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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2013, 1:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
A nice fine and complete restoration of the sign should be in order.

The "Morse's Tea" sign was in my opinion a defining part of the building and Historic Properties for that matter.
Not sure about the fine part, perhaps a sternly worded note would do, but I agree completely with everything else that you have said. The developer should definitely be ordered to restore the sign.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 3:26 AM
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Not sure about the fine part, perhaps a sternly worded note would do, but I agree completely with everything else that you have said. The developer should definitely be ordered to restore the sign.
I suggested a fine due to the contempt that the developer appears to be showing to the historic nature of the sign, as quoted in the previous post by eastcoastal.

Im sure he figured that he'd whitewash the sign and in a few weeks when the furor died down, he'd re-brand the building as he saw fit. That type of thinking should be punished, and a fine would work to change it. Maybe even a "donation" to the Historic Society would suffice.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 11:44 AM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
Not sure about the fine part, perhaps a sternly worded note would do...
The fine might actually be enough to make an out of town, absentee, landlord pay attention to the city he owns so much of the downtown in. He's got to play by the rules here, and I don't think that diplomacy will get very far if we are dealing with someone who doesn't actually care about the city in any civic sense (and seems to have divorced the collective cultural value of a significant building from the monetary value he could have leveraged from it). If he fixes it within a reasonable time frame, by all means, drop the threat of a fine.

However. Given that this happened in October, given that there appears to have been some back and forth between the city and the developer already, given that there was some obvious local outcry in the press, and given that the landlord has more or less stated that he doesn't want to adhere to the Provincial laws surrounding his registered heritage property. Given all that, I think a fine might be a last, and necessary, resort.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 11:49 AM
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WTF! I just saw this thread. It's beyond outrageous that this was allowed to happen. Are there plans to restore the sign? That sign was a Halifax 'landmark'.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
However. Given that this happened in October, given that there appears to have been some back and forth between the city and the developer already, given that there was some obvious local outcry in the press, and given that the landlord has more or less stated that he doesn't want to adhere to the Provincial laws surrounding his registered heritage property. Given all that, I think a fine might be a last, and necessary, resort.
Yes, given all this, a fine very well may be appropriate. I didn't realize the developer was being so obstinate.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 3:44 PM
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This is such a visible piece of heritage, HRM really can't let it pass. If they do, they'll be giving defacto permission to any other heritage property owner in the city to ignore the law when it's inconvenient. It's not even the fine that's really key. The staff report notes that in addition to the fine, a judge could order Starfish to restore the sign and if Starfish doesn't comply, HRM could go ahead and do the work and bill Starfish for it (I assume through their tax bill). In terms of getting the damage undone, the law actually gives the courts and the municipality some power to act.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2013, 4:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
...seems to have divorced the collective cultural value of a significant building from the monetary value he could have leveraged from it...
That is a very well-stated summary of the problem with private-sector city building, not just in Halifax, but everywhere.

Obviously developers are in the game to make money, and to operate successful businesses, and we all want them to succeed, otherwise there'd be no development. But the role they occupy in the city means there are other major factors to think about besides profit, and the city should absolutely hold Starfish to account. They own a lot of this city's heritage properties, and they've done a good job as caretakers to many of them—but not all (ex: the Roy Building, which I simply don't believe is as unsalvageable as it's made out to be).

Halifax actually doesn't have especially onerous heritage laws: We have only one conservation district, a meagre stock of listed heritage properties (which developers are allowed to demolish if they simply wait long enough), and incidents like the Morse's situation go unpunished. Developers won't flee town if the city starts laying down the law a little more severely over transgressions. We're building (and to some degree, preserving) a city, not selling it to the highest bidder.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2013, 11:56 AM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
...
Obviously developers are in the game to make money, and to operate successful businesses, and we all want them to succeed, otherwise there'd be no development. But the role they occupy in the city means there are other major factors to think about besides profit...
And why not use heritage as part of the way to get more money out of a property? I'm sure it's not easy in many cases, but this seems (to me, anyway) like the ideal situation where having the plaque on the building, and the recognizable exterior, could have resulted in some cachet for tenants: "My office is on the fourth floor of the Morse's Teas Building."

By the way, I was in the building prior to Baton Rouge going in, but after they hollowed out every other interior floor. In most cases, they're left with big solid wood beams holding up a mezzanine that wraps around the outside of the floorplates and providing a double-height space in the centre. The top floors have great views of the water and the surrounding buildings. I'm not sure why the upper levels have not been leased yet. On the other hand, I wouldn't move in until the noisy part of construction next door was finished.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2013, 3:32 PM
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
And why not use heritage as part of the way to get more money out of a property? I'm sure it's not easy in many cases, but this seems (to me, anyway) like the ideal situation where having the plaque on the building, and the recognizable exterior, could have resulted in some cachet for tenants: "My office is on the fourth floor of the Morse's Teas Building."
This happens all the time in many cities—businesses and individuals do pay for heritage cachet. (I'm thinking specifically of the very expensive, and beautiful, office space in Toronto's Flatiron Building.) So I'm not sure why Starfish hasn't leased out the top floors. With that, and the paint-over, it seems like they have some plan for the building they aren't divulging to the public or politicians, which I find a bit repugnant—it's one of the top five most recognized and important heritage structures in the city. Transparency is in order.

