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sdm Aug 6, 2008 4:33 PM

Lots of press about this one today

Council petitioned to save historic buildings
Historic landmarks face wrecking ball to make way for office space
JON TATTRIE, METRO HALIFAX
August 06, 2008 05:00




Historic Properties landmarks O’Carroll’s and Sweet Basil’s dining room will be demolished, if a Halifax developer gets its way.


The Armour Group wants to raze the two Upper Water Street buildings and construct a nine-storey glass-and-steel office building. A replica facade of the O’Carroll’s front would be attached to the tower, according to the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. Three other buildings in the central block face partial demolition.


Trust president Phil Pacey says the move would be disastrous.


“The people of HRM are strongly attached to our heritage buildings,” he said yesterday. “Over and over … (people have told us) what a waste it would be if they were lost.”


His group is campaigning against the plans. Over the Natal Day weekend, they collected 683 signed postcards asking HRM council to protect the buildings. Those were presented to council last night.


“We are hopeful council will listen to the concerns expressed,” Pacey said. He added the trust is not against development, but would rather see heritage buildings renovated. He cited work done on the nearby Morris Tea building and the Masonic Hall on Barrington Street as good examples.


“We would love to see additional office space downtown,” Pacey said.


“There are lots of opportunities where people can build office space without destroying heritage buildings. If someone really wants brand-new space, they can certainly build on a vacant lot.”


John Chaban was visiting Halifax yesterday. The Torontonian was snapping photos of the Historic Properties and said it would be a shame to destroy the buildings.


“I like them,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. I’d hate to come back in ten years and see them gone.”


He owns a historic property in Toronto and knows the cost of maintaining them, but says it is worth it.


The Armour Group did not return calls for comment as of press time last night.

Takeo Aug 6, 2008 4:41 PM

Regarding the new rendering, I really like the addition of the red stone element... but it seems heavy on top of that wooden building with dormers. That said... glass would be and even more awkward transition. Metal might work. Or even horizontal redwood slats. But then you'd have maintenance issues. Very difficult design problem there... building a modern building on top of a wooden building and making it "work". Getting rid of the dormers would help make the transition look less awkward... but you can just imagine the outcry.

Also, the infill section doesn't impress me much. I would rather see the modern materials come down to the street to create a grand two story entrance... rather than just fill it in with a red brick mock historical facade. It seems that they are mimicking the O'Carrolls building there.

Finally... I thought that the Morse Tea Building was part of the project... but I guess not.

Dmajackson Aug 6, 2008 5:11 PM

I do agree that the red brick looks strange on top of an old wooden building so hopefully they will reconsider that.

If Morse Tea can survive a downtown expressway plan in the 60's i don't think it is surprising that it got its way out of this one.

sdm Aug 6, 2008 5:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bedford_DJ (Post 3717853)
I do agree that the red brick looks strange on top of an old wooden building so hopefully they will reconsider that.

If Morse Tea can survive a downtown expressway plan in the 60's i don't think it is surprising that it got its way out of this one.

Your right, it does look a bit like red brick, but according to the elevations and staff report the material is actually wallace sand stone. Hopefully thats true if and when this is built.

Takeo Aug 6, 2008 6:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3717944)
Your right, it does look a bit like red brick, but according to the elevations and staff report the material is actually wallace sand stone. Hopefully thats true if and when this is built.

I thought it was granite actually. Whatever it is... it's just awkward to have a heavy material sitting on top of a little wooden building. But again... it's a difficult design problem. How do you put a modern commercial building on top of a three story wooden house and make it "work". No solution would be perfect. Maybe wood or metal.

Anyway... these rendering give us a better idea of the look of the building. And it's not that bad.

someone123 Aug 6, 2008 7:43 PM

I think this is an unfortunate consequence of how development of the core has been mishandled over the past four decades or so. We don't have a real heritage district, nor were the best original buildings protected. It doesn't even really make sense for office buildings to be in this area - they should have extended the downtown along Gottingen or something similar, where there's more room and where the transportation connections are better.

