Originally Posted by someone123
It's easy to imagine a highrise building on the Ben's site with lots of parking either underground or in a parking structure at the back of the lot with retail in front and an entrance off of Quinpool.
Parking structures don't have to be ugly, though unfortunately that's the only variety that exists in Halifax (see: MetroPark).
They could eliminate on-street parking on Quinpool, put in reversing lanes like at the rotary or bridge, then widen the sidewalks somewhat and put in trees between pedestrians and cars. That would likely be a better solution for everybody than what currently exists. Add in a dozen or so mid-sized infill buildings with underground parking and you'd have a really successful street. Quinpool is doing okay right now but it is a little quiet, which is to be expected when you have single family dwellings nearby with limitations on apartments and slowly shrinking household sizes.
KeithP> I wonder how much of the soon to be former RCMP site will have to be gobbled up for the Bayers Road widening?
Someone123> I somewhat agree with you on Metropark. It's a step up from the parkade that was where the Twisted Sisters will be; but it still falls down. You can design them quite nicely with retail on the ground floor - although I think if you were going to do a parkade and still have reversing lanes for peak hours - you will need to eliminate access off of Quinpool completely during peak hours (let alone any other time) - in addition to parking (at least in my opinion). I would think it would be better to encourage the mixed use buildings in the entire block between Quinpool and Pepperell (between Preston and Vernon Streets) and allow shared access off Pepperell Street for vehicles. The 'front half' of the block facing the street can have the commercial component with residential above and then blocks behind can share a driveway and have low rise residential (say 5 stories) facing the smaller homes.
Perhaps the parkade at the corner of Quinpool and Vernon where an existing strip mall is?
In the concept I did up, I saw the mall redeveloping as well. Opening up more opportunity for another residential tower (or two). I'm thinking demolish the existing mall component, but leave the existing residential. Dig out the parking lot to build more parking below grade (2 stories, plus at grade level) and then a redesigned commercial space at the street. Combine this with improved sidewalk as previously suggested, more trees, better bus stops and 2 more residential towers, I think you have some real density going here. I'd also add that the 4 storey buildings in the back should also increase or be re-designed to be something a bit stronger, but with low density right behind it - nothing too big (say 7 to 10 stories with the building stepped to it's maximum height).
Has there been any decision on the St. Patrick's school site? That could be a huge building lot for 2 high towers of mixed use.
I was thinking of a way that could inspire good design form through zoning the other night and reading about bonusing methods used in other zoning based Cities. This might be an area that could inspire some much needed public realm improvements while achieving certain densities and then not having to go through a development agreement - eliminating an appeal, but still maybe use the new planning committee to be something more than just downtown.
What I was thinking was creating a specific mixed use zoning district where all the typical uses that you would want to see along the street (including big retail stores); you'd have to right rules to make the design interesting - articulation, maybe specific materials and size limitations for things like big box retail so it didn't dominate - but then for building height - you allow an as of right minimum height of say 10 stories and then an as of right maximum height of 15 stories. Then if you wanted to max out your height and density to say 20 stories; you'd have to do thinks like build to say leed: silver or gold, contribute to public realm improvements, contribute to the building of a common use parkade, donate money for park improvements or local community improvements, green roofs, solar panels, etc. Instead of the Development Officer deciding if what you did was good to get the max height - the planning committee they've setup would. It would be a technical presentation by someone in Planning, then the developer could answer questions - they'd comment on design and could approve it with tweeks as needed. The problem is that you'd have to do form based zoning - which isn't easy to do. A DA would be great because its all a contract; but then there is that appeal again.
You could also knock the numbers down if 20 stories was too high for people; say the max height is 15 and then the as of right limits would be 5 to 10?
The mixed use block could continue down the north side of Quinpool and include the entire block from Yale to Quinpool. But only the lots facing Quinpool on all the way down to Elm, but I would encourage residential on the south side from Connaught all the way up the mixed use area which could start Beech and run east. With the two infill condo buildings on Pepperell at Oxford, I'd say that style development would work all down Pepperell and all down the south side of Quinpool to Connaught and along Oxford Street up to Oak.