Since this really has to do with DT but we've been talking about the Regional Centre - I thought I would add this into this thread.
GARRETT: Barrington Street bides its time
Architect offers his vision of a revitalized downtown district
Barrington Street has had more than a “lost decade,” as recently reported in this newspaper. It has been in decline, or at least not at full strength, for nearly three generations, since the early 1960s, when Eaton’s began the trend by moving to the new West End Mall.
Since then, Halifax and, more recently, Halifax Regional Municipality have not responded in a significant way to this retail and demographic shift.
HRM, through it leaders, has continued to avoid the reality that successful cities across North America have recognized and worked hard to address: that healthy cities need healthy downtowns, maybe with a megaproject or two but primarily made up of a dense fabric of small economic activity and a rich environment.
We’ve all experienced this fabric elsewhere. It needs to happen here, but don’t just wait for it to happen on its own. It won’t, as we’ve been finding out in Halifax for the last 50 years.
Halifax has the added inducement of needing to develop a suitable urban environment to help attract business to support the hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in the Nova Centre.
Here is one observer’s short list of what needs to happen:
1. HRM leadership and investment
HRM must get bullish on the downtown. It has been bullish on the suburbs since amalgamation, but the pendulum has shifted. Everyone is saying it: HRM must reinvigorate the downtown, and Barrington Street in particular. Specifically, HRM must make several commitments to do this.
It must commit the much-discussed federal and provincial infrastructure funds to the urban core.
It must correct current taxation policies that are a disincentive to downtown retail and commercial development.
It must control the unabated ongoing development of suburban areas in contravention to the HRM Regional Plan.
It must plan for the redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange lands in a way that will include the needs of the adjacent areas, in particular Barrington Street.
It needs to renew and expand the Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District Incentive Program, which has been successful in helping to initiate numerous small and large projects and is in the last year of its funding.
Beyond these commitments, it must provide leadership and, where necessary, investment in the following public and private sector initiatives:
(The rest of the story is here