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  #241  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2014, 10:47 PM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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With the rebranding of HRM to whatever it ends up being; I wonder if there will be some re-thought to the way HRM offices are setup? Right now there is a development office at Alderney and one at Bayer's Road; but the policy planners are in a separate office at Alderney just above the ferry terminal and not the Alderney Landing office building.

If there is some re-thought to maybe combining some of these functions again and centralizing say the planning and permit approvals folks, but keeping the building inspection offices spread out (some in Alderney, some at Bayer's Road and some in a central office downtown) it may spark the need for space in this building. I talked to some folks I know in HRM's accounts section and I few I know in some other parts (not planning) and they are crammed in like sardines apparently in Duke Tower.
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  #242  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2014, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
While there is obviously still value in urbanist thinking, and there will always be those who prefer that type of setting, one must postulate on whether the trend in the future might be for a more spread-out workforce that can work effectively from essentially "anyplace" in the country that they may want to live, i.e. Lunenburg, the valley, Trenton, Baddeck, or wherever, for those who may have tired of the "rat race" of the daily commute in traffic, busy subways, etc., associated with big city living.
There's some truth to this but it also hasn't played out the way people thought it would. It turns out that even if some can work remotely, there are still a lot of downsides to living in a sparsely populated area. Most people prefer the advantages of the city even when their work permits them to live wherever they can get decent internet access. This is particularly true for younger people (who like nightlife, want dating options, etc.) but it's also true for, say, elderly people who rely on good medical services or recent immigrants who tend to prefer places where they can find other people who speak their mother tongue. These factors partly explain why growth in Canada is happening in cities like Toronto and Calgary, not small towns like Baddeck, and they are part of the reason why Nova Scotia's efforts to concentrate growth in sparsely populated areas are doomed to fail.

What really is outdated, I think, is the notion that all the offices should go into single-use buildings in a CBD and that people should commute from office districts to residential districts. This planning model hasn't worked out very well. In the future I think we'll see more and more mixed-use. There will be more people living downtown and more people working in what used to be exclusively residential areas. This is actually just a return to the way things were prior to 1950 or so when cities regulations came in to artificially segregate different types of land use.
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  #243  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 12:18 AM
xanaxanax xanaxanax is offline
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I'm not sure if I'm even going to bother to acknowledge scootiaboys comment or whatever his username is. I think this is relevant to the discussion on Head Offices in Halifax
http://thechronicleherald.ca/busines...s-help-halifax
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  #244  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 12:31 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
The interesting aspect to this is while urbanists are continuing along the same old line of thinking that it's always best to cram everybody into the downtown areas as it's the central location from which to do business, there is another trend that has been developing for a long time with the advancement of communication technologies. There is an increasing number of people who are able to take advantage of working remotely, where costs are lower than the downtown core of a large city and presumably the surroundings are more desirable to them, while still being able to be in touch via VPN, "the cloud", etc., etc.

While there is obviously still value in urbanist thinking, and there will always be those who prefer that type of setting, one must postulate on whether the trend in the future might be for a more spread-out workforce that can work effectively from essentially "anyplace" in the country that they may want to live, i.e. Lunenburg, the valley, Trenton, Baddeck, or wherever, for those who may have tired of the "rat race" of the daily commute in traffic, busy subways, etc., associated with big city living.
Actually, the best and most innovative companies in the world are actually moving in precisely the opposite direction you're describing.

Google banned working remotely (ie from home).

Yahoo just made this move, following Google's lead.

Twitter discourage working from home as the company believes "there are significant tangible and intangible benefits when employees are working under the same roof."

Thus:

Quote:
"Teleworking: The myth of working from home"

Yahoo has banned its staff from "remote" working. After years of many predicting working from home as the future for everybody, why is it not the norm?

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21588760

These companies realized that you actually *want* everyone crammed together, because then work sites are more likely to be clusters of innovation and out of the box thinking, where people collaborate more, share ideas, and thus spur innovation.