Anyway, given what we're left with, I think this development looks pretty good. This is a compromise building. Pacey just doesn't seem to want to understand that not everything in this city is going to go 100% his way. It's too bad that he is so combative.

hfx_chris Aug 6, 2008 9:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3717781)
Trust president Phil Pacey says the move would be disastrous.


“The people of HRM are strongly attached to our heritage buildings,” he said yesterday. “Over and over … (people have told us) what a waste it would be if they were lost.”

I agree; why isn't he happy that they're not being lost? He doesn't make sense.

Keith P. Aug 6, 2008 9:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3717387)
Notice a new rendering up on HRM website

http://www.halifax.ca/planning/image...gHollisSt3.jpg

Looks really good in my opinion.

I find it pretty uninspiring. But it is better than leaving things as they are. The building exteriors people see at street level remain essentially the same. The interiors are places few have ever been into, so I cannot understand the objection other than on dogmatic grounds.

I just wish the architects had done a better job.

Empire Aug 6, 2008 11:56 PM

The design of the building is very basic. The street level brick reminds me of the horrid building that replaced Ginger's Tavern on Hollis St. This building is a loser, there is far too much destruction for what is being achieved. The area from the Delta to the waterfront could be a well defined heritage district. Bad planning and heritage opposition to good development like the Tex-park have caused this mess. Areas like the trade mart site, the sewage plant, the car rental just north of the trade mart and the metro turning center should all be home to 25 storey mixed developments. If this were the case then this obsurd situation might have been avoided. There is much more to lose than will be gained in this development.

Takeo Aug 7, 2008 1:05 AM

Good point Empire. I agree. For what is being gained here... a very small low rise office building with a rather uninspired design... it's not worth what is being lost.

I also agree with someone123 that it's unfortunate we don't have a well-defined heritage area... like Beacon Hill or the Back Bay in Boston... where the streets are still lit by the original gas lamps. Pretty spectacular. We have a real mish-mash here in Halifax.

phrenic Aug 7, 2008 12:09 PM

The Owner of O'Carroll's isn't a big fan of the Heritage Trust.

Quote:

O'Carrol's owner slams group opposing makeover
LINDSAY JONES, METRO HALIFAX
August 07, 2008 05:00
AnswerTips-enabled

The owner of O’Carroll’s wants heritage advocates to get “off his bandwagon.”



Bruce Keith says the proposed development on Upper Water Street will save, not destroy, the Imperial Oil Building, which houses his Irish pub and restaurant.

“The façade everyone is worried about is crumbling,” Keith said.

The building is sinking, the systems are “obsolete at best” and the basement suffers from “incessant flooding.”

“I’m worried we’re going to lose the whole building to decay if the project doesn’t go through.”

The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia presented a petition to council Tuesday opposing Armour Group’s Waterside Centre. It’s a proposal to redevelop the block between Hollis, Duke and Upper Water Streets into a nine-storey retail and office building with underground parking.

Built on top of historic buildings, city staff say the project would preserve the facades. Sweet Basil’s dining room, which is not a heritage property, would be demolished. A demolition permit has also been sought for O’Carroll’s, though the plan is to try and renovate it first.

Keith says he’s not worried about the demolition application. He has an agreement that the developer will “look after” him and his staff during construction.

He said the restaurant’s historic interior is not original, and includes wood salvaged from the old Capital Theatre, which the developer plans to include in the redesign.

Keith says the heritage group is out of line.

“They’re running around protecting people who don’t want help,” he said.

“Write your letters, talk to city hall, but for God’s sake if you want to involve someone’s business … you should at least talk to me and get my opinion.”

City staff support the project, but two other citizens’ groups — the District 12 Planning Advisory Committee and the Heritage Advisory Committee — oppose it.

hfx_chris Aug 7, 2008 12:32 PM

Good!

sdm Aug 7, 2008 12:46 PM

Well there's a comment on allnovascotia too stating the developer is not tearing down the heritage buildings as well.

Empire Aug 7, 2008 1:16 PM

- Sweet Basil will be completely demolished and not rebuit
- O'Carrols will be completely demolished and rebuilt (not the same)
- the remaining buildings will be completely gutted and incorporated unless they have to be torn down as well.
- the open walkway will be completely covered in, with a small walkway through the building.
- the morses tea wall will be mostly covered up
- the stone wall on the south facing wall will be demolished

Yes there are issues with trying to make this postage stamp site into an office development...it is a bad fit and a bad design!

