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-   -   [Halifax] The Keep | 27 m | 8 fl | Completed (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=201358)

Drybrain Oct 30, 2013 2:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 6320247)
I understand what you are getting at but it is easy to overdo the smalltown-Halifax angle. If you were to transport Fenwick or Park Vic to Vancouver's West End they would still be prominent buildings. The Empire Landmark Hotel towers over the western end of Robson Street and it is less than 10 metres taller than what Fenwick will be once it is redeveloped.

...

The same thing goes with the city's growth rate. A lot of people in Halifax are under the impression that the city is not really growing and that there's no pressing need for new infrastructure like transit. Meanwhile, the reality is that the city's infrastructure today has to support about 20,000 more people than it did 5 years ago.

I know what you're saying—there's just a certain segment of people who have a real high-rise hunger, and say things like “Let's pack the Cogswell site with 40-storey towers” and I have to wonder if they have an understanding of real-estate economics. (Skye was a great example—people decried the city for not approving it, but it would've been market oversaturation anyway.) Towers are good, but I don't subscribe to the idea that putting in six storey buildings is a way to get people warmed up to the idea of taller buildings to come. Six to eight storey buildings are good in and of themselves.

FuzzyWuz Oct 31, 2013 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6320273)
...(Skye was a great example—people decried the city for not approving it, but it would've been market oversaturation anyway.) ...

Is that really true? And if so why isn't the BOC combined with the Roy the same kind of oversaturation? I'm quite sure just the BOC redevelopment has more units planned than the Skye towers would have had. And the Cunard block is coming up as well.

Jstaleness Oct 31, 2013 12:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by teddifax (Post 6320256)
The original plan for what is now Quinpool Towers was to have 4, 40 storey towers in the corners on top of a huge pad. This of course was shot down. It would have been FAR better than the ugly tower that was eventually built.

Wow! I never knew this. This could have been really cool or we might have hated it today.

ILoveHalifax Oct 31, 2013 12:21 AM

From what I understand Skye was supposed to be a little smaller and at a lower price point than our usual condos/apartments. I suspect it would have filled up quite fast if the price was right.

Drybrain Oct 31, 2013 12:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FuzzyWuz (Post 6321551)
Is that really true? And if so why isn't the BOC combined with the Roy the same kind of oversaturation? I'm quite sure just the BOC redevelopment has more units planned than the Skye towers would have had. And the Cunard block is coming up as well.

How could BoC, at 21 storeys, have more units than Skye, at a total of 96 storeys in two towers?

BoC will have about 300 units, and Roy probably less, since it's "ultra luxury" and the units will presumably be bigger. They'll also be coming on to the market at different times. Skye would've been 600 unit all at once. Estimates are that the entire HRM needs 750-800 new housing units a year. Skye would've put almost all those in one place at the same time. It would've been bad planning to let it happen.

And as a who's who of the local planning and development community argued, Skye would've set a crazy precedent and rendered the new planning regime meaningless, and, indeed, overcrowded the market for at least a while. It's good that it's dead--we're certainly not hurting for development, anyway!

someone123 Oct 31, 2013 1:15 AM

750-800 is off by a factor of 2 or more. The city has been growing by around 4,000 people per year lately while the average household size has been shrinking. On top of this, units are sometimes torn down or replaced. Even if the population growth were 0 there would be demand for new apartments every year.

Another factor here is that more and more people want to live on the peninsula. We don't know how many because up until recently it has been hard to build housing there.

Southwest is planning both the BoC tower and Cunard. Combined they are about the same scale that Skye would have been, and it is entirely possible that the two Skye towers could have been put on the market and built at different times. They may or may not have been desirable but I don't think they were nearly as far-fetched as a lot of people suggested.

RyeJay Oct 31, 2013 1:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6320273)
I know what you're saying—there's just a certain segment of people who have a real high-rise hunger, and say things like “Let's pack the Cogswell site with 40-storey towers” and I have to wonder if they have an understanding of real-estate economics.

Really?... Well: Let's pack the Cogswell site with 40-storey towers.

And just like King's Wharf that must also bear the realities of the real-estate market, the towers would be built over a planned duration of time that would most likely be subject to changes in completion dates and pricing.

Hali87 Oct 31, 2013 1:52 AM

There could be advantages to filling Cogswell with not-40 storey buildings though, in that it would fill in sooner, reconnecting downtown with the North End sooner. I get what Drybrain is saying - given the hypothetical choice between developing Cogswell with 8-15 storey buildings over a period of 5 years, or 40 storey buildings over a period of 20 years, some people would probably choose the latter, especially because in 10 years, once we have 2 40 storey buildings, that will set a precedent for a 50 storey building!

In other words, some people seem to value building height over most other factors. I guess, this being "skyscraperpage.com", this is understandable, but for me, height is more of a means to an end, with both advantages and disadvantages, and not so much a desired end result in and of itself. Again, I realize not everyone agrees, which I think was the original point.

