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-   -   [Halifax] RBC Waterside Centre | 37 m | 9 fl | Completed (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=144928)

-Harlington- Aug 6, 2011 1:23 PM

Maybe this can finally get started and not look like a frickin war zone .

fenwick16 Aug 6, 2011 1:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Empire (Post 5370861)
Barrington St. is a registered heritage district so funding is easier to justify. Ben McCrea began this project by threatening to demolish all of the registered heritage buildings on site so he isn't winning any high fives from the funding department.

I pointed out that Barrington Street is a heritage district in several previous posts. However, these are just semantics, all heritage buildings should have tax incentives.

To be factual, Ben McCrea started with the Waterside proposal, he pointed out some time ago that he had the right to demolish the buildings instead. But instead of demolishing the buildings he will spend significantly more money to restore much of the buildings.

someone123 Aug 6, 2011 6:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fenwick16 (Post 5370881)
However, these are just semantics, all heritage buildings should have tax incentives.

I think it can even be harmful to focus on "heritage districts". It's easy for them to become about making everything quaint looking rather than actually preserving older buildings. There is also a sense that buildings outside of heritage districts are unimportant -- it's okay to tear down the Kelly Building or BMO at Spring Garden and Queen because they are not first-rate heritage buildings in heritage districts. That may be, but they add a lot of character to their respective streets and are not very difficult to work into a new development.

Anyway, I hope this moves forward soon.

halifaxboyns Aug 7, 2011 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 5371041)
I think it can even be harmful to focus on "heritage districts". It's easy for them to become about making everything quaint looking rather than actually preserving older buildings. There is also a sense that buildings outside of heritage districts are unimportant -- it's okay to tear down the Kelly Building or BMO at Spring Garden and Queen because they are not first-rate heritage buildings in heritage districts. That may be, but they add a lot of character to their respective streets and are not very difficult to work into a new development.

I tend to agree with both someone and Fenwick. A tax credit to preserve heritage buildings should be applied region wide - not just to the Halifax core. There may be some historic buildings that would be worth saving on the Dartmouth side - but they wouldn't qualify. That's hardly fair.

Hopefully this project can move forward. I will say this though: The Stephen Avenue heritage area in Calgary is quite nice - I rather like it. But knowing how some of the zoning works around it; people would be shocked to know that certain pars of the area could be redeveloped into another 'bow' like tower.

Empire Aug 7, 2011 2:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fenwick16 (Post 5370881)
I pointed out that Barrington Street is a heritage district in several previous posts. However, these are just semantics, all heritage buildings should have tax incentives.

To be factual, Ben McCrea started with the Waterside proposal, he pointed out some time ago that he had the right to demolish the buildings instead. But instead of demolishing the buildings he will spend significantly more money to restore much of the buildings.

I have been fighting for tax breaks for heritage restoration for years. Not only for registered heritage properties but buildings of heritage merit as well. The judge of that merit would be planning staff or perhaps the Heritage Advisory Committee. I also feel that registered heritage buildings should be exempt from demolition, which would remove the threat of demolition from Waterside.

OldDartmouthMark Dec 10, 2011 6:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 5334172)
I guess, but why would they demolish the properties immediately if this was the plan?

I can only speculate about motives but I think there is a tendency for developers to destroy heritage buildings as soon as possible to eliminate the possibility of preservation, which is always something brought up at council. Once the heritage buildings are gone there's one less reason to vote against awarding a development agreement.

Ultimately I believe the problem here rests about 90% with the HRM's extremely weak heritage regulations and lack of financial support for heritage buildings. I do not think that the Armour Group acted in the best interests of the city but that is not their responsibility. It is the job of the HRM.

The saddest part is that these weren't even derelict buildings. They had tenants. Now they're empty. I wonder what visitors think when they see this sort of thing. A couple blocks up on Barrington we have the same situation. The empty facade of the NFB building that has sat for 20 years. Downtown Halifax from Barrington to Lower Water reminds me very much of the downtowns of struggling industrial cities in the Midwest. Those cities have an excuse -- they've lost tons of industry and population. What's the excuse in Halifax? There is none. It's just horrendously managed.