"bick is crumbling, roof is leaking, wiring/plumbing is bad, basement floods etc." This may be true but all of these conditions were present at historic properties before it was restored and look at the result" The bottom line is thes buildings should be restored like historic properties and become part of it. Cost is prohibitive but new ownership with a new agenda is required.

hfx_chris Aug 7, 2008 2:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Empire (Post 3719792)
- the remaining buildings will be completely gutted and incorporated unless they have to be torn down as well.

What remaining buildings? I thought this development was only going to effect the O'Carrols and Sweet Basil buildings?

Quote:

- the morses tea wall will be mostly covered up
Which wall, the one adjacent to the development? If so, that's a shame, that would make for a very interesting interior wall in the new building. Cleaned up of course.

Quote:

- the stone wall on the south facing wall will be demolished
South facing wall of which building? Morse's Tea? If so, huge shame. That building, aside from interior renovations, shouldn't be touched.

Quote:

Yes there are issues with trying to make this postage stamp site into an office development...it is a bad fit and a bad design!
I kind of agree, I like the idea behind the development, but the actual renderings of the proposal I'm not a fan of...

Quote:

"bick is crumbling, roof is leaking, wiring/plumbing is bad, basement floods etc." This may be true but all of these conditions were present at historic properties before it was restored and look at the result" The bottom line is thes buildings should be restored like historic properties and become part of it. Cost is prohibitive but new ownership with a new agenda is required.
It would be nice to see it restored and integrated into the existing historic properties site... what exactly is the Morse's Tea building used for these days anyway?

Jonovision Aug 7, 2008 6:07 PM

I really don't like this proposal. I think it cuts through the last remaining true heritage areas that remain in the downtown. The design is very uninspiring in my opinion. I understand that the block isn't very usable the way it is, but I think they could do a better job. I really like the idea of renovating it to resemble Historic Properties. That is the best solution I have yet to hear.

terrynorthend Aug 7, 2008 9:43 PM

Ha, and who said we "pro-development" futurists can't be reasonable and actually promote heritage sites too. Better look out, next thing we'll be arguing against Alan Parish again..except the roles will be reversed. :jester:

sdm Aug 8, 2008 1:15 AM

Interesting response from the developer to council in the allnovascotia today stating reference to 1978 MPS and 1973 council recommendations. Interesting reading for sure.

Wishblade Aug 8, 2008 2:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3721305)
Interesting response from the developer to council in the allnovascotia today stating reference to 1978 MPS and 1973 council recommendations. Interesting reading for sure.

Can you give us the details on what was said? I don't have a subscription :shrug:

Aya_Akai Aug 9, 2008 1:45 AM

I am going to be writing to Pacey about the things he's said... just asking him to maybe be thinking about what he says before he goes and says it- and to ask just what exactly the heritage trust is doing, protecting the heritage properties?... or stopping development?, because right now it seems he is doing a good job of flip flopping between roles.. which just technically cancel what he's already said, out.

sdm Aug 11, 2008 12:23 PM

The developer strikes back
McCrea says Heritage Trust is spreading "misinformation’
By AMY PUGSLEY FRASER City Hall Reporter
Mon. Aug 11 - 4:46 AM



(Ted Pritchard / Staff)





A veteran Halifax developer who helped create Historic Properties is striking back at a local heritage group for what he calls misinformation about his latest development proposal.

Much like the award-winning design for Armour Group’s Founder Square, its Waterside Centre proposal would connect six existing buildings where Duke Street meets Hollis and Upper Water streets, save their historic facades and put a six-storey glass office tower above them.

Over the Natal Day weekend, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia members set up in downtown Halifax, handing out postcards titled Save Halifax’s Historic Properties!

The postcards, addressed to Halifax’s mayor and councillors, say that Armour plans to "completely demolish two buildings . . . and to mostly demolish three other buildings in the central block of Historic Properties."

"Armour proposes to construct a nine-storey modernistic building attached to remnants of the existing buildings."