Drybrain Oct 31, 2013 1:58 AM

Okay guys, I'm not gonna argue. My feeling is that Halifax can support a decent number of tall buildings, no doubt, but it's not the kind of market that's going to support, say, a whole high-rise residential district at any time soon.

But I guess part of this is just that I don't care about skyscrapers, or skylines--I used to, especially when I was a teenager in Calgary. I thought that city's exploding skyline was so cool. But somewhere along the way I just stopped caring much (unless the skyscraper in question was really, really awesome, of course).

EDIT: Just saw what Hali87 posted. Agree totally--height is a means to an end, not an end in itself. For some people, skyscrapers are symbols of progress and prosperity and are must-haves for a modern city. For me, they're just tools in the urban toolkit. They have to be deployed when and if they make sense, not just 'cause they're cool. (And I really react negatively when I read people suggesting, as someone did a while ago here, that the fine-grained, historical housing stock surrounding the Commons should be knocked down for "high-rises, baby!" I think, "Jesus, when did Robert Moses start posting here, and isn't he dead?")

Hali87 Oct 31, 2013 2:08 AM

Case in point:

Quote:

The original plan for what is now Quinpool Towers was to have 4, 40 storey towers in the corners on top of a huge pad. This of course was shot down. It would have been FAR better than the ugly tower that was eventually built.
Why would this have been far better?

someone123 Oct 31, 2013 2:16 AM

I agree that it would be better for Cogswell to be developed sooner with shorter buildings.

Architecture or aesthetics aside, it can make sense to have taller buildings in areas where it isn't desirable or possible to develop a large percentage of the land area. This is the case in much of the city since there are so many untouchable residential areas, small-scale heritage buildings, and public spaces.

Another advantage of building taller is that it is possible to build economically viable developments with larger setbacks that let more sunlight through to other buildings and to the street. This was one motivating factor behind many of the newer, taller buildings in Vancouver; they probably would not have been better for the city had they been built as shorter buildings with more square feet per floor.

RyeJay Oct 31, 2013 2:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hali87 (Post 6321680)
There could be advantages to filling Cogswell with not-40 storey buildings though, in that it would fill in sooner, reconnecting downtown with the North End sooner. I get what Drybrain is saying - given the hypothetical choice between developing Cogswell with 8-15 storey buildings over a period of 5 years, or 40 storey buildings over a period of 20 years, some people would probably choose the latter, especially because in 10 years, once we have 2 40 storey buildings, that will set a precedent for a 50 storey building!

There are skyscraper enthusiasts who desire for more height just to get to that next level. For the Cogswell site, that "level" is capped by the Citadel ramparts. There will be no 50 (or even 40) -storey buildings.

I simply want to use the relatively conservative volume of permissible development space the Cogswell site makes available. Even though it may seem distant, the depletion of empty sites in the downtown will be reality. Eventually, increasing density in the core is going to be a challenge.

Is there need for the Cogswell site to develop entirely in order to successfully reconnect the downtown to the North End -- or could one project be the vital thread? We don't know without proposals, and at this point we still don't have an agreed upon street grid.

RyeJay Oct 31, 2013 3:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6321687)
Okay guys, I'm not gonna argue. My feeling is that Halifax can support a decent number of tall buildings, no doubt, but it's not the kind of market that's going to support, say, a whole high-rise residential district at any time soon.

You're not arguing. What you have to say is insightful.

The market in Halifax cannot support a district of highrise residential buildings anytime soon, I agree. Cogswell isn't coming down anytime soon either. By the time it does I think it's fair to say that this newly available land will be one of the downtown's last sites.

halifaxboyns Oct 31, 2013 2:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6320273)
I know what you're saying—there's just a certain segment of people who have a real high-rise hunger, and say things like “Let's pack the Cogswell site with 40-storey towers” and I have to wonder if they have an understanding of real-estate economics. (Skye was a great example—people decried the city for not approving it, but it would've been market oversaturation anyway.) Towers are good, but I don't subscribe to the idea that putting in six storey buildings is a way to get people warmed up to the idea of taller buildings to come. Six to eight storey buildings are good in and of themselves.

I don't think that is necessarily true. Several friends of mine are in real estate and although we don't have the stats to prove it; the general feeling is that Halifax is under supplied when it comes to condoes/apartments. My assumption would be that because of the general push back of groups like the HT; most ended up out in the burbs or not building at all - but in the core, there are way less condos on a percentage basis than there should be.

I remember looking for a condo in Halifax out of curiosity and if I wanted to be downtown, there wasn't much to choose from. Even in Dartmouth there wasn't much...so I don't know if approving Skye really would've been over saturation or not.

If Quinpool had received a few 40 storey towers then the numbers may have been slightly different because of the saturation of four such towers, but we will never know thanks to the likes of groups like the HT.

I would just add that frankly, if they had combined 2 of the 40 storey towers into something higher I would've been happy. Granted, we will likely not get anything like Aqua (Chicago - 80 stories).