:iagree: Well said.

Too bad that these buildings weren't left alone, given their current state. Now all other possibilities are gone with only two possible futures remaining: build a glass box up through the middle of them or tear down what remains. The second option makes me feel a little sick inside.

Hopefully something will happen soon as the "bombed out" shells are now an eyesore rather than the legitimate heritage buildings that they once were. One can only imagine what tourists think when they walk up from Historic properties and see this mess. Oh well, maybe they'll see Baton Rouge and go that way instead... that type of deal is what should have happened to those properties, IMHO.

Jstaleness Dec 10, 2011 2:02 PM

So the cold water cooling system looks like it was approved in August of this year. What is the current hold up? Wasn't Ben or whatever his name was complaining about how long the city took? Did he loose all the tenants he lined up? Just curious as to why because this site is still sitting there waiting to collapse in on itself.

Empire Dec 10, 2011 3:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jstaleness (Post 5511561)
So the cold water cooling system looks like it was approved in August of this year. What is the current hold up? Wasn't Ben or whatever his name was complaining about how long the city took? Did he loose all the tenants he lined up? Just curious as to why because this site is still sitting there waiting to collapse in on itself.

My guess is that it had nothing to do with cold water and everything to do with the Convention Centre. The CC is vying for the same tenants and they will get them long before Waterside. Also, Armour is involved with Queens Landing so that may be more attractive in the short term.

Armour has what they want for now. Because they ripped apart the registered heritage buildings on site the pressure to renovate them was eliminated and also they will get a lower tax bill as a reward from a short sighted, weak kneed, walking train wreck of an HRM planning dept. This happens over and over again and council/planning just let it slide.

Now Armour has a perfect property to play the speculating game with. Let it sit for ten years and let the value increase with zero maintenance and the lowest taxes possible.....

Assessment NS shows 1801 Hollis St. listed at $32,841,200 for 2010 and the entire Waterside site at $230,000 for 2010. It also shows the assessment dropping after demolition. It's hard to imagine this site would only be assessed at $230,000. The assessment should have remained the same after demolition thereby removing some of the incentive to demolish registered heritage properties in the historic heart of the city.

Armour should be slapped with an unsightly property citation.

someone123 Dec 10, 2011 8:01 PM

I suspect this would turn out a lot better if it were switched over to apartments.

ScovaNotian Dec 10, 2011 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Empire (Post 5511618)
Armour should be slapped with an unsightly property citation

They'd simply tear down the facades, wouldn't they?

Empire Dec 11, 2011 12:14 AM

Deleted post

sdm Dec 11, 2011 1:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Empire (Post 5511618)
My guess is that it had nothing to do with cold water and everything to do with the Convention Centre. The CC is vying for the same tenants and they will get them long before Waterside. Also, Armour is involved with Queens Landing so that may be more attractive in the short term.

Armour has what they want for now. Because they ripped apart the registered heritage buildings on site the pressure to renovate them was eliminated and also they will get a lower tax bill as a reward from a short sighted, weak kneed, walking train wreck of an HRM planning dept. This happens over and over again and council/planning just let it slide.

Now Armour has a perfect property to play the speculating game with. Let it sit for ten years and let the value increase with zero maintenance and the lowest taxes possible.....

Assessment NS shows 1801 Hollis St. listed at $32,841,200 for 2010 and the entire Waterside site at $230,000 for 2010. It also shows the assessment dropping after demolition. It's hard to imagine this site would only be assessed at $230,000. The assessment should have remained the same after demolition thereby removing some of the incentive to demolish registered heritage properties in the historic heart of the city.

Armour should be slapped with an unsightly property citation.

McCrea's beef as it related to the CC was with the Queens landing project, not Waterside.

As for delays I can understand Armour's side on this although I think everyone can agree (even the developer has stated it in the media) the site looks terrible. That said, it’s hard to make contractual (lease) commitments to tenants if they are unsure if they have the cooling as proposed or anything for that fact. It appears the issues related to this system seems to be behind them I suspect they have chosen to go in spring time, rather then start and be in the middle of the winter trying to pour concrete. Who knows, they may not be able to find a crane or form work people as its well know that industry is at max capacity these days.