The postcard asks readers "not to allow the destruction of these buildings" and asks them to sign the card and submit it as part of a petition.

Using that method, the group reached out to 683 people. Last week, the group submitted all of their names to regional council as part of its protest.

However, the card’s statements are "inaccurate and misleading," Armour Group chairman Ben McCrea wrote in a letter to councillors and Mayor Peter Kelly. "They are intended to be (a) headline-grabbing reference to demolition of heritage buildings which will result in a substantial number of e-mails and phone calls to members of council," he wrote in his letter, a copy of which was sent to The Chronicle Herald.

"The misinformation has been presented by members of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia to the residents so as to entice their signature. The purposeful sensationalism of the petition presented and the statements of Mr. (Phil) Pacey to the media are an unprofessional way for the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia to conduct itself," Mr. McCrea wrote.

Mr. Pacey is the heritage group’s president.

One of the buildings was not considered for heritage designation and "cannot be upgraded or incorporated" into the new plan at Waterside Centre, Mr. McCrea wrote.

"It is an obsolete, wood-framed building that cannot be viably incorporated into the redevelopment," said a city staff report written a few months ago.

It will be demolished under an existing permit in the near future.

Restaurants such as O’Carroll’s and Subway could go back into their current locations, but the buildings will have upgraded walls, wiring and footings.

The work is necessary because the buildings, especially the one housing O’Carroll’s, are old. The Irish pub and restaurant, in fact, sits on 80-year-old wooden pilings.

Mr. McCrea said in a recent interview with The Chronicle Herald that the plan to connect the buildings is necessary to make them viable.

"We’re doing the best we can to avoid having boarded-up buildings or a parking lot," he said in an interview, noting the $1.5-million cost of the restoration.

"We’re just trying to bring our heritage past into a modern, urban core, with sustainable economic development."

Regional council was set to make a decision last Tuesday whether to send the proposal to a public hearing, but a lengthy meeting forced council to defer the issue until this week.

( apugsley@herald.ca)

’The misinformation has been pre sented by members of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia to the residents so as to entice their signature.’

BEN McCREA Developer

Takeo Aug 11, 2008 4:24 PM

Lots of high quality commentary in the comments for this article on the Herald site. LOL. Check it out for a laugh. You have the typical "build it in Dartmouth Crossing" comment and of course the obligatory non-sensical off-topic rant from "LIFE SUCKS".

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1072513.html

That said... I'm on the fence on this one. I'm not a HT fan... but I'm not so sure about this project. And the point made about Founders Square is valid. They saved the facades but still killed the street. Then again... O'Carolls and Subway are supposed to stay put. So that's good. You have to have street level retail.

sdm Aug 11, 2008 5:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Takeo (Post 3727770)
Lots of high quality commentary in the comments for this article on the Herald site. LOL. Check it out for a laugh. You have the typical "build it in Dartmouth Crossing" comment and of course the obligatory non-sensical off-topic rant from "LIFE SUCKS".

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1072513.html

That said... I'm on the fence on this one. I'm not a HT fan... but I'm not so sure about this project. And the point made about Founders Square is valid. They saved the facades but still killed the street. Then again... O'Carolls and Subway are supposed to stay put. So that's good. You have to have street level retail.

I remember when founders square was built; the entire lower lobby and hollis street frontage was business services/retail. As economic conditions changed in the 1990's so did its use. These business moved to areas of high foot traffic and or closed. It is sad to see this as it really is the best use for those spaces, but to me you can't blame the building design for economic business decisions on part of business owners. Maybe as the downtown economically becomes a better place for retail these areas may once be filled with retail type tenancy, but unless we get more people working/living it may not happen.

Takeo Aug 12, 2008 12:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3727865)
I remember when founders square was built; the entire lower lobby and hollis street frontage was business services/retail.

I didn't know that. Interesting.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdm (Post 3727865)
It is sad to see this as it really is the best use for those spaces, but to me you can't blame the building design for economic business decisions on part of business owners.

True enough.

Haliguy Aug 12, 2008 3:08 PM

Controversial development goes to vote
LINDSAY JONES, METRO HALIFAX
August 12, 2008 05:00




Council will vote tonight on whether a controversial downtown development will go to a public hearing.


