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  #1  
Old Posted May 10, 2019, 8:31 PM
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[Halifax] 2440-2454 Agricola St.| 17M | 5 Fl. | Proposed

Amazingly, staff is recommending this be approved at Council on Tuesday:

https://www.halifax.ca/sites/default...0514rc1532.pdf

The consultation document is typical in that people thought it too ugly, too big and (all together now) TOO TALL for the site.

The site is the home of Obsolete Records along with a string of attached wooden properties.

Rendering:




Streetview Image of site:


Last edited by Keith P.; May 10, 2019 at 8:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 10, 2019, 8:39 PM
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This one seems like a net win but it makes me wonder about the character of the area.

Agricola is a mixed bag of nice buildings, dumpy looking buildings that could be nice, and other stuff. It has a particular character right now with its mix of wooden architecture. It could either turn into something interesting and unique, or not.

What's the mechanism for coordinating these developments so that the street works well overall? Good planning rules for designing an infill building of a style that makes up 10% of the building stock will not be the same as rules for 90%. Do we just hope the mix of proposals is good? Tweaking the rules as the developments evolve is probably not going to work because it can take 10 years for that to happen over a larger area.

There doesn't seem to be much of a sense that maybe a neighbourhood should have a few tall landmark buildings, a mix of restored heritage homes and medium density apartments, etc.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 10, 2019, 10:58 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Agreed with Someone123 above. This particular development seems pretty perfectly scaled, and this location is fine--the buildings it's replacing are some of the dumpiest on the street, with any historical character long gone. This feels win-win. But it's also easy to easy to imagine a scenario in which a bunch of these projects start to reshape the the appearance and character of Agricola in a way that isn't so beneficial.

I wish one of the Centre Plan's heritage districts encompassed Agricola, to help mitigate this. The Creighton Field district will cover the two or three blocks below West Street, but there's a lot of character above that. This is a bigger problem with the Centre Plan's heritage districts--they tend to cover established residential areas which are not really under any threat of demolition anyway, so they feel sort of like a little bit of back-patting, or a sop to already over-coddled homeowners in established areas.

Anyway, I brought this concern about historic vernacular along North End main streets with Waye Mason on Twitter and he was kind of bluntly cavalier and dismissive of the concern, but I think it's a legit critique. Development pressure along Agricola and Gottingen needs to be encouraged, but also focused on the right site. The worst outcome would be the redevelopment of character buildings, and crappy buildings left in place. I would like to think there's some internal logic in the real estate market that prevents this, but there doesn't seem to be--it's a gamble.
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Old Posted May 10, 2019, 11:09 PM
Querce Querce is offline
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my favourite phrase in that rendering is "integrated benches"
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  #5  
Old Posted May 10, 2019, 11:19 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Anyway, I brought this concern about historic vernacular along North End main streets with Waye Mason on Twitter and he was kind of bluntly cavalier and dismissive of the concern, but I think it's a legit critique. Development pressure along Agricola and Gottingen needs to be encouraged, but also focused on the right site. The worst outcome would be the redevelopment of character buildings, and crappy buildings left in place. I would like to think there's some internal logic in the real estate market that prevents this, but there doesn't seem to be--it's a gamble.
Wannabe Mayor Mason being bluntly cavalier and dismissive? Not a good mix with the smugness for which he is famous.
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Old Posted May 11, 2019, 12:27 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Agreed with Someone123 above. This particular development seems pretty perfectly scaled, and this location is fine--the buildings it's replacing are some of the dumpiest on the street, with any historical character long gone. This feels win-win. But it's also easy to easy to imagine a scenario in which a bunch of these projects start to reshape the the appearance and character of Agricola in a way that isn't so beneficial.

I wish one of the Centre Plan's heritage districts encompassed Agricola, to help mitigate this. The Creighton Field district will cover the two or three blocks below West Street, but there's a lot of character above that. This is a bigger problem with the Centre Plan's heritage districts--they tend to cover established residential areas which are not really under any threat of demolition anyway, so they feel sort of like a little bit of back-patting, or a sop to already over-coddled homeowners in established areas.

Anyway, I brought this concern about historic vernacular along North End main streets with Waye Mason on Twitter and he was kind of bluntly cavalier and dismissive of the concern, but I think it's a legit critique. Development pressure along Agricola and Gottingen needs to be encouraged, but also focused on the right site. The worst outcome would be the redevelopment of character buildings, and crappy buildings left in place. I would like to think there's some internal logic in the real estate market that prevents this, but there doesn't seem to be--it's a gamble.
Excellent post. Rip off the plastic siding of much of the older parts of the peninsula and there are solid built properties with great potential for improvement along with the lure of owner occupied homes with children to attend local schools.
Unfortunately families or couples wanting to have a family will be pushed out, except for those DIPSW. Waye and Austin should be barred from voting when the Centre Plan goes to council. A developer doesn't get to sit on council and decide the fate of her/his proposal. Having been deeply involved in the plan how can they be independent decision makers ? A defendant/accuser doesn't sit on a jury.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 11, 2019, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin May View Post
Waye and Austin should be barred from voting when the Centre Plan goes to council. A developer doesn't get to sit on council and decide the fate of her/his proposal. Having been deeply involved in the plan how can they be independent decision makers ? A defendant/accuser doesn't sit on a jury.