Similarly, in terms of being an "urbanist", there's a reason why Google has offices in *cities* like Silicon Valley, San Fran, DC, New York City, Toronto, etc, and not Boise, Idaho; Dupo, Ill., or somewhere else in the middle of nowhere. It's why Twitter employs 1500 people in downtown San Fran and not Eureka. Why Tumblr and Etsy are in downtown NYC and not in Buffalo.

It's also why Amazon just set up a massive office right smack in downtown Seattle: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/us...l?pagewanted=2

Part of this, is also about innovation-- cities are clusters of educated workers, collaborators, public and private sector stakeholders, better access to capital; trade connections, travel networks, etc. The other part of the equation is that cities simply have more of what employees want, and so locating downtown can help attract and retain the best most talented workers. It's about forward thinking and building the best workforce.

We don't often do that in Nova Scotia.

That's why Google is Google and Sobeys is Sobeys.

Last edited by counterfactual; Apr 15, 2014 at 12:50 AM.
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  #245  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
With the rebranding of HRM to whatever it ends up being; I wonder if there will be some re-thought to the way HRM offices are setup? Right now there is a development office at Alderney and one at Bayer's Road; but the policy planners are in a separate office at Alderney just above the ferry terminal and not the Alderney Landing office building.

If there is some re-thought to maybe combining some of these functions again and centralizing say the planning and permit approvals folks, but keeping the building inspection offices spread out (some in Alderney, some at Bayer's Road and some in a central office downtown) it may spark the need for space in this building. I talked to some folks I know in HRM's accounts section and I few I know in some other parts (not planning) and they are crammed in like sardines apparently in Duke Tower.
Definitely. See my post above. You want to centralize those planning offices, to increase coordination, sharing, collaboration, and innovation. You want planners talking to the economic development staff talking to talk policy talking to land development staff.
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  #246  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 12:39 AM
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How so? What would they gain by moving to Scotia Square? What "senses" would it make?

Their CEO (and several other execs) live in Quebec and commute daily/weekly via private jet.

They have their own airport for their jets in Trenton, so runway availability is a non issue. If they were in Halifax, they'd have to fight it out with all the other users. Matter of fact their CEO spends as much time flying coast to coast as he does at head office.

Not only that ,but theyve made a huge investment in their new IT centre and new head office, let alone the 100's of high quality, trained staff there. The new CEO has said he has NO intentions of going anywhere.

And their based in STELLARTON, not "wherever". Try Google sometime....
If the point of Sobeys having a head office in Stellarton is so they can easily access a cheap airstrip, well, i'm real happy the CEO finds the location convenient for his "jets" but I wonder if it's the best strategy for the company and retaining employees.

Last edited by counterfactual; Apr 15, 2014 at 12:51 AM.
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  #247  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 3:03 AM
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The situation needs to be right for the move to happen. Rents need to at a level the company sees as competitive and a robust population base/healthy housing market near. You can't make a company move short of dictatorship, if its the jets, then its the jets. If the city is willing to chase them down then the helipad needs something more than a bus to make it a relevant option, along with some how getting Shearwater to become a municipal airport.

I'm down with downtown, the conditions need to be condusive to a healthy perpetuating downtown that draws as much as it creates.
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  #248  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 3:41 AM
scooby074 scooby074 is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
If the point of Sobeys having a head office in Stellarton is so they can easily access a cheap airstrip, well, i'm real happy the CEO finds the location convenient for his "jets" but I wonder if it's the best strategy for the company and retaining employees.
FYI Sobeys (Empire) does attract VERY good employees and tends to keep them until retirement. You dont get to be the second largest grocer in Canada with sales over $16 Billion without having good talent and a good working environment.

The airstrip is a nice fringe benefit no doubt, but absolutely NOT the only reason they are there by a long shot.

If you asked most of the people on here we should just shut down the rest of the province and move everybody to Barrington St. Not a balanced solution.
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  #249  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 5:06 AM
halifaxboyns halifaxboyns is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
Definitely. See my post above. You want to centralize those planning offices, to increase coordination, sharing, collaboration, and innovation. You want planners talking to the economic development staff talking to talk policy talking to land development staff.
I agree - Hamilton's Planning & Economic Development Department setup seems to me to be a logical manner of putting it together. Get policy/development in together with the economic development group - under one umbrella.