Armour Group’s Waterside Centre proposal would connect six buildings where Duke, Upper Water and Hollis Streets meet, save their historic facades and build a six-storey, glass office tower above them.


The proposal faces strong opposition from the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.


The Trust recently launched a postcard campaign, saying say that Armour plans to “completely demolish two buildings” and “mostly demolish three other buildings in the central block of Historic Properties.”


In a letter to the mayor and councilors, the Armour Group accused the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia of spreading misinformation about the development in an effort to entice citizens to reject the project.


“They are intended to be headline grabbing reference to demolition of heritage buildings,” Armour chairman Ben McCrea wrote.


The developer of Founders Square in Historic Properties also said the building he wants to demolish, the Sweet Basil dining room, is not a heritage building.


Obtaining a demolition permit for O’Carroll’s is a last resort in case the foundation needs to be replaced.


The group recently gathered 683 signatures on a petition titled Save Halifax’s Historic Properties! and presented it to council last week.


In its report, city staff say council will have to consider two competing policies when making a decision: the restoration of municipally-registered heritage properties and the need for increasing the amount of downtown office space.


Downtown Coun. Dawn Sloane hasn’t made up her mind yet on whether she will support the project, but admitted she’s getting fed up with the city’s “soft” approach to development.


Like other recently approved downtown developments, Sloane says Waterside Centre doesn’t conform to planning policies.


“We just seem to be pushing the limit a little too much too many times,” she said.


Council is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. tonight

Takeo Aug 12, 2008 4:22 PM

Thanks for the post Haliguy.

Two comments on the story.

1. Why do people insist on calling everything a tower? Six stories is not a tower.

2. What planning policies?

sdm Aug 12, 2008 4:23 PM

Thing i find odd is staff recommends the project and claims it conforms to the polices, if it didn't then it wouldn't have even made it this far.

sdm Aug 13, 2008 12:47 AM

i heard that this was granted a public hearing today during this afternoon's council meeting. Not sure the date, but likely this will be interesting.

Haliguy Aug 13, 2008 11:53 AM

Public hearing set for Waterside development

The public will soon get to weigh in on Armour Group’s proposed Waterside Centre development.
Council voted yesterday to allow the controversial development — which would connect six buildings where Duke, Upper Water and Hollis streets meet — to go to a public hearing.


The proposal also includes saving the buildings’ historic facades and building a six-storey glass office tower above them. The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia strongly opposes the project.


The public hearing will be held in September at the earliest.

sdm Aug 13, 2008 12:26 PM

Waterside Centre project going to public hearing

By AMY PUGSLEY FRASER City Hall Reporter
Wed. Aug 13 - 4:46 AM

The public will get their say next month on a new development proposed for downtown Halifax.

Ben McCrea’s latest project, called Waterside Centre, would unify six buildings at the corner of Duke and Hollis Streets.

It’s across the street from the developer’s 1970s award-winning renovation of old warehouses and buildings at Historic Properties.

Recently, the new proposal from his Armour Group has been targeted by the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.

The heritage group orchestrated a natal day petition blitz and brought more than 650 signatures to council opposing the building.

They said the six-storey glass tower proposed on top of the three-storey buildings would require the demolition of three key buildings.

Mr. McCrea retaliated by sending out documents of his own to council, accusing the heritage group of circulating "misinformation."

One non-heritage wooden building will be demolished because it can’t be "upgraded or incorporated" into the new design, he told councillors.

City staffers have given their approval to the project, which was designed by Halifax architect Andy Lynch.

Subsequently, two volunteer advisory bodies to council – the heritage advisory committee and the downtown planning advisory committee – didn’t endorse it.

Now members of the public will get a chance to voice their opinions on the proposal. On Tuesday at city hall, regional councillors voted in favour of sending the project before a public hearing. Although a date was not assigned to the hearing, the project can’t be heard until September owing to regional council’s three-week summer break.

( apugsley@herald.ca)

Jonovision Aug 17, 2008 7:36 PM

This will be a very heated hearing. And I don't think it will get through. I know that Ht is spreading misinformation, but this is just an ugly building. I will try to go to council to voice my opinion, but I've come to the conclusion that I cannot support such a boring, uninspired design.

