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  #1  
Old Posted May 18, 2019, 12:45 PM
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[Halifax] 2160-2180 Robie St. | 30M | 8 Fl | Proposed

This one is coming to Council on Tuesday and looks like it could be approved. Another craptacular design by Fares Group. Although that block could use some help, I'm not much of a fan of this one.

https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...90521rc123.pdf

Robie St side rendering:




Existing street view on Robie:

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  #2  
Old Posted May 18, 2019, 4:59 PM
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its a bit short it would be at least 14 floors or more
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  #3  
Old Posted May 18, 2019, 5:02 PM
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According to the much-ballyhooed Centre Plan this one is already too tall.

If you want a chuckle, read the section of the report I linked with the minutes of the community consultation. Everybody had problems with it.
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Old Posted May 21, 2019, 9:04 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Very uninspired architecture for a very visible intersection in the city. It adds density to the area, but that's about it.

I hope they deep-six it and hold out for a better proposal.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 1:51 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Very uninspired architecture for a very visible intersection in the city. It adds density to the area, but that's about it.

I hope they deep-six it and hold out for a better proposal.
Passed with 2 Nays.
Savage,Adams and Streatch were not there.....I suppose the hockey game was more important, free tickets etc
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 3:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Very uninspired architecture for a very visible intersection in the city. It adds density to the area, but that's about it.

I hope they deep-six it and hold out for a better proposal.
It's generic but not terrible and nothing much is being lost.

Just expanding the housing supply in the right parts of the city is very important. The city's apartment vacancy rate is low. It is worth approving these proposals while pushing for a bit more architectural merit in the long run.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
Passed with 2 Nays.
Savage,Adams and Streatch were not there.....I suppose the hockey game was more important, free tickets etc
They would be in some company's skybox (maybe HRM/Events Halifax has one too) so free food and drink as well, very important for Mayor Mike who never saw a free buffet he didn't like.

As to the development, while it passed, the CBC article contains this nugget. "No-Waye" Mason chimed in with the "It's TOO TALL!" mantra:

"Local councillor Lindell Smith tried to amend the design, so the building would start off at four storeys along Robie and three along Cunard. Coun. Waye Mason agreed with the idea.

"Four and five [storeys] on this corner is too high," said Mason. "Look at The Keep on Quinpool, it doesn't work."

But Smith's motion was defeated in a 7 to 7 tie vote. The overall project was then approved 12 to 2, with only Smith and Coun. Tim Outhit voting against it."


Speaks against it, but votes in favor. Slippery fellow. I had not heard that particular criticism of The Keep previously. Maybe some of the more devout anti-height HRM planning staff are whispering in his ear.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
"Four and five [storeys] on this corner is too high," said Mason. "Look at The Keep on Quinpool, it doesn't work."
There is a 9-storey building kitty-corner from this development. It wouldn't even be the tallest building on that stretch of Robie along the Commons.

At this point, we need all the housing we can get. If it's displacing some affordable housing, maybe use that as pushback to get some affordable units in there, but we need to build housing where people want to live, and people want to live on the peninsula.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 1:31 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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It's generic but not terrible and nothing much is being lost.

Just expanding the housing supply in the right parts of the city is very important. The city's apartment vacancy rate is low. It is worth approving these proposals while pushing for a bit more architectural merit in the long run.
It's slightly ironic that I was thinking about a previous post of yours when I was typing my above comment - your post stating that one of the reasons that people feel a loss when heritage properties are torn down is that they are not replaced with good architecture had hit home with me - and I was thinking "yeah, why can't we have better architecture here".

So here we have poorly-maintained Victorians that are being torn down to be replaced with poor (IMHO), or at least mediocre, architecture. As Keith will point out, they have been neglected for years and probably there are not many original elements left on the inside, and I would not argue against that, as this is the usual path that is followed (neglect to the point that nobody minds when they are torn down).

OK, I have resigned myself to the idea that these Victorians are probably dumps now (though likely still have good bones), but still think that a prominent corner next to the Commons should be held to a higher standard architecturally. If this was being built in Clayton Park West, I would think it's fine, for example.

But it still resonates with me how we all seem to think it's great, as long as it's better than the long-neglected buildings that it's replacing (that should not have been allowed by the city to be neglected, as mentioned in a recent thread).

Maybe if it were allowed to be taller it wouldn't look so bad, but I'm sorry to say this one just doesn't do much for me. I wish 'the city' had some will to improve standards in our more prominent/interesting areas.



https://www.thestar.com/halifax/2019...een-light.html
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 1:39 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by atbw View Post
There is a 9-storey building kitty-corner from this development. It wouldn't even be the tallest building on that stretch of Robie along the Commons.

