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Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 8:32 PM
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Bayer's Lake Developments & Discussion Thread

Found this in the Burnside News today;

Plazacorp says thanks, but no thanks
BAYERS LAKE
KEN PARTRIDGE
The Burnside News

Plazacorp has decided to walk away from its option to purchase and develop more than 80 acres of commercial property in the Bayers Lake Business Park.

Plazacorp had an exclusive opportunity to develop the land located behind Kent Building Supplies into a new retail node in the busy Bayers Lake Park. Preliminary plans and designs were drawn up and a road network worked out, but HRM’s Business Parks Office says the company has decided not to pursue the project.

“I can confirm that Plazacorp, as part of its due diligence, has exercised its condition under the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and will not be proceeding with the purchase,” says Michael Wile, Business Parks manager, in a letter to the Bayers Lake Business Association.

Wile says no detailed reasoning was given by the company for why it decided to walk away, though he suspects it’s “probably a sign of the times,” referring to the current recession.

Council is now considering it options on what to do with the land. Wile says it would likely be several months before a final decision is made on whether to reoffer the land to other developers.

The delay stems from a desire to have several other items dealt with prior to any future development taking place. These include final approval for the Business Parks Functional Plan, as well as the creation of a third entrance/exit point for the park.

On that front, Council has awarded a $195,939 tender to SNC Lavalin for consulting design services on the Washmill Lake Court underpass beneath Highway 102.

“The completion of the underpass has been identified and endorsed by Council as a prerequisite to any further expansion at Bayers Lake,” Wile says. “Moving forward with the functional design will add significant value to future discussions with potential purchasers and/or development partners.”

The consulting design work is expected to be complete by mid-summer and will include costing the entire project along the new corridor through Halifax Water Commission lands to where it will meet up with Main Avenue.

Once complete, the design would be vetted by HRM Design and Construction Services before being passed to Council for final approval. However, there is currently no budget attached to the construction phase of the project. Wile says the original plan was to cover the cost of construction through the sale of land to Plazacorp. With that deal now gone, another plan will have to be put in place.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 10:34 PM
Spitfire75 Spitfire75 is offline
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On that front, Council has awarded a $195,939 tender to SNC Lavalin for consulting design services on the Washmill Lake Court underpass beneath Highway 102.
Finally! This is the dead end up by the theater and it's a good spot for another entrance/exit.
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Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 11:03 PM
ScovaNotian ScovaNotian is offline
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I hope they'll consider the option of not developing the land. The area is gorgeous, and the business park is ugly enough as is. It'd make for a great extension of the Birch Cove wilderness area.
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Old Posted Mar 3, 2009, 11:15 PM
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It would be a shame if it was only an underpass connecting to Main Ave., with no access to/from the 102.
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2009, 1:24 AM
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It would be a shame if it was only an underpass connecting to Main Ave., with no access to/from the 102.
I read somewheres they wanted to construct an interchange there but the province said no because of the proximity of Lacewood and 103 Interchanges.
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Old Posted Mar 17, 2009, 5:30 PM
miesh111 miesh111 is offline
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By Main Ave. they must mean Regency Park drive right? Cause Main Ave. ends at Mount Royale and turns into Regency Park Drive. The connection from up by Halifax West High School and into Mount Roayle would need to be built for this to be done though.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 2:36 PM
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Bayers Lake Expansion

A somewhat scary article from todays Herald.

Bayers Lake expansion in the works


By JEFFREY SIMPSON

Staff Reporter

The Bayers Lake Business Park is about to bulk up.

Halifax Regional Municipality is preparing to sell all or part of an 81-hectare swath of wooded and rocky land behind the Kent Build ing Supplies store for a multimil lion- dollar development.

John MacPherson, a real estate officer with the municipality, said Friday that the city is look ing for engineering firms to study potential uses for the land. A re quest for proposals closes Wednesday and MacPherson ex pects the work to take eight to 10 weeks.

Then the land will be put up for sale to bidders who come forward with development plans.

“It would be your typical com mercial- style development with the opportunity to do large-for mat retail," MacPherson said in an interview.

“It could also be small-format retail, it could be office space."

Plazacorp Retail Properties Ltd. of New Brunswick had an agree ment with the municipality a cou ple of years ago to buy 36 hectares of the land and build a large retail development but withdrew its of fer as the recession struck, Mac Pherson said. A price hadn’t been agreed upon.

No officials from Plazacorp could be reached for comment Friday.

Michael Wile, the municipal ity’s business parks manager, said any sale agreement would re sult in specific requirements in keeping with the development plan for the area, including the construction of a third entrance to Bayers Lake, from Northwest Arm Drive. That’s expected to ease traffic woes in the area and offset any increase in traffic caused by the expansion, he said. The 81 hectares probably won’t be sold in one chunk, Wile said.

