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Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 5:19 PM
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Halifax Central Library | 27 m | 6 fl | Complete

Here's an article from today's Daily News:

New library plans could start taking shape tonight

Halifax city hall could soon be cracking the spine on plans for a new flagship library in downtown Halifax.

Council is set to award a tender for planning consulting services tonight. The new library, which would be built at Spring Garden Road and Queen Street on land formerly occupied by the old Halifax Infirmary, has been talked about for years.

The idea was first introduced three years ago in a library board report to regional council.

At that time, the board was looking for a $26-million, 110,000-square-foot building to replace the 38,000-square-foot main branch on Spring Garden Road.

In the last few years, the size and cost of the proposed library have been rumoured to be up to 160,000 square feet and $30 million. But council has never voted on any particular budget.

Consultants’ reports presented to council over the years outline the prohibitive cost of heating and fixing up the 56-year-old main branch.

Despite its age and layout, the branch gets 400,000 visits a year, says a recent report.

It houses over 280,000 titles.

Last spring, the CEO of the library board noted that its library services section hadn’t started to budget for the building’s design and construction.

But Judith Hare was expecting money would be set aside for a building program and some conceptual design work by the end of this year.

The request for proposals for consulting services for the new library specifies that the library would share the space on its main floor.

About 7,000 square feet would be set aside for commercial uses, such as a coffee shop or a newsstand, and parking could be part of the lot plan as well.

( apugsley@herald.ca)

---

It will still be a while before they move forward with construction and it's not even clear at this point that they have the required land.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 8:34 PM
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I think this is a great place for the new library, I just hope they preserve the old one. I love that building.

On a bit of a side note, if anyone is interested. This friday, Nov 16th from 11-3 the society of undergraduate planners at Dal are hosting party for public spaces. It's a spinnoff of our successful parking meter parties. Were renting out space on the old infirmary site and we will have food, coffee, sidewalk chalk, planning activites, human re-creations of public spaces and dont forget the music and danceoffs!

Come out and enjoy!!!!
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  #3  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 9:08 PM
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I agree that it is a great site. My main concern is that they come up with something suitable to the location instead of simply handing it over to HPL so they can make lots of parking spots for themselves or whatever. When bureaucrats isolated from real costs make decisions the results are usually bad (e.g. former Eaton's building on Barrington).

The best development would be mixed use. There could be a serious residential and retail component. The 7,000 square foot newsstand comment makes it sound like the thinking going into this is kind of limited, as usual.
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Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 10:32 PM
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I agree that it is a great site. My main concern is that they come up with something suitable to the location instead of simply handing it over to HPL so they can make lots of parking spots for themselves or whatever. When bureaucrats isolated from real costs make decisions the results are usually bad (e.g. former Eaton's building on Barrington).

The best development would be mixed use. There could be a serious residential and retail component. The 7,000 square foot newsstand comment makes it sound like the thinking going into this is kind of limited, as usual.
Yeah, I saw that and was troubled by it. Reminds me of the thing at the transit terminal at Halifax Shopping Center annex or whatever it's called -- actually not bad architecture, but nothing particularly useful inside. Same with the ferry terminals. The corner of SGR and Queen is potentially the best retail site in town and it runs the risk of being totally ignored. I know that the NSLC was at the charette sessions on this site last year and expressed interest in that corner for a flagship store. I'm sure other retailers would feel the same way.

I'd hate to see Judith Hare being given a free ticket to get whatever she thinks she wants for that site without some other considerations being taken into account.
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Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 10:46 PM
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I am disappointed with the decision to put the library there. SGR and Queen is prime location for highend retail.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 2:13 AM
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I think it would be a great location for a main library.

Halifax definitely needs a new main library, but hopefully they will preserve the old one as well. I agree its a great building, and is a great part of Halifax history.

Its a great idea to make part of the building mixed used. But hopefully they don't fill it with useless crap that the city really doesn't need more of. Can't wait to see the proposals.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 3:33 AM
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Is the library planned for the corner of Spring Garden and Queen or further down Queen where the infirmary was?
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 1:44 PM
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It will down further and I with SGR and Queen high density res and comm.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 7:52 PM
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The best development would be mixed use. There could be a serious residential and retail component. The 7,000 square foot newsstand comment makes it sound like the thinking going into this is kind of limited, as usual.