At this point, we need all the housing we can get. If it's displacing some affordable housing, maybe use that as pushback to get some affordable units in there, but we need to build housing where people want to live, and people want to live on the peninsula.
You make good points. From this article that I also linked in my post above, comes this:

Quote:
Katie Campbell said she wasn’t opposed to the project itself or the height, but she wondered why there was no affordable housing included in the plans.

“You have people coming to council and asking citizens to make concessions, and what I say to you and to the builders and to community is, what are they giving back to the community?” she asked.

“What are they giving back for all these concessions they’re asking?”

Cesar Saleh, vice president of planning and design at WM Fares, responded directly to Campbell’s concerns on behalf of the developer.

“We do give back. We give back life, we give back jobs, we give back growth, we give back renewal,” Saleh said.

“We’re providing units of varying types — family type units, smaller units, 600 to 1,400-square feet size units — and I think most importantly, we are providing an opportunity for more people to come and enjoy the existing amenities the city has.”
So there you go... we should feel lucky that they are willing to build there (and profit from it), because they are giving us "life", "jobs", "growth", and "renewal"... as if this were somehow different from all the other businesses out there who build stuff or provide services for profit. I had no idea that this was now an acceptable argument.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 22, 2019, 1:42 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
They would be in some company's skybox (maybe HRM/Events Halifax has one too) so free food and drink as well, very important for Mayor Mike who never saw a free buffet he didn't like.

As to the development, while it passed, the CBC article contains this nugget. "No-Waye" Mason chimed in with the "It's TOO TALL!" mantra:

"Local councillor Lindell Smith tried to amend the design, so the building would start off at four storeys along Robie and three along Cunard. Coun. Waye Mason agreed with the idea.

"Four and five [storeys] on this corner is too high," said Mason. "Look at The Keep on Quinpool, it doesn't work."

But Smith's motion was defeated in a 7 to 7 tie vote. The overall project was then approved 12 to 2, with only Smith and Coun. Tim Outhit voting against it."


Speaks against it, but votes in favor. Slippery fellow. I had not heard that particular criticism of The Keep previously. Maybe some of the more devout anti-height HRM planning staff are whispering in his ear.
Keith, thanks for the chuckle!

You certainly have a talent for pointing out the folly of council... keep 'em on their toes!
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  #12  
Old Posted May 22, 2019, 1:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
"No-Waye" Mason chimed in with the "It's TOO TALL!" mantra
excellent.

I actually (as usual) think this one is too short if anything. IMO these developments bring the opportunity to enhance the urban park feel of the Commons; to encompass and define the area with a bit of a Central Park character, for which this lot could be a cornerstone. Anyway, I do agree that it's an improvement!
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 2:10 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
It's slightly ironic that I was thinking about a previous post of yours when I was typing my above comment - your post stating that one of the reasons that people feel a loss when heritage properties are torn down is that they are not replaced with good architecture had hit home with me - and I was thinking "yeah, why can't we have better architecture here".

So here we have poorly-maintained Victorians that are being torn down to be replaced with poor (IMHO), or at least mediocre, architecture. As Keith will point out, they have been neglected for years and probably there are not many original elements left on the inside, and I would not argue against that, as this is the usual path that is followed (neglect to the point that nobody minds when they are torn down).

OK, I have resigned myself to the idea that these Victorians are probably dumps now (though likely still have good bones), but still think that a prominent corner next to the Commons should be held to a higher standard architecturally. If this was being built in Clayton Park West, I would think it's fine, for example.

But it still resonates with me how we all seem to think it's great, as long as it's better than the long-neglected buildings that it's replacing (that should not have been allowed by the city to be neglected, as mentioned in a recent thread).

Maybe if it were allowed to be taller it wouldn't look so bad, but I'm sorry to say this one just doesn't do much for me. I wish 'the city' had some will to improve standards in our more prominent/interesting areas.

You may be surprised by this but I agree with you here for the most part.

I already gave my opinion of the architecture of this proposal in my original post so I won't repeat that. And I would not argue that the store on the corner or the structures immediately adjacent to it should be saved.

However, I am dismayed that this building is going to disappear:




Now, I have no idea what it is like inside nor what its use is. Being an older building I have little doubt it needs some work. However it always struck me as being reasonably well maintained and somewhat handsome in design, unlike its neighbors. To me this is an unfortunate loss for the area. It's a shame it could not somehow be incorporated into the development as was done with the less attractive building (to me at least) adjacent to the ordinary-looking Lotus Point development on Ochterloney in Dartmouth
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 2:31 PM
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For some reason, I hadn't realized this building will take up the entire block. I agree that is very disappointing, especially considering the Robie/Compton house.