I'm actually in Vancouver right now, staying in North Van to be more particular, and there are a couple of really nice heritage buildings downtown that have one or two storeys of glass added on top. I think that would be a much better idea then what they have proposed right now.

spaustin Aug 18, 2008 6:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonovision (Post 3741147)
This will be a very heated hearing. And I don't think it will get through. I know that Ht is spreading misinformation, but this is just an ugly building. I will try to go to council to voice my opinion, but I've come to the conclusion that I cannot support such a boring, uninspired design.

I'm actually in Vancouver right now, staying in North Van to be more particular, and there are a couple of really nice heritage buildings downtown that have one or two storeys of glass added on top. I think that would be a much better idea then what they have proposed right now.

My thoughts exactly. It's not much of a building.

Edit:
The building is just a block dropped on top and a fairly ugly block at that. This really is an electic little mix of really neat buildings on this site and all they want to do is top them off with a solid blank block of glass. I would have liked to see a more varied appearence along the length of the proposed building to reflect the varied street below. Founder's Square certainly isn't one long uniform expanse

Another big challenge for this one is making the two old building's with pitched roofs work with a large project, but they could do a lot better than this http://www.halifax.ca/planning/image...gHollisSt3.jpg. For example, there could be an inset into the buidling there and a 4th floor deck. That would break up the structure and make for a nice transition. I'm just musing of course, but almost anything is better than what they're currently proposing.

Takeo Aug 18, 2008 10:17 AM

I don't like the design either... but I don't know what the solution would be. It is a tricky design problem.

sdm Aug 18, 2008 2:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Takeo (Post 3742129)
I don't like the design either... but I don't know what the solution would be. It is a tricky design problem.

its a pretty narrow block, couple with the fact the developer is tryign to save the heritage buildings, which means those costs need to be spread out over more square footage or the building becomes unmarketable. I've been watchign this development closely as i am of the opinion its one of the only likely developments to happen in time to meet the major shortage of class "a" office space downtown.

I think this one will have no trouble at council, however it will most likely be appealled by members of HT.

someone123 Aug 20, 2008 3:55 AM

One big problem with comparing Vancouver to Halifax is that prices are much, much higher in Vancouver, although there isn't a huge amount of demand for office space there. A lot of the developments are really high quality but contain tiny $1M condos or office space up for rent at rates that just wouldn't work in Halifax. As a result, they have a much larger design budget to work with.

Another big difference is that Vancouver doesn't have any really old buildings. "Heritage" there usually means something from the 1910s, 20s, 30s that was built with large floors, elevators, electricity and running water, maybe ventilation systems, etc. That is very different from an 1820s buildings with odd-sized spaces where everything has been shoehorned in already.

I don't believe that these factors imply that what is built in Halifax will always be worse, but importing designs from the West Coast probably won't work in general.

Takeo Aug 20, 2008 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 3746358)
One big problem with comparing Vancouver to Halifax is that prices are much, much higher in Vancouver, although there isn't a huge amount of demand for office space there. A lot of the developments are really high quality but contain tiny $1M condos or office space up for rent at rates that just wouldn't work in Halifax. As a result, they have a much larger design budget to work with.

Yup. I've always said that same thing. It all comes down to money. I love visiting Boston and walking around Beacon Hill and the Back Bay. Those miles of unbroken brownstones are so amazing. It's so great that they saved all those buildings. And then I think of Halifax with all it's holes and demolitions and horrid imitations and conversions and I think... why can't we be more like Boston? But in Boston... those Brownstones are TINY and sell for $1M+. You can't renovate an old wooden Victorian house in Halifax and expect to get that kind of money out of it. I don't think the market it there. Or maybe developers here are just thoughtless and lazy? Or maybe a bit of both?

someone123 Aug 20, 2008 7:30 PM

Well it definitely can't all be blamed on that because there are plenty of old wooden houses that have been beautifully restored by owners. The city needs some better design controls and owners need to take more pride in their buildings etc. I think a big part of the problem is simply that so much of the core is ignored by the municipality. I've been to towns in Mexico that managed to afford beautification programs. Lunenburg is in the same situation and has them. Halifax can afford them too.