“We’ll probably be selling bits and pieces as the market demand and supply calls for," he said.

“We’d want to make sure if someone’s buying the land, they have all intentions of construct­ing within a given amount of time — as opposed to just buying the land and sitting on it for years."

Wile expects there to be signif icant interest among developers. Several have been inquiring about it for years, he said.

“The economy is doing quite well now, so I guess we think we would have some takers," he said. “We don’t really see that as a problem right now."

The municipality’s business parks have weathered the eco nomic downturn of the last cou ple of years quite well, Wile said.

One big appeal of Bayers Lake to developers is the dense residen tial population of the surround ing area, he said.

It’s too early to know what price the land will sell for because ser vices such as streets and side walks will be part of any proposal and taken into consideration when reaching a deal.

Wile said it will be about a year before any construction starts.

And he doesn’t expect that ex panding the business park will have an adverse effect on down­town Halifax.

“I don’t think it’s an either-or proposition," he said.

But Coun. Dawn Sloane (Hali fax Downtown) said she’s not im pressed by the plan to expand the sprawling business park.

“I’m against that," she said.

“Every time you put a big-box store in, something happens in the downtown — another mom­and- pop shop dies."

Sloane said she would prefer development to be concentrated in the downtown so better servic es such as public transit could be offered and the city centre would be a livelier place.

“Your downtown is supposed to be your hub," she said.

“The more we sprawl, the more it costs us all."

(jsimpson@herald.ca)





I'm with Sloane on this one.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 3:41 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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I agree that more development downtown (Halifax and Dartmouth) is better for the HRM. However, opposition to tall buildings in downtown Halifax goes against this concept. This opposition by special interest groups and people in council is one factor driving business to the suburbs.

In addition to more residential development downtown, Halifax needs a good rapid transit system whereby people can park their cars outside of the downtown core and be downtown in 5 - 10 minutes. This will eliminate the parking hassles.

A good example of what can be done by eliminating parking downtown and increasing rapid transit - see below (the section on Copenhagen): source - http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/env...ingtdm-891.htm . Quote from below - Even though pedestrian traffic levels have remained largely unchanged since the 1960s, by the late 1990s activities connected with shopping and staying in the downtown area had increased four-fold.

Quote:
“Pedestrianizing” town centres

Many North American transportation activists envy the car-free town squares of major European cities. Some, however, weren't always the pedestrian havens they are today.

Two examples - Copenhagen, Denmark, and Ghent, Belgium - offer lessons in removing and reducing parking in favour of active and sustainable modes of transportation.

Until the early 1960s, Copenhagen's downtown streets were often clogged with cars and town squares were used as car parks. By removing parking entirely, Copenhagen has created several pedestrian-only areas. First, the city limited the number of parking spaces and restricted through traffic, and then began charging high fees for on-street parking. It also put many of the major routes into the city on “road diets” to reduce the number of car lanes in favour of bus or bicycle lanes.

Even though pedestrian traffic levels have remained largely unchanged since the 1960s, by the late 1990s activities connected with shopping and staying in the downtown area had increased four-fold.

City planners say that the key to Copenhagen's success was the gradual way these changes were made, allowing residents and businesses time to adapt.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 3:48 PM
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im all for developing bayers lake but id rather it just stay the size it is and get better that way,
downtown has enough problems with mic mac, dartmouth crossing, the shopping centre and bayers lake already
the empty store fronts on barrington and other areas is just getting worse.
and i though that area was a protected area, im not sure what parts are protected but ive been there a few times and its a nice place to go, seems like your not even near a city.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 4:10 PM
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Originally Posted by -Harlington- View Post
im all for developing bayers lake but id rather it just stay the size it is and get better that way,
downtown has enough problems with mic mac, dartmouth crossing, the shopping centre and bayers lake already
the empty store fronts on barrington and other areas is just getting worse.
and i though that area was a protected area, im not sure what parts are protected but ive been there a few times and its a nice place to go, seems like your not even near a city.
Here's a map of the currently protatected area. So the area being developed will probably back right onto the protected area in behind Kent.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 5:08 PM
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it wouldn't seem to protected to me if its being backed up on by development.
i don't know but i always thought that behind Kent is an odd place to develop anyway since everything there would seem hidden and would need roads.
that protected area doesn't seem to well thought out either since it has like a few blobs in places and extends in odd places like Kearney lake. and the birch cove lake itself which the name comes from is hardly protected.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 5:59 PM
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I fail to see how Sloane can be against this and also against most proposed development downtown, then somehow claim to be in favor of growing the economy.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 8:55 PM
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I'd like to see how much space is available within the existing bounds of Bayers Lake; my first thought is that there is still serviceable land available. HRM should look to infill the existing space before expansion is considered. I do agree with Ms. Sloan in that the expansion of B/L and Dart. Xing hurt the downtown, not just Halifax, but Dartmouth and Bedford, too. And it's so unsustainable to expand suburban commercial property that can only be accessed by car and inadequate transit.

