From this weeks Dartmouth - Cole Harbour Weekly News Paper.
New development to bring out Dartmouth’s bright side
Halifax News Net
By Joanie Veitch – The Weekly News
At a coffee table in his Prince Street office, Roger Eckoldt spreads out the drawings of his new development at the lower end of Portland Street in downtown Dartmouth. He points out the name of the building — The Bright Side — with pride. Playing on the tired “Darkside” label that Dartmouth is often called, the name also captures the optimism with which Eckoldt views the downtown area.
“I’ve been living and doing business in downtown Dartmouth for over 30 years. It’s a nice place. Halifax gets all the attention, but downtown Dartmouth’s time is coming up. The area has a lot of unused potential.”
Eckoldt bought the 19 Portland St. building three years ago. A former law office, it is now under construction to become a five-storey, mixed-use building with retail on the ground floor and both residential and commercial suites on the upper levels.
Eckoldt said he draws his inspiration for the building from the great cities of Europe, where five- to six-storey buildings with commercial operations on the street level and flats upstairs is the norm.
“There people live and work and shop in the one area. Up until recently, our zoning here was for people to live in one part of town and the commercial in another. That is changing now,” he said.
As the penthouse suite will be his retirement home, Eckoldt is pulling out all the stops for this luxury building. Architect Ted Mitchell, with Connor Architects and Planners Ltd., is working with engineers and builders from Lindsay Construction to incorporate many green-building design concepts, such as a geothermal heating system and photo-electric solar panels to reduce the ecological footprint of the building.
Although Eckoldt declined comment on the total cost of the building, he said the four 500-foot holes being bored into the earth’s core costs $12,000 each to drill.
Adding to the design features, the narrow lot — which is 34 feet wide and 90 feet long — increases the construction budget.
“You build a building in the suburbs and you just take in a bulldozer and go to it. Here we have older buildings on either side of the property and you have to spend days chipping out eight feet of rock for the basement. That alone cost around $80,000 … I will never get a rent in this building to pay for the capital costs,” Eckoldt said.
The exterior of the building will be brick and steel, with a sloped copper-coloured roof (designed to catch the sun and be seen shining brightly from the Halifax side of the harbour, another reason for the “Bright Side” name) and 30- to 40-foot terraces with glass fronts. The street level storefront will be stone, with an upper mezzanine.
The third and fourth storeys will each house two 900-square foot units, suitable for either commercial or residential use.
“It’s going to be a major improvement for the area,” said Ursula Prossegger, Eckoldt’s daughter and manager with Urchin Property Management Inc. “We’re hoping it will provide incentive to other property owners in the area to invest in their properties also.”
Urchin Holdings owns and manages about 60,000 square feet of commercial and office space in the downtown area.
The Bright Side building is scheduled to be completed this winter.