Areas like Brunswick/Agricola would look incredible if they were all well-kept. Even wealthier streets like South Park and Inglis have a mix with some really ugly rental buildings that should just not be allowed to deteriorate in that way. Landlords can afford the maintenance and the relatively few homes under-maintained because they are lived in by old people on fixed incomes or whatever could be fixed up fairly cheaply by the city (through cost sharing).

New construction is improving a lot on its own, although I'd be happier with it if a couple of the really nice new proposals were actually under construction.

Jonovision Aug 23, 2008 2:53 PM

Notice in the paper this morning for public hearing to be held on Sept 9th.

sdm Aug 23, 2008 4:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonovision (Post 3753987)
Notice in the paper this morning for public hearing to be held on Sept 9th.

jono you beat me to it :)

I am sure Pacey and clan are going to be there in masses for this one.

Jonovision Aug 23, 2008 6:21 PM

As they should be. For once maybe they will actually follow their mandate of protecting our heritage against ugly redevelopments.

sdm Aug 24, 2008 12:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonovision (Post 3754308)
As they should be. For once maybe they will actually follow their mandate of protecting our heritage against ugly redevelopments.

I can't argee with you there, i actually don't mind it; there is certainly worse out there. Then again this is not about architecture its about making the economics work. It's quite clear there is a signifcant issues with a couple of the buildings and no one in there right mind would spend the money to fix them to lose money in a market that is finally making money.

Empire Aug 24, 2008 2:36 AM

It's about speculation and this block is a bad bad block to speculate on. This block should be part of Historic Properties and form a dedicated heritage district from the waterfront to the Delta. These buildings are in better condition than the buildings were at Historic Properties before they were renovated. This is not about taking these buildings and putting them into a workable business model and creating class 'A" office space on that postage stamp lot. There is no current plan to build an ugly box on top of historic properties and this block is no different. Any developer assembling buildings on that block for a small office building that involves demolishing two buildings (rebuilding one but stripped of character) clearly knows the risk and had better have a plan 'B".

someone123 Aug 24, 2008 3:10 AM

I've flip flopped on this one but as time goes on I'm less and less impressed by it. There are so many empty or characterless blocks downtown and the block that will be tampered with for this project is one of the nicer ones. Meanwhile, a couple blocks away there's a much more solid and appropriate office proposal.

My only concern is that none of the major proposals have actually materialized downtown yet.

Takeo Aug 24, 2008 9:40 AM

I mentioned Boston before. All I know is, this would never ever happen to an historic Brownstone in the Back Bay. Not in a million years. And it shouldn't happen here either. These building (the two stone ones especially) are very high quality unique heritage buildings and they should be preserved. This proposal does the opposite of that. It's about speculation and making piles of money. Saving the empty shell of the buildings is just a side-effect. For once (the only time I can think of), I'm actually on the side of the HT.

sdm Sep 2, 2008 2:48 PM

found this over the weekend

www.hpwatersidecentre.ca

Interesting stuff....

worldlyhaligonian Sep 2, 2008 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Takeo (Post 3755314)
I mentioned Boston before. All I know is, this would never ever happen to an historic Brownstone in the Back Bay. Not in a million years. And it shouldn't happen here either. These building (the two stone ones especially) are very high quality unique heritage buildings and they should be preserved. This proposal does the opposite of that. It's about speculation and making piles of money. Saving the empty shell of the buildings is just a side-effect. For once (the only time I can think of), I'm actually on the side of the HT.

I haven't been able to make up my mind on this proposal, but you make a point. However, I believe in this case that with a new tower or without, the rennovations required forpreserving the outside of the building will require complete overhall inside. Thus, one thing is certain, only the shell of this building will be left to our visualization of it unless it is completely demoed due to its foundation problems. And who is going to restore it? Only private sector money will help this current situation.