The lands designated for the Wilderness Area was based on available crown land which had been cut up over the years, especially in the southern portion.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 10:06 PM
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It's fine to say that retail should be downtown and that there should be good transit service and so on but that's not what the HRM has and it's not likely to happen anytime soon. It's in fact much worse because there is so much obstructionism downtown.

I also don't think that suburban retail areas need to be as terrible as Bayers Lake is. Part of the problem with Bayers Lake is its awful design. It could have been mixed-use with much better access for everything - cars, transit, pedestrians, and cyclists.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 10:14 PM
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I'm with Dawn on this one. The area is beautiful and should be preserved along with the adjacent Crown lands. And even if it were to be developed at some point, selling it off now seems like a short-sighted attempt to fix the budget. Developing the lands in the same cheap fashion as Bayers Lake is a waste of space that the city would come to regret in the future.

Last edited by ScovaNotian; Apr 24, 2010 at 11:57 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 10:25 PM
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I fail to see how Sloane can be against this and also against most proposed development downtown, then somehow claim to be in favor of growing the economy.
Its because she lacks the understanding in how the economy and the world works.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2010, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ScovaNotian View Post
I'm with Dawn on this one as well. The area is beautiful and should be preserved along with the adjacent Crown Lands. And even if it were to be developed at some point, selling it off now seems like a short-sighted attempt to fix the budget. Developing the lands in the same cheap fashion as Bayers Lake is a waste of space that the city would come to regret in the future.
check the history, the lands were developed for industrial use and then costco went in and the shift to retail took form. It was never intended for the use it is today.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 12:03 AM
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check the history, the lands were developed for industrial use and then costco went in and the shift to retail took form. It was never intended for the use it is today.
I don't think BLIP was the only instance where HRM was wrong in its expectations with regard to business/industrial parks it has built. Ragged Lake is another example. From what MacPherson says in the article they don't even care anymore.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 1:01 AM
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The expansion of Bayers Lake should probably actually go ahead as a long range thing. I say that because I'm a realist and eventually downtown Halifax and Dartmouth will run out of places to redevelop, so office development should go somewhere.

I'm sorta on side with Sloane on this one from the perspective of - I've believed that some of the big box retail could've been coxed into coming to downtown, if there were more residential dwelling units there. Staples was the first on the corner of Gottingen and Cogswell and I thought what a great way to liven up Gottingen Street - since these could serve teh downtown residents. It never happened, but could some day down the road especially if this new low income development has a significant size commercial floor plate (say 2 or 3 floors).

Big box retail is a difficult thing because if a city doesn't have a good population balance, it will work as a negative to the downtown. In the case of Halifax, more people need to be in downtown to help support downtown businesses, otherwise the core is usually dead on weekends except for special events (much like Calgary is).

As I sit here in my condo in downtown Calgary (watching it snow - yes, please have a good laugh because it was thunder snowing earlier and it will rain by nightfall - reminds me of NS weather!) there is hardly any activity in the core at all.

In a long range goal - when the next regional plan comes up for work - I think it would be in HRM's best interest to think of how office development should occur in HRM. Right now, with all the traffic problems getting onto the peninsula, concentrating class A office space in the Core (both HFx and Dartmouth) isn't working. Once it's built out; the office clusters should move out into the burbs, but in areas adjacent to major transit facilities (so Mill Cove, or 'downtown' Bedford or Burnside. If a better transit network could be established for Bayers Lake; then yes go ahead.

One other comment I'd make is that there seems to be a movement in some american cities to have commercial business parks becoming mixed use, with the big box retail at grade (say up to 3 stories) and then residential units above. It might be an interesting opportunity for a test case in Halifax and see how it would work out.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2010, 1:24 AM
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It's very strange because on the one hand we see lip service paid to the downtown but on the other we've had 30+ years of subsidies for business parks. The former City of Halifax was falling over itself to build Bayers Lake and it still pays for roads in Burnside.

Lots of companies move to these places because they are cheap but they're not the most attractive locations - I've seen a few cases of companies looking for space on the peninsula and then giving up after not finding anything suitable.
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