Excellent point. Austin at least has a planning degree but that makes him behave in a doctrinaire manner on Council and does not sit well with many of the residents he is supposed to represent. Planning theory does not always translate well to real-world situations, yet he is slavishly devoted to it, which has led to him being dismissive and condescending to resident concerns. As for Mason, his only real work experience is as a music booking agent and promoter, a sh*t business at the best of times. He fancies himself as a self-styled "policy wonk" and a wannabe planner, which is extremely dangerous for someone with his lack of education and skills in the area. He has pushed for the growth in budgets and activism of the planning group within the bureaucracy with staff actively lobbying for things such as bicycle flyovers and lanes which negatively impact residents and their tax bills. Word is he was the biggest promoter of the hiring of Bjerke to lead the department, which did not work out so well. The Centre Plan has been a very expensive and lengthy process which has produced a document that is far too detailed, directive and complex, and which may well end up stifling development if it is adopted as-is.
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Old Posted May 13, 2019, 3:24 PM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Hmmm. I don't find it too boring as the only building like this currently, but wouldn't want the whole street to be like this. It's a decent mid-block building, and I think healthy for the street. I do question its height a BIT. I generally like city blocks where corners are tall and the mid-block is slightly lower... I feel like it sets up a nice rhythm, and corners can handle more height where there are two or more streets providing a bit of breathing space. This currently isn't considered in the draft Centre Plan, but as long as they're making this a Development Agreement process, I can dream. LOL

It's certainly an improvement over what's there, but I would feel anxious about its proximity if I was back-yard adjacent. It looks to be significantly taller and closer than what's typical/existing, and I don't know that the columnar birches they say they'll use as buffers will do much to buffer second, third, fourth and fifth floors. Drawing sheet A05 wouldn't do much to sooth me if that was MY backyard.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 13, 2019, 4:55 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by eastcoastal View Post
Hmmm. I don't find it too boring as the only building like this currently, but wouldn't want the whole street to be like this. It's a decent mid-block building, and I think healthy for the street. I do question its height a BIT. I generally like city blocks where corners are tall and the mid-block is slightly lower... I feel like it sets up a nice rhythm, and corners can handle more height where there are two or more streets providing a bit of breathing space. This currently isn't considered in the draft Centre Plan, but as long as they're making this a Development Agreement process, I can dream. LOL

It's certainly an improvement over what's there, but I would feel anxious about its proximity if I was back-yard adjacent. It looks to be significantly taller and closer than what's typical/existing, and I don't know that the columnar birches they say they'll use as buffers will do much to buffer second, third, fourth and fifth floors. Drawing sheet A05 wouldn't do much to sooth me if that was MY backyard.
Experienced that many years ago. Went from a sunny, private backyard to having a shaded yard with a wall of windows looking down on you. Aside from the loss of sun for your garden, it changes your enjoyment of your property forever due to the lack of privacy.

This type of thought is usually referred to as NIMBY in forums like this, but when you're on the receiving end it's not too pleasant. There are two sides to every story and for every win there is somebody on the losing end... and that is the end without the money or the power.
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  #10  
Old Posted May 13, 2019, 5:00 PM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Experienced that many years ago. Went from a sunny, private backyard to having a shaded yard with a wall of windows looking down on you. Aside from the loss of sun for your garden, it changes your enjoyment of your property forever due to the lack of privacy.

This type of thought is usually referred to as NIMBY in forums like this, but when you're on the receiving end it's not too pleasant. There are two sides to every story and for every win there is somebody on the losing end... and that is the end without the money or the power.
Yeah - I struggle with this... I think Agricola would benefit from this building, BUT, I think it's awfully close to the backyard neighbours. I think if they were to build as-of-right, they'd have much lower density and less impact on the neighbours, but I think really, this area would do best with something less than what's currently proposed and more than what's currently allowed.

I'm sure the developer would like to maximize profit, but the city owes SOME protection to the (rather nice, in my opinion) neighbourhood immediately adjacent. It's tough if all of a sudden someone gets permission to build something that is significantly more impactful than the current rules allow.
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  #11  
Old Posted May 13, 2019, 6:32 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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It's a struggle point for me as well. I like to see new buildings that enhance a neighborhood, but also know what it's like to be on the other side.

I agree with you that probably something in between would probably be the best situation for all.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 2:34 AM
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