Empire Sep 2, 2008 4:56 PM

If the buildings were left exactly as they are they would probably last another one hundred years. The foundation issue is only an issue if you excavate beside the building or in this case into the building. Otherwise, what you see is what you get. The buildings haven't moved in the last one hundred years.

sdm Sep 6, 2008 10:57 AM

Can;t wait to watch this one tuesday,

(Chronicle Herald)
METRO IN BRIEF


Sat. Sep 6 - 4:46 AM
Commission supports downtown complex


The Downtown Halifax Business Commission is supporting a major development proposed for the corner of Duke and Hollis streets.

In a news release Friday, the commission said the Armour Group’s proposed Waterside Centre complex should get the go-ahead. The project, the latest from award-winning developer Ben McCrea, would unify six buildings into one.

"Ben McCrea approached DHBC and made a presentation to the board, addressing all of our questions and concerns," Paul MacKinnon, the commission’s executive director, said in the release.

"This particular development will generate lots of conversation, but we, as an association that represents 1,800 businesses, believe it will contribute greatly to downtown Halifax. Our board unanimously endorses it."

Waterside Centre would be the first commercial office development in the downtown in 20 years, the commission said. There would still be retail space on the ground floor of the nine-storey complex, and most of the historical character of the existing buildings would be preserved.

The building would create only minimal new shadows and wind patterns, the commission said

Dmajackson Sep 8, 2008 12:23 PM

I guess City Hall has learnt from the Alexander and have made as much time available as possible tomorrow night for Waterside;
Quote:

Battle lines drawn on project
Public to have say on downtown development proposal
By AMY PUGSLEY FRASER City Hall Reporter
Mon. Sep 8 - 5:55 AM

The public will get their say this week on the last of a summer string of proposed developments for downtown Halifax.

Waterside Centre – a proposal from Ben McCrea’s Armour Group – goes before a public hearing Tuesday night at city hall.

The development would be situated across the street from the developer’s 1970s award-winning Historic Properties.

This newest project would unify six buildings at the corner of Duke and Hollis streets with a six-storey glass tower on top of the existing three-storey buildings.

Similar development hearings over the summer at city hall – including a 21-storey Halkirk project for the brewery district and a 19-storey W.M. Fares Group project on the corner of South Park and Brenton streets – brought in plenty of speakers from both sides. Both developments were eventually approved.

But battle lines for the Armour Group seem to have been forming all summer.

The development, while approved by staff in the city’s planning department, wasn’t subsequently endorsed by two of council’s volunteer advisory groups, the heritage and the downtown planning advisory committees..

And over the long weekend in early August, members of the Heritage Trust orchestrated a natal day petition blitz and brought more than 650 signatures to council opposing the building.

They said the development would require the demolition of three key buildings.

The people of HRM are strongly attached to their heritage buildings, trust president Phil Pacey told a news conference last month.

"Over and over, the ordinary citizens of Halifax told us of the beauty of these buildings, how important they are to the character of Halifax and what a waste it would be if they were lost."

Mr. McCrea retaliated by sending out documents of his own to council, accusing the heritage group of circulating "misinformation."

One non-heritage wooden building will be demolished because it can’t be "upgraded or incorporated" into the new design, he told councillors.

Mr. McCrea, developer of award-winning Founders Square, said the interiors of the subject properties were "dramatically altered" in the 1970s to suit the needs of tenants like the studios fashioned for the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Earlier this year, the university moved to a new location and Mr. McCrea said the vacated building is like a "rabbit warren."

Last month, Nova Scotia’s representative on the Heritage Canada Foundation called the project "outrageous."

"Clearly, the proposed huge, modernistic development is not physically and visually compatible with or subordinate to the historic buildings," Peter Delefes wrote in a letter to The Chronicle Herald.

And last week, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission made a point of issuing a release supporting the development and saying it should go ahead.

"This particular development will generate lots of conversation, but we, as an association that represents 1,800 businesses, believe it will contribute greatly to downtown Halifax," executive director Paul MacKinnon said in the release.

"Our board unanimously endorses it."

Now, the floor opens up to the public and city hall is expecting a big turnout.

They plan to deal with as much of their meeting agenda as possible during a special afternoon session so that their evening decks are cleared for public participation.

sdm Sep 8, 2008 12:27 PM

Nice title, battle lines have been drawn on project..Should be used for every development in downtown.

Positive comments so far, although i am sure the naysayers will chime in soon.


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