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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2010, 7:12 PM
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[Halifax] NFB Building | 15 m | 7 fl | U/C

From todays Herald. Hopefully we will soon see some renderings.


Downtown makeover in the wings

Project to include much of city block


By BRUCE ERSKINE

Business Reporter

The reconfiguration of a good chunk of downtown Halifax real estate could start as early as October or as late as next spring, says restaurateur and developer Chris Tzaneteas.

“We’re getting ready to put in a pre-application with HRM," he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Tzaneteas and his business partner Costa Elles own several downtown restaurants and bars, including Opa Greek Taverna , The Argyle Bar and Grill , and Mosaic Social Din ing , all on Argyle Street.

They are planning an $11-million development that will include a 47-unit, four storey apartment complex in the space now occupied by the National Film Board building at 1572 Barrington St.

The film board building, formerly the St. Mary’s Young Men’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society Hall, was destroyed by fire in 1991.

The proposed development, which will include 18,000 square feet of retail space, will extend over the top of The Ar gyle and around a renovated Opa to the Farquhar Building at the corner of Barrington and Blowers streets.

The Farquhar now houses a

Venus Pizza outlet.

The developers have been awarded a $100,000 grant to maintain historic facades un der the Halifax by Design mu nicipal planning strategy’s Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District desig nation.

They have also been ap proved for $600,000 in related tax credits.

Tzaneteas said the grant and the credits don’t kick in until the development is finished.

“We have to spend at least $100,000 on facades," he said, adding that the tax credits aren’t funds coming out of municipal coffers.

“It looks like we’re getting $700,000 but we’re not."

Tzaneteas said the devel opment, which is slightly smaller than originally planned, isn’t contingent on a decision to build a new con vention centre on the former Halifax Herald lands on Argyle Street.

The province recently ex tended property owner Rank Inc. ’ s deadline until Monday to come up with more detailed plans for a new centre before it decides whether it wants to negotiate a contract with the developer.

“Argyle is a great street, regardless of the convention centre," said Tzaneteas.

Tzaneteas said the only thing that might affect the plans he does have is financ ing.

“I haven’t secured financing yet," he said, although he is in talks with a couple of lenders.

“It looks good but it’s a com plicated process," he said, suggesting that financing com plications could delay the pro ject start date to next spring.

“We’re 60 per cent there," he said. “I feel confident."

If it does proceed, the pro ject won’t include the Tip Top Tailors building at 1592 Bar rington St., which the partners have decided not to purchase.

“There were too many condi tions," Tzaneteas said.

(berskine@herald.ca)
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2010, 11:27 PM
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From todays Herald. Hopefully we will soon see some renderings.


Downtown makeover in the wings

Project to include much of city block


By BRUCE ERSKINE

Business Reporter

The reconfiguration of a good chunk of downtown Halifax real estate could start as early as October or as late as next spring, says restaurateur and developer Chris Tzaneteas.

“We’re getting ready to put in a pre-application with HRM," he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Tzaneteas and his business partner Costa Elles own several downtown restaurants and bars, including Opa Greek Taverna , The Argyle Bar and Grill , and Mosaic Social Din ing , all on Argyle Street.

They are planning an $11-million development that will include a 47-unit, four storey apartment complex in the space now occupied by the National Film Board building at 1572 Barrington St.

The film board building, formerly the St. Mary’s Young Men’s Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society Hall, was destroyed by fire in 1991.

The proposed development, which will include 18,000 square feet of retail space, will extend over the top of The Ar gyle and around a renovated Opa to the Farquhar Building at the corner of Barrington and Blowers streets.

The Farquhar now houses a

Venus Pizza outlet.

The developers have been awarded a $100,000 grant to maintain historic facades un der the Halifax by Design mu nicipal planning strategy’s Barrington Street Heritage Conservation District desig nation.

They have also been ap proved for $600,000 in related tax credits.

Tzaneteas said the grant and the credits don’t kick in until the development is finished.

“We have to spend at least $100,000 on facades," he said, adding that the tax credits aren’t funds coming out of municipal coffers.

“It looks like we’re getting $700,000 but we’re not."

