6 Halifax developments you should know about

The last of HRM’s pre-Centre Plan developments are given approval


Wellington Street (Case 20774)
In July, regional council voted to let a bunch of developments go ahead despite the looming Centre Plan. This is one of the more controversial projects, an application by Lydon Lynch Architects, on behalf of owner BANC Developments, for an eight-storey structure on Wellington Street in Halifax's south end.

The development will remove six existing residential buildings, replacing them with one building with 101 units. According to a staff report presented to council last year, some locals expressed concern about the building's size and height: "Many residents expressed that the proposed development did not fit within the existing character of the area."

Alex Halef, president of the BANC Group, admits he may be biased, "but if you look at the fabric of the street there's a mishmash of all different types of housing, from a 16-storey high-rise down to a single-family home. There's no one zone that's the defining zone of the street." Halef says while he understands the concerns, "the question is, how much merit do they actually have from a planning perspective?"

Halef thinks opposition to developments like this have to do with "a lack of proper understanding, perhaps, of what the real effects of height and shadows do to a neighbouring property." Pointing to the low vacancy rate on the Halifax peninsula and HRM's future population target, Halef sees a civic dilemma. "The city's current mandate is to grow. They're looking to bring in 10,000 people in the next 11 to 12 years to get us to 550,000. Well, where are all those people going to live?"

Robie Street, Cunard Street and Compton Avenue (Case 20577)
An application from WM Fares Architects on behalf of developer Abe Salloum, for an eight-storey building, plus a penthouse, with residential and commercial