Posted: Sep 29, 2010, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bankview, Calgary
Downtown of future on display
Symposium to bring clarity to jumble of new projects
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter
Wed, Sep 29 - 4:54 AM
The look of tomorrow’s downtown Halifax will be showcased at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia today.
"There’s a lot happening at the moment," James Hardy, the director of Fusion’s urban development action team, said in an interview Tuesday.
Fusion, a 2,000-member organization of young Halifax professionals, is staging the VivaCity Symposium, a showcase of more than 14 development projects planned or underway in Halifax, said Hardy, a commercial appraiser with Halifax’s Altus Group.
"It’s an opportunity for the public to get information from the developers first hand."
Development company officials will display illustrations and models of their projects and answer questions about them, Hardy said.
"It will be fairly informal."
The symposium, beginning at 5 p.m., will be held in the art galley lobby.
Bill Greenwood of Halkirk Properties, which will display plans for The Alexander condo at the Keith’s Brewery site, credited Fusion for its initiative.
"It’s nice to see younger people taking an interest in development activity in our city," he said Tuesday. "It’s encouraging for us."
Greenwood said the design of the 125-unit condo is still being fine-tuned but related restoration work has begun on the portico of nearby Keith’s Hall.
Halifax’s United Gulf Developments Ltd. will provide details on its TexPark development in downtown Halifax, known as the Twisted Sisters towers, said Patrick LeRoy, the company’s vice-president of operations.
"I fully endorse the idea of providing the public with information," he said, although he referred questions on the towers to United Gulf president Navid Saberi, who couldn’t be reached.
Saberi said in April that approval delays had put construction of the towers back 18 months.
United Gulf will also showcase its Lake Banook residential development and its mixed residential-commercial plan for the old Halifax West High School site in Fairview.
Halifax’s Armour Group will provide updates on its Waterside Centre development across from Historic Properties and its 2.8-hectare Queen’s Landing project, which will extend along Halifax’s waterfront from Novascotian Crystal to the Wave sculpture, said Stuart McCrea, Armour’s leasing and marketing director.
"It’s a great opportunity," he said of the symposium. "It helps bring clarity."
McCrea said the Waterside Centre poses engineering challenges related to its foundation and its proximity to the harbour.
"We had to do some investigating," he said.
But he said the project is moving ahead while Queen’s Landing, which includes a 250-room hotel and a 120,000-square-foot office building, is still at the planning stage.
The symposium will also hear from architect Morten Schmidt of Copenhagen’s Schmidt/hammer/lassen architects and Julia Rivard, CEO of Halifax’s SheepDogInc.ca.
Schmidt, part of the design team for Halifax’s new main library on the former Halifax Infirmary site, will discuss whether Halifax can learn from Copenhagen.
Rivard, whose web service company is a Google apps partner, will talk about how positive work spaces can nurture innovation and productivity.