Tzaneteas said the devel opment, which is slightly smaller than originally planned, isn’t contingent on a decision to build a new con vention centre on the former Halifax Herald lands on Argyle Street.

The province recently ex tended property owner Rank Inc. ’ s deadline until Monday to come up with more detailed plans for a new centre before it decides whether it wants to negotiate a contract with the developer.

“Argyle is a great street, regardless of the convention centre," said Tzaneteas.

Tzaneteas said the only thing that might affect the plans he does have is financ ing.

“I haven’t secured financing yet," he said, although he is in talks with a couple of lenders.

“It looks good but it’s a com plicated process," he said, suggesting that financing com plications could delay the pro ject start date to next spring.

“We’re 60 per cent there," he said. “I feel confident."

If it does proceed, the pro ject won’t include the Tip Top Tailors building at 1592 Bar rington St., which the partners have decided not to purchase.

“There were too many condi tions," Tzaneteas said.

(berskine@herald.ca)
Finally some progress on the site - watch; the heritage trust will be right in there with something in the paper tomorrow.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 12:15 AM
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I don't really see anybody fighting this. I think the biggest risk for this project is red tape.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 9:18 AM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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I don't really see anybody fighting this. I think the biggest risk for this project is red tape.
Perhaps - I think it would go through the site plan approval process; versus the other stream in HbD. But still; I have my doubts that the HT will be quiet on this.

Just wait for it - they will say something...
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 9:59 AM
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Perhaps - I think it would go through the site plan approval process; versus the other stream in HbD. But still; I have my doubts that the HT will be quiet on this.

Just wait for it - they will say something...
If the Heritage Trust tries to stop this one, then we will know that the Heritage Trust no longer is a relevant organization.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 11:59 AM
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4 stories does nothing for me in the heart of the city.

It will help revitalize Barrington a little bit though.

Last edited by JustinMacD; Jul 16, 2010 at 12:11 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 12:29 PM
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4 stories does nothing for me in the heart of the city.
It will help revitalize Barrington a little bit though.

Sometimes it's the LITTLE things in life... JET
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Sometimes it's the LITTLE things in life... JET
Yeah. I really can't see a lot of businesses piling into Barrington anytime soon.. so it might be cool to turn it into more of a medium-density residential place.

Is anything going in that building on Salter's and Barrington? The one across from the Aliant Building. I think it was like a Masonic Lodge or something before. That would be a nice place for something like this.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 3:04 PM
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Is anything going in that building on Salter's and Barrington? The one across from the Aliant Building. I think it was like a Masonic Lodge or something before. That would be a nice place for something like this.
Yes, offices are upstairs. I'm not sure who exactly. Another outdoor store has moved into the lower retail space on Salter and a restaurant is moving in on Barrington.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 3:53 PM
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Yes, offices are upstairs. I'm not sure who exactly. Another outdoor store has moved into the lower retail space on Salter and a restaurant is moving in on Barrington.
Tao outdoor equip moved there from Bayers Lake. JET
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 8:54 PM
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Yeah. I really can't see a lot of businesses piling into Barrington anytime soon.
I could see it dramatically improving if things go reasonably well. I don't think Barrington will have large department stores again but I think it could easily support a mix of restaurants, shops for locals, and interesting retail along the lines of Freak Lunchbox and others that are already there.

One of the big issues with retail is that clusters of stores tend to do better, and right now that can't happen because too many of the storefronts are tied up one way or another. Beyond this, there aren't enough people living in the immediate area to help balance things out. Another problem is that the street itself is run down and ugly looking.

The NFB development if it happens will be huge for Barrington even though it's only four floors. Right now the NFB building is the number one eyesore on the street.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 9:07 PM
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The only real way that downtown will grow and evolve is to add more people. Apparently the trillium has very few units left and the King's Wharf project is selling well (I am waiting for one of the taller buildings to come on the market to put in an offer).

With more people an evolution of downtown will occur:
  • You will see more people taking the ferry across the harbour to work;
  • Businesses that once struggled on the weekends will start seeing better business numbers and expand;
  • More NEW businesses will open up;
  • Downtown will start having vitality and life again because there will be people in it; all the time;
  • Transit service will be busy all week long versus just the rush hours or for special events.