Last edited by Drybrain; Jan 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM.
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  #70  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 8:11 PM
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  #71  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 8:28 PM
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Why would Jerusalem Warehouse be more appealing to potential tenants than Morse's Tea? Everyone knows where the Morse's Tea Building is. You can't get much more iconic than that!!

I can see it now....

-Q: So, where is your office located at?

-A: In the Jerusalem Warehouse......

-Q: Where the f*** is that?!?

-A: You know, the old Morse's Tea Building.

-Q: Geez, why didn't you say so!!
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  #72  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 8:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post


Why would Jerusalem Warehouse be more appealing to potential tenants than Morse's Tea? Everyone knows where the Morse's Tea Building is. You can't get much more iconic than that!!

I can see it now....

-Q: So, where is your office located at?

-A: In the Jerusalem Warehouse......

-Q: Where the f*** is that?!?

-A: You know, the old Morse's Tea Building.

-Q: Geez, why didn't you say so!!
If we are so concerned about history then Jerusalem Warehouse would be more historical.
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  #73  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 9:25 PM
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This building was built in 1840, and for a long time it was known only as the Jerusalem Warehouse (I think it replaced the Jerusalem coffee house).

Seems strange to get upset over this.
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  #74  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 9:39 PM
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I think people just like to get upset at Starfish. This might actually be cool--they just should've warned people beforehand, to prevent the WTF?! reaction.
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  #75  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 9:43 PM
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It is weird because Starfish has arguably done more to preserve heritage buildings downtown than any other landlord in recent years.
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  #76  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 10:30 PM
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I was initially annoyed that they painted over the original Morse's sign as the patina was part of the charm of this building, IMHO.

Also, it had been Morse's since 1910 and it was under Morse's ownership that the top 2 floors were added (after a fire in 1927), bringing the building to its current configuration. Just about everybody from the area living today remembers the building only as the Morse's Tea building, and thus the strong historical (and sentimental in some cases) tie to the signage.

It was only known locally as the Jerusalem warehouse because it was built on the site of the former Jerusalem Coffee House, but I don't know if it was ever actually branded the Jerusalem Warehouse through signage. Therefore, creating such signage now could be considered a form of faux heritage.

I can see the reasoning involved, marketability (perhaps somebody might still think Morse's Teas are packaged here?), and feel that it could be much worse as at least they are seeing the value in the original heritage of this building that dates back to 1841. Now that the original Morse's sign is lost, rebranding the building to reflect its original heritage will create a new awareness of it that will be remembered by future generations.

Perhaps in another 30 - 50 years the existing Morse's sign would have faded to the point of being unrecognizable anyway, so creating a new sign now is just covering for the inevitable degradation of the original.

Like I said, it could have been much worse, at least the building hasn't suffered the fate of facadism. Nobody got hurt, nobody died, we can all move on from here.

Source of info

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Nov 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM. Reason: add link to source of historical info
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  #77  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post

Like I said, it could have been much worse, at least the building hasn't suffered the fate of facadism. Nobody got hurt, nobody died, we can all move on from here.

Source of info
Definitely. There are bigger fish to fry, heritage-wise.

(And maybe in a hundred years, the "Jerusalem Warehouse" will be the accepted shorthand for the building, and tour guides will be telling tourists that the building was re-branded as such way back in 2014, bringing it full-circle with its 19th-century origins.)
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  #78  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2013, 11:56 PM
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Now that the Morse's sign is gone, I couldn't care less it was signed 'Baton Rouge'.
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  #79  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2013, 2:40 AM
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If we are so concerned about history then Jerusalem Warehouse would be more historical.
I don't think this is a question of more historic, or less historic. I think that Morse's Teas has achieved a level of historic merit greater than that of Jerusalem Warehouse. It's been painted as Morse's Teas for many many many years now, and that's what people know it as.

Also, if you think about it:
Built in 1841, for David & Edward Starr and Co., and informally known as Jerusalem Warehouse. then became the property of J.E. Morse and Company Ltd. in 1910. That's 69 (tee hee) years.

The Morse's Teas sign was obliterated in 2013. That's 113 years associated with that name (granted, it was part of NSCAD for a while, but still was painted with the Morse's Teas name).

It's also part of the city's collective memory as Morse's Teas.

I think Jerusalem Warehouse is a ploy by the landlord to make painting the names of new tenants more palatable: "See, guys, it's changed names before... Jerusalem Warehouse and then Morse's Teas, and now Jo-Bob's Emporium..." it's harder to argue against changing from Morse's Teas to something new without the context of previous name changes.

I think it should be re-painted as Morse's Teas, AND allow Jo-Bob's Emporium, or some other illustrious tenant affix its corporate brand to the exterior. No, to Jerusalem Warehouse, though.
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  #80  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2013, 4:26 AM
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