Drybrain Oct 31, 2013 4:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by halifaxboyns (Post 6322029)
I don't think that is necessarily true. Several friends of mine are in real estate and although we don't have the stats to prove it; the general feeling is that Halifax is under supplied when it comes to condoes/apartments. My assumption would be that because of the general push back of groups like the HT; most ended up out in the burbs or not building at all - but in the core, there are way less condos on a percentage basis than there should be.

I think the downtown area is under-supplied, but I don't think it can be pinned on the HT. They cause headaches, but they're just not influential enough to kill projects. It doesn't seem like city staff approve/deny anything based on their input. I think they get blamed for a lack of development out of proportion to their actual efficacy.

My feeling is that the lack of inner city development has to do with the fact that Halifax was a bit late to the game with the trend back toward urban living, and then when it did start to happen, there was a recession to contend with.

With Roy, BoC, King's Wharf, Discovery Centre starting soon, the escalating number of North End mid-rise projects under construction and planned, and the smattering of smaller projects happening--in addition to recently completed stuff like Trillium, etc.--the lack of new inner-city housing units is going to be big-time corrected in the next couple of years.

I don't have the stats either, but I wouldn't be surprised if the next five years sees more inner-city residential construction that the previous 20. (Wild card guesstimate, but it'd be cool to see numbers.)

someone123 Oct 31, 2013 4:54 PM

It has changed now because of HbD but in the past it was very common for the HT or other groups (basically all consisting of the same people) to delay projects by years by appealing them to the NSUARB. There is no question that this held back development, and it probably added to the expenses of the projects that were built.

It is hard to overemphasize how dysfunctional the city's approval process was a few years ago.

I don't really agree that there was a lack of interest in downtown living in the past after maybe 2000 or so because there was a steady stream of major residential proposals, and those that were built were successful. If demand were the limiting factor we'd have seen a bunch of approved but unbuilt proposals, and that never really happened. The high property values on the peninsula also suggest that people want to live there.

Drybrain Oct 31, 2013 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 6322241)
It has changed now because of HbD but in the past it was very common for the HT or other groups (basically all consisting of the same people) to delay projects by years by appealing them to the NSUARB. There is no question that this held back development, and it probably added to the expenses of the projects that were built.


Ah, see I don't have a long enough memory in the city to know that. Interesting. Explains a lot of the negativity around said groups, then.

But, things are clearly changing now, so onwards and (where appropriate) upwards!

Hali87 Oct 31, 2013 9:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RyeJay (Post 6321724)
Is there need for the Cogswell site to develop entirely in order to successfully reconnect the downtown to the North End -- or could one project be the vital thread? We don't know without proposals, and at this point we still don't have an agreed upon street grid.

I would say that one project + x amount of vacant space would not do as good a job of connecting the two areas as developing the space entirely. I guess the alternative would be some kind of creative temporary green space like the community gardens by the Infirmary or the "beach" next to Bishop's Landing (or parking).

Drybrain Oct 31, 2013 11:01 PM

I think a proper, tighter street grid from the International Place site at the north end of Granville, up to Cogswell and even where Water Street jogs westward, is necessary. Barrington should become a proper street--a contemporary version of its urban main street function downtown.

The one or two towers + empty land would add residents and density, but I think there would still be a visual barrier between the two areas that would prevent people from strolling through. A continual street grid is necessary to lead people up--if you go anywhere that there's a grid break, in any city, it tends to immediately disrupt foot traffic. I'm sure a lot of people (tourists, etc) don't have any idea there's anything worth visiting north of downtown, because from that whole area, it just looks like a bunch of parking and concrete.

I'd envision something more like Toronto's Pan Am Village, or Vancouver's Olympic Village. To me, this is a thousand times more exciting than a cluster of towers. It's a place to be, not simply a building to look at.

(If possible, the horrible, horrible, horrible parkade wrapped around the BDC building has to go as well.)

Dmajackson Apr 3, 2014 2:20 AM

Cyclesmith to roll down road
April 4th, 2014
BILL POWER BUSINESS REPORTER

http://thechronicleherald.ca/sites/d...LI5767C.11.jpg
Mark Beaver is co-owner of Cyclesmith in Halifax. The Quinpool Road building where the shop has operated for nearly two decades is being turned into a condominium development.

Quote:

Halifax’s Cyclesmith Inc. is gearing up for a move from Quinpool Road into new digs on Agricola Street this fall with mixed feelings, co-owner Mark Beaver said Wednesday.

“Cyclesmith has been on Quinpool in two different locations since 1986 and we would prefer not to move, but this building is to be demolished for redevelopment and we’re making way for progress,” Beaver said of the change.

Benefits of the relocation are becoming clear as the new and expanded Cyclesmith shop on Agricola Street — within the confines of a rebuilt Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. store — takes shape.

...
Read More : thechronicleherald.ca

I have a bias but IMO this location is a great step forward for the company. Agricola Street is heavily used by cyclists, there is plenty of space in the renovated NSLC building, and there is another bicycle retailer next door which will increase competition.


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