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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chronicle Herald moving

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 6:55 PM

In the next few months---probably in June---the wrecking balls will take aim at the Chronicle Herald building on Argyle Street. The permits have been issued, and all that’s standing in the way of demolition of the hulking, brutal, city-killing monolith is the paper’s move to new digs.

So, what’s to become of Argyle Street? No firm plans have been announced, but everyone involved, including the site’s owner and city staff, is saying all the right things about a building with street-level retail, human scales and interesting facades. 

Certainly, it’s a wonderful opportunity. I fear, however, that our architects and builders are only now relearning skills they lost 100 years ago. It’s good that people are talking about all the right things---
consider me a big fan of New Urbanism---but it’ll likely take a bit of trial and error to get it right. That’s no reason not to start, of course.

But in terms of urban identity, whatever we gain in the way of physical changes on Argyle Street, there’s a countervailing loss in having the Chronicle Herald offices move out of downtown and into the Manulife building by the Rotary. Reporters and editors of our now-only daily newspaper will be that much more removed from the day-to-day life of the city core. That distance can’t help but be reflected in the paper’s news coverage. We’ll all lose as a result.

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