinda confused by the article... Are the 2 working together or now bidding against each other for the 2 lots?
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  #52  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2011, 7:23 PM
worldlyhaligonian worldlyhaligonian is offline
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The current NSLC site might be a good spot for a restaurant... keeping in theme with the buildings nearby.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2011, 12:51 AM
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Anyway someone can put the rendering on here?

I'm kinda confused by the article... Are the 2 working together or now bidding against each other for the 2 lots?
I don't think they have renderings yet. Fares was interviewed in ANS I think right after winning and he was saying they were going to proceed with drawings, plans, now that they won.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2011, 2:36 AM
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Excuse the noob question; what's ANS?
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  #55  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2011, 7:16 AM
Phalanx Phalanx is offline
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ANS = All Nova Scotia News. A subscription based news site.

As for renderings... there's nothing detailed yet. A concept image appeared in the Chronicle-Herald and on ANS last week.
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2011, 7:05 PM
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Rendering time!



Credit: WM Fares Group
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2011, 7:17 PM
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Rendering time!



Credit: WM Fares Group
Wow - looks pretty cool.
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2011, 7:26 PM
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I find it very busy looking and the detailing on the ground floor columns is worrisome -- that kind of stuff is rarely attractive. Somebody could probably benefit from reading up on design, simplicity, and elegance. Adding decoration to a building doesn't necessarily make it more attractive.

Hopefully this will be revised and something clean and modern looking will be built.
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2011, 3:30 AM
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Yeah...it looks like it has the potential to turn out kinda garish. And again, I'm disappointed the design for the two lots is so similar. Not bad, but I hope this is preliminary and I hope those are mostly storefronts and not largely glass walls (along Queen for example).
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2011, 4:46 AM
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It's a preliminary drawing - a first crack. I'm sure it's going to change at least two or three times before it gets approved.
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