At the risk of both over-simplifying the issue and sounding like a broken record: I have long believed that if developers were allowed to build taller, they would not build as wide, requiring the demolition of entire blocks of heritage buildings to make an investment worthwhile (enter the BMO building on SGR). Moreover, the resultant one-building-per-block approach to development (again, see the Doyle) is far less desirable for a variety of reasons, so we end up losing on both ends.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 2:45 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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You may be surprised by this but I agree with you here for the most part.


Actually that particular building is the one that drew me in and I agree that it would have been nice to incorporate it into the design. It is a well-preserved example and has interesting lines.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 2:48 PM
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For some reason, I hadn't realized this building will take up the entire block. I agree that is very disappointing, especially considering the Robie/Compton house.

At the risk of both over-simplifying the issue and sounding like a broken record: I have long believed that if developers were allowed to build taller, they would not build as wide, requiring the demolition of entire blocks of heritage buildings to make an investment worthwhile (enter the BMO building on SGR). Moreover, the resultant one-building-per-block approach to development (again, see the Doyle) is far less desirable for a variety of reasons, so we end up losing on both ends.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 2:51 PM
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I might be in the minority, but I am totally okay with most buildings being average when it comes to architecture. There are only so many ways to skin a cat, and when buildings try to stand out or be unique it just kinda gets overwhelming. I basically want my buildings to be:

(a) Cohesive
(b) Non-offensive
(c) Honest (i.e. not trying to "ape" other designs or architectural features--such as unnecessary columns or fake little peaked dormers)
(d) Quality materials

Beyond that I couldn't really give a crap, except in some high-profile locations. Great cities come from the people, the businesses, and the spaces inbetween.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:10 PM
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So there you go... we should feel lucky that they are willing to build there (and profit from it), because they are giving us "life", "jobs", "growth", and "renewal"... as if this were somehow different from all the other businesses out there who build stuff or provide services for profit. I had no idea that this was now an acceptable argument.
I don't really think developers "owe" the city anything. It's up to the municipality to create the rules, and the developers must abide by them, but the idea that the developer should have to hand out goodies to placate the neighbours is, in my opinion, basically just a form of kickback or corruption.

Building housing is how you get affordable housing. The idea that there's a special alternate form of housing called affordable housing that needs to be included in every single development is mostly harmful. There are higher and lower end buildings and neighbourhoods, and buildings tend to move downmarket over time. Maybe if this is built it'll be affordable housing in 2050.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:18 PM
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I might be in the minority, but I am totally okay with most buildings being average when it comes to architecture. There are only so many ways to skin a cat, and when buildings try to stand out or be unique it just kinda gets overwhelming. I basically want my buildings to be:

(a) Cohesive
(b) Non-offensive
(c) Honest (i.e. not trying to "ape" other designs or architectural features--such as unnecessary columns or fake little peaked dormers)
(d) Quality materials

Beyond that I couldn't really give a crap, except in some high-profile locations. Great cities come from the people, the businesses, and the spaces inbetween.
I agree with (a)-(d) although I'd say that satisfying those requirements makes a building above average in Halifax. The municipality should encourage the construction of good quality buildings. What new buildings don't all need to be is unique architectural standouts. Most of the highly valued heritage buildings in Halifax were built using the standard stylistic idioms of the time, with good quality materials, proportions, etc.

My main problem with the existing buildings along that block on Robie is that they are fairly small/plain and have gaps. The little bay window house at the southern end is nice but it's hard to adapt a building like that to a midrise commercial area. Houses like this are character defining for the city but it also might not make sense to keep them along major streets in central areas.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:55 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I don't really think developers "owe" the city anything. It's up to the municipality to create the rules, and the developers must abide by them, but the idea that the developer should have to hand out goodies to placate the neighbours is, in my opinion, basically just a form of kickback or corruption.

Building housing is how you get affordable housing. The idea that there's a special alternate form of housing called affordable housing that needs to be included in every single development is mostly harmful. There are higher and lower end buildings and neighbourhoods, and buildings tend to move downmarket over time. Maybe if this is built it'll be affordable housing in 2050.
Where would this board be without you here to continually correct me?

I agree that the city should be the ones setting the rules, but disagree that this should be perceived as a "kickback" or "corruption", especially since the person suggesting it would have nothing to gain from it. The fact is, lower priced housing will be razed to create more expensive housing, and while that is not a bad thing entirely, the net effect is that some low cost housing will be eliminated, and that people who need it don't have 30 years to wait for the building to deteriorate and become undesirable so they can afford it, if that would even happen. The idea seemed to have some merit as the proposal doesn't fit within the current rules, and thus it would not seem unreasonable for the city to require some low cost units in exchange for the concession.

The developer does not owe anything to anybody, and the (perceived) arrogant response indicates that they already feel they are doing us a favour. I guess the east coaster in me reacts negatively to (perceived) arrogance...

Anyhow, it didn't seem like a horrible idea to me...
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