Armour started the development only to find out that the easements and encroachment had to be filled and couldn’t be granted through the development process. Instead of speeding things through, it got caught in red tape.

And to point out something Empire, the lot is actually assessed and taxed at a value of $1,878,800. You might want to check your facts a little closer. Giving them a fine would accomplish nothing in my opinion.

My bet is we see this go in the spring, although the vacancy rates downtown will be the worse they have been in 10-12 years in “A” class, with more expected in the b class as well. If anything, the smaller buildings like Waterside and are the ones who will find tenants easier then the CC. In the end who knows, things aren't great in the downtown with regards to attracting new tenants.

someone123 Dec 11, 2011 3:40 AM

Yeah, part of the problem with fines and restrictive heritage regulation is that they make the downtown even less competitive. This stuff is not an issue in the suburbs.

I would rather see a positive approach taken with the downtown that would involve more financial incentives/bonuses and more public investment in things like transit. I believe that the downtown core would be much better off if it were served by a light rail system and had a larger local population. The proper way to sell the downtown is as an area with a good quality of life where you can live in a nice condo, have a pleasant walk to work, live close to all amenities, etc. Spring Garden Road is pretty good for that but the Waterside area is not.

I didn't know there was the possibility of this moving forward in the spring. To some degree I would guess that a small building under construction or recently completed would be an easier sell to tenants, but maybe the financing and construction doesn't work out with commitments ahead of time.

Empire Dec 11, 2011 1:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 5512093)
.....

And to point out something Empire, the lot is actually assessed and taxed at a value of $1,878,800. You might want to check your facts a little closer. .....

Thank you for pointing that out....The Property Valuation Services Corporation shows the values below. It does seem to be an error in the database. Where did you get your info.?

PVSC
http://www.nsassessmentonline.ca/ias...x?mode=ADDRESS

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q...sideassess.jpg

sdm Dec 11, 2011 4:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Empire (Post 5512419)
Thank you for pointing that out....The Property Valuation Services Corporation shows the values below. It does seem to be an error in the database. Where did you get your info.?

PVSC
http://www.nsassessmentonline.ca/ias...x?mode=ADDRESS

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q...sideassess.jpg

Nova Scotia Property information system.

planarchy Dec 11, 2011 4:56 PM

Assessment for the property sure has increased:
2009 - $624,000 / 2.9%
2010 - $509,300 / -22.5%
2011 - $1,878,800 / 72.9%

Empire Dec 11, 2011 5:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by planarchy (Post 5512514)
Assessment for the property sure has increased:
2009 - $624,000 / 2.9%
2010 - $509,300 / -22.5%
2011 - $1,878,800 / 72.9%

Interesting.....but it dropped from $624,000 to $509,300 after demolition. If the buildings had not been demolished the 2011 number of $1,878,800 would no doubt be much, much higher.

Empire Dec 12, 2011 5:21 AM

These facades have survived some very high winds this fall so they must be reasonably secured. If it is some time before the property is developed the facades may hang in there.

If the hotel market was better this would be a great location for a hotel or maybe a high end boutique hotel....It would be nice to see the city give Armour a big tax break to help the progress.

someone123 Jan 6, 2012 4:52 AM

There was a quote in ANS tonight from Peter Kelly saying that he's "been led to believe" that Waterside will be moving forward this year.

Could be a very big year for construction in Halifax. Hopefully the Nova Centre will also get underway.

Above that was a slightly annoying article about the closure of J. W. Doull and Back Pages. The author stated that it's "another sign that the retail appeal of Barrington and Spring Garden is inexorably ebbing away". Next to that they had another article about some LuluLemon-related store opening up that will probably be paying some of the highest rents ever on SGR. Book stores are closing because of Amazon and other online book sellers/printers.

Can't wait for the pronouncements of the death of the downtown when HMV on Spring Garden Road closes down.

I will be particularly amused if the NSP building, Waterside, the library, and the Nova Centre all go up but we still get articles about how there has not been a development downtown in 20 years.

JET Jan 6, 2012 12:58 PM

sad news about the bookstores closing.


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