Seriously. I know when they made that comment it was just an example, but couldn't they have used a little imagination? Lets think... Atlantic News Starbucks, Second Cup, Tim Horton's... What this place needs is a newsstand or hey, maybe even a coffee shop!

Any ideas on what might become of the Jazzfest when this comes to pass? As part of this area, I'd love to see a decent public outdoor space maybe with an innovative sculpture park that could accommodate festivals and concerts like Jazzfest. Think along the lines of the redevelopment in downtown Chicago.

Not that I think we should BE downtown Chicago... (heading off Mr. '4 floors or else' Pacey before he gets started)
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 8:18 PM
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Well, there are tons of similar spaces in the downtown area. They could have the Jazzfest on/around the Citadel or Commons, Grand Parade, on the waterfront..

The biggest concern to me is that there is limited room for SGR retail to grow. This is a prime opportunity, along with the Dresden Row parking lot. The library can go just about anywhere but retail spaces have to be close together. There's no particular reason why the library cannot go on the upper floors of a new building.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
On a bit of a side note, if anyone is interested. This friday, Nov 16th from 11-3 the society of undergraduate planners at Dal are hosting party for public spaces. It's a spinnoff of our successful parking meter parties. Were renting out space on the old infirmary site and we will have food, coffee, sidewalk chalk, planning activites, human re-creations of public spaces and dont forget the music and danceoffs!

Come out and enjoy!!!!
Hey, a fellow Sextant!

I'll try to make it -- I'm always up for a good danceoff.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 1:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonovision View Post
On a bit of a side note, if anyone is interested. This friday, Nov 16th from 11-3 the society of undergraduate planners at Dal are hosting party for public spaces. It's a spinnoff of our successful parking meter parties. Were renting out space on the old infirmary site and we will have food, coffee, sidewalk chalk, planning activites, human re-creations of public spaces and dont forget the music and danceoffs!

Come out and enjoy!!!!
Sounds like an event that Clara may have had a hand in...
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 7:51 PM
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^^Indeed she did! Me and her and a few other people have put it together.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 9:02 PM
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Originally Posted by skyscraper_1 View Post
I am disappointed with the decision to put the library there. SGR and Queen is prime location for highend retail.
I somewhat agree, retail would be nice, although it's not a terrible decision to put the new library there either.

I think the most interesting question is what happens to the old library?
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 9:54 PM
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I somewhat agree, retail would be nice, although it's not a terrible decision to put the new library there either.

I think the most interesting question is what happens to the old library?
The existing library building is not a huge draw. The additions on the ends would need to go to bring the building back to its original form. But then, what does one do with it? It isn't great for retail because the front lawn would likely be untouchable and would you really want the various protesters, hacky-sack players, panhandlers, etc, parked in front of your door as a retailer?

So maybe instead it becomes some kind of public/semi-public space. An auditorium? Little theater/peformance hall? Nothing obvious comes to mind, but I'm sure some greater minds than mine can come up with some options.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 11:10 PM
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Really they should have just planned to build a new library on this site, avoiding the whole issue of what to do with the old building. They didn't want to do this because they wanted to avoid moving their collection twice but in my opinion this is another case of small-mindedness. Their current site is fine and the new one is worth tens of millions of dollars. For a fraction of that cost they could throw out most of their books and buy new ones if they felt like it. Unfortunately, the land in question is "free" as far as the library is concerned so none of this kind of analysis goes on.

There's also land behind the library that I guess nobody bothered considering.

Maybe the old library building could be used for a museum or something. Anything else would require substantial renovations.

The space in front of the library works well but it is run down looking, like Victoria Park before the overhaul. The parking lot next to St. Mary's Basilica also detracts a bit from the look of the area.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 11:24 PM
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For a fraction of that cost they could throw out most of their books and buy new ones if they felt like it.

That library has a lot of irreplaceable items....


Anyway, I'm not sure what the big issue is with the old Infirmary site. It's a large plot of land, why can't it accommodate a library AND a retail development?
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2007, 11:29 PM
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^^Indeed she did! Me and her and a few other people have put it together.
I assumed as much after you mentioned the Parking Space parties.
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2007, 12:04 AM
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I always thought the old building would be great for an archive building. Get rid of the crap 70s additions and then let the municipality and province put some good old documents in there. Maybe even a planning centre?!
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2008, 2:12 PM
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Looks like they're having some sort of open house tonight (Monday June 2nd) at 7pm, Lord Nelson Hotel.

http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca.../view/174/366/
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