That's just a quick list of things I could think of - but with more people in the core; lots of this will occur. If you take locations outside of the viewplanes or get rid of the Brightwood viewplane in Dartmouth; I could easily see adding at least 20,000 on the Halifax side and the same if not more on the Dartmouth side. Why that industrial parcel by King's Wharf - if redeveloped; alone could probably bring about 5 to 8,000.

Then if you add in redevelopment of areas such as Agricola Street, the Robie Street Car dealership and the quinpool road corridor - I suspect you could probably add another 15 to 20,000 in those areas too. With them being so close to the core; people would probably visit downtown more too.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2010, 9:16 PM
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Unfortunately with downtown retailers in Halifax there's been a bit of an obsession with attracting suburbanites and competing with suburban stores by offering parking and so on. I think that attitude's been really harmful to areas like Barrington. Barrington is never going to compete with Wal-Mart on the basis of cheap goods and free parking. It's also totally unreasonable to think that somebody living in Sackville is going to drive an extra hour whenever they want to do some shopping.

I agree that by far the best thing for the city right now is to get another 30,000-50,000 people living in the core.
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2010, 12:40 AM
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Unfortunately with downtown retailers in Halifax there's been a bit of an obsession with attracting suburbanites and competing with suburban stores by offering parking and so on. I think that attitude's been really harmful to areas like Barrington. Barrington is never going to compete with Wal-Mart on the basis of cheap goods and free parking. It's also totally unreasonable to think that somebody living in Sackville is going to drive an extra hour whenever they want to do some shopping.

I agree that by far the best thing for the city right now is to get another 30,000-50,000 people living in the core.
Its the same here in Calgary. 11th Avenue (also known as Electric avenue) has been trying to pull shoppers from the burbs with trendy flower and home decor stores. They are able to do it reasonably well because they can park on the various side streets or at the safeway parking lot near by.

The downside for Halifax is that there is much less on street parking available and the distribution of parking garages through downtown is a little off (at least in my mind) since you have Scotia Square, then the MetroPark and then City Centre Atlantic and that lot that will soon be the library.

If the retails in the main core blocks of Barrington Street want to attract those people; there would have to be some sort of parkade in the middle as well - oh whoops; isn't that the convention centre site? Oh silly me... haha.

Seriously though; if the convention centre offered public parking on the weekends, then they could have some chance.

I was doing some rough density calculations on the Quinpool, Agricola corridors. If the density of the parcels was 250 units/hectare and up; and you built at minimum of 10 stories - Agricola (between North and the commons) could have about 8,000 people and Quinpool would be about the same. If you pushed it up to 15 stories, about 10,000 and 20 was pushing 15,000. Now this is all rough math - but if both sites brought in 15,000 each; there is 30,000 new shoppers for the downtown core that could walk, bike or take transit to the stores.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2010, 12:25 AM
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Is this it?

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Old Posted Jul 17, 2010, 2:41 AM
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Is this it?
Yep. Ugly old thing. Should have had a date with a bulldozer a decade ago. Another waste of tax dollars, both to preserve the facade after it burned down and now to incorporate that undistinguished facade into a new red-brick faux-Victorian.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2010, 2:06 PM
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Yep. Ugly old thing. Should have had a date with a bulldozer a decade ago. Another waste of tax dollars, both to preserve the facade after it burned down and now to incorporate that undistinguished facade into a new red-brick faux-Victorian.
At least as an apartment it will be kept in good shape. I actually think that this thing has potential to be really nice looking once it's re-done.

Nice location as well.
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Old Posted Mar 7, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Yep. Ugly old thing. Should have had a date with a bulldozer a decade ago. Another waste of tax dollars, both to preserve the facade after it burned down and now to incorporate that undistinguished facade into a new red-brick faux-Victorian.
Still my view.
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Old Posted Jan 3, 2013, 3:13 AM
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According to the allnovascotia.com, the NFB redevelopment will be going ahead. The proposal is for 16 residential units contained within 5 storeys and 3,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. (source: Caryi Buys More Barrington, allnovascotia.com, Wed, Jan 2nd, 2013 edition).

I think this is great news. I think the NFB building is a great old building and the shell will be restored.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2010, 12:40 AM
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Yes, that is the NFB site.
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