The main issue for HRM is resourcing - there has to be more resources (specially on the policy side) to get the work done. The Regional Centre Plan, all these community visioning plans. I'm curious to know just how many other plans are on the shelf waiting because the RCP is sucking up resources.

One thing our new GM did when he arrived was he asked for someone to research all the notices of motion from council for the last 10 years to see just how many we actually dealt with. Fortunately we have a good tracking system so (going from memory) i think there was only about a dozen missed out of about 100? Something like that? Which is pretty good and one project whipped out half of that...I'd be curious what the stats are for HRM.
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  #250  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 5:09 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
There's some truth to this but it also hasn't played out the way people thought it would. It turns out that even if some can work remotely, there are still a lot of downsides to living in a sparsely populated area. Most people prefer the advantages of the city even when their work permits them to live wherever they can get decent internet access. This is particularly true for younger people (who like nightlife, want dating options, etc.) but it's also true for, say, elderly people who rely on good medical services or recent immigrants who tend to prefer places where they can find other people who speak their mother tongue. These factors partly explain why growth in Canada is happening in cities like Toronto and Calgary, not small towns like Baddeck, and they are part of the reason why Nova Scotia's efforts to concentrate growth in sparsely populated areas are doomed to fail.

What really is outdated, I think, is the notion that all the offices should go into single-use buildings in a CBD and that people should commute from office districts to residential districts. This planning model hasn't worked out very well. In the future I think we'll see more and more mixed-use. There will be more people living downtown and more people working in what used to be exclusively residential areas. This is actually just a return to the way things were prior to 1950 or so when cities regulations came in to artificially segregate different types of land use.
Excellent points. Thanks for the reply.
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  #251  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 5:24 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
Actually, the best and most innovative companies in the world are actually moving in precisely the opposite direction you're describing.

Google banned working remotely (ie from home).

Yahoo just made this move, following Google's lead.

Twitter discourage working from home as the company believes "there are significant tangible and intangible benefits when employees are working under the same roof."

Thus:




These companies realized that you actually *want* everyone crammed together, because then work sites are more likely to be clusters of innovation and out of the box thinking, where people collaborate more, share ideas, and thus spur innovation.

Similarly, in terms of being an "urbanist", there's a reason why Google has offices in *cities* like Silicon Valley, San Fran, DC, New York City, Toronto, etc, and not Boise, Idaho; Dupo, Ill., or somewhere else in the middle of nowhere. It's why Twitter employs 1500 people in downtown San Fran and not Eureka. Why Tumblr and Etsy are in downtown NYC and not in Buffalo.

It's also why Amazon just set up a massive office right smack in downtown Seattle: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/us...l?pagewanted=2

Part of this, is also about innovation-- cities are clusters of educated workers, collaborators, public and private sector stakeholders, better access to capital; trade connections, travel networks, etc. The other part of the equation is that cities simply have more of what employees want, and so locating downtown can help attract and retain the best most talented workers. It's about forward thinking and building the best workforce.

We don't often do that in Nova Scotia.

That's why Google is Google and Sobeys is Sobeys.
I basically agree with what you are saying, though there are different lines of thinking on this topic. Typically, for companies the benefits come from cost savings and lost time due to illness (i.e. virus transfer) and commuting issues (i.e. due to weather), but as you mentioned there are other less tangible costs to not working in a common location.

Quote:
The Top 10 Workplace Trends Of 2013
2. Working from home becomes mainstream. We’ve heard some companies trusting their employees enough to let them work from home. In 2013, companies will realize the cost savings and the productivity increase and give their employees more flexibility. While in years past flexibility programs were viewed as a perk, they will become more standardized and expected. One of the best examples is Aetna. 47% of their 35,000 employees work from home and they have saved an estimated 15% to 25% on real estate costs at an annual savings of about $80 million.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschaw...rends-of-2013/

Just one example, but there are others out there.
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  #252  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 12:33 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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T These factors partly explain why growth in Canada is happening in cities like Toronto and Calgary, not small towns like Baddeck, and they are part of the reason why Nova Scotia's efforts to concentrate growth in sparsely populated areas are doomed to fail.
This is very true--despite how horribly congested the GTA is, and how increasingly difficult it is to commute into the centre of the city, there's still bucketloads of office development going up, enough to bolster a whole new small office district in the old rail lands south of the current CBD.

