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Old Posted Jul 4, 2008, 2:37 PM
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Jonovision Jonovision is offline
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[Halifax] Nova Scotia Power HQ | ? fl | ? m | U/C

A very nice development for the waterfront if you ask me. Construction is slated for the fall! It seems that WZMH Architects are very popular.

Pedestrians walk past the old Nova Scotia Power station on Lower Water Street in Halifax on Thursday. Below is a sketch of the planned changes. (PETER PARSONS / Staff)

NOVA SCOTIA Power Inc. plans to put new life into an old building.

Rob Bennett, president and CEO, said Thursday that the utility will move its corporate headquarters to the former power plant it owns on Lower Water Street in downtown Halifax.

NSP will invest $50 million to $60 million to transform the concrete building into an environmentally sustainable facility.

"We’re thinking outside the box by aiming for a facility that uses state-of-the-art practices incorporating energy-efficient design, construction and building operation," Mr. Bennett told a morning news conference. "But we’re staying inside the box for construction, building no higher, no wider, no longer than the existing structure."

The utility’s corporate offices now occupy 110,000 square feet in Scotia Square, under a lease that will expire in 2011. The new facility will offer about 500 employees the same space, and there will be another 15,000 to 50,000 square feet to lease out and help defray costs.

Various options were considered for new facilities, Mr. Bennett said.

"We compared staying in our existing space or developing other green-field office space within HRM," he said. "This is the lowest cost option for our company and by virtue of that the lowest cost for our customers."

Mr. Bennett couldn’t say what the final cost would be, compared to other options.

The new building will be ready for staff in early 2011.

Nova Scotia Power owns both the power generation plant and the land. The company’s history on the site goes back more than 100 years.

The utility has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for a 12.1 per cent power rate increase for residential customers, but Mr. Bennett said the cost of the new structure has no connection to the increase being sought.

"The increase that been requested is related primarily to escalating world prices for coal and oil, natural gas and fossil fuels we burn in our plants to make electricity for Nova Scotians," he said.

But customers will get tapped for the cost of the new building.

"When the project is developed it will need to be included in rates, but what’s important about that is it will be less of a rate impact than all of the other alternatives that we considered," Mr. Bennett said.

The new facility, which will conform with HRM’s future vision for the downtown core, will incorporate many environmental features, he said. These include using harbour water for heating and cooling, atriums that provide natural light and an energy-efficient facade.

Lead architect on the project is WZMH Architects of Toronto, and other companies involved are all based in Halifax, including Kassner Goodspeed Architects, Fowler, Bauld & Mitchell, BMR Structural Engineering, M&R Engineering and Design 360, all of Halifax.

The company will soon file a building permit application with Halifax Regional Municipality and a capital work order with the provincial review board, which must approve the project. On-site work will begin this fall.

( tpeters@herald.ca)
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