Working remotely will undoubtedly be part of the mix in future, but like businesses (banks, tech, etc) still seem to find value in clustering, not just in particular cities but even in particular parts of cities. The example of Cagary is illustrative: A downtown that's ultra-dense with office uses, despite that the rest of the city is almost uniformly low density (and less expensive to set up shop in). It seems like a bizarre arrangement, but that's just the way businesses cluster.

So imagining that white-collar employment will be spread throughout the province to replace the failing blue-collar industries extremely wishful thinking. We just have to accept that some towns--a lot of towns--are going to shrink, and that's okay. It's not just in Nova Scotia, of course, people have a lot of difficulty accepting changing growth patterns.

On the topic thread, however, it's still an open question if there'll be sufficient demand any time soon for International Place, so as others have said, turning it into a residential project would make a hell of a lot more sense. It'd also be a huge game-changer for Granville and may spur developers to agitate for an expediting of the Cogswell rebuild.
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  #253  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2014, 1:43 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by scooby074 View Post
FYI Sobeys (Empire) does attract VERY good employees and tends to keep them until retirement. You dont get to be the second largest grocer in Canada with sales over $16 Billion without having good talent and a good working environment.

The airstrip is a nice fringe benefit no doubt, but absolutely NOT the only reason they are there by a long shot.

If you asked most of the people on here we should just shut down the rest of the province and move everybody to Barrington St. Not a balanced solution.
I'm definitely not saying "shut down the rest of the province".

We're talking about the best location for head offices, headquarters, etc, for certain kinds of businesses.
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  #254  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2014, 7:20 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I basically agree with what you are saying, though there are different lines of thinking on this topic. Typically, for companies the benefits come from cost savings and lost time due to illness (i.e. virus transfer) and commuting issues (i.e. due to weather), but as you mentioned there are other less tangible costs to not working in a common location.



http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschaw...rends-of-2013/

Just one example, but there are others out there.
i think going forward, Flex work will be a perk/ calculated expense control measure. I worked remotely for over a year. there is an intangible benefit to having groups of people together- that ultimately saves the company money and results in better productivity. in a separated workforce, there is too much independence and information isnt shared as readily or easily leading to duplicated effort.

that said flex work can also let users be productive while waiting for a cable guy to showup between noon and 4, or their kid is sick. - so it can work as a perk. I Have dealt with organizations who turned to flex work for portions of their employees due to high real estate costs to give each a permanent desk - they worked from home, and Hoteling spaces provided when they were needed in the office. This was a Calculated financial decision however.
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  #255  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2014, 7:44 PM
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I think this is getting competently scrapped with the Cogswell Interchange makeover
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  #256  
Old Posted Jun 1, 2016, 3:55 AM
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Crombie REIT is rumoured to have purchased land near Scotia Square and Penhorn from Sobeys. This may be a sign that they intend to get started on International Place, or maybe it'll be another project.
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  #257  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2016, 2:33 AM
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Crombie REIT is rumoured to have purchased land near Scotia Square and Penhorn from Sobeys. This may be a sign that they intend to get started on International Place, or maybe it'll be another project.
Any updates on this? I'm really hoping this one goes forward.
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  #258  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2016, 5:33 PM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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Any updates on this? I'm really hoping this one goes forward.
No sale recorded for the Sobey properties at Penhorn since 2011 when a related party sale was concluded for the 2 adjacent properties.
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  #259  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2016, 8:51 PM
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Haven't heard anything about this since my last post.

There is the Westhill on Duke residential tower proposal so I guess that's their next development.
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  #260  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2016, 10:28 PM
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Haven't heard anything about this since my last post.

There is the Westhill on Duke residential tower proposal so I guess that's their next development.
Right. That one is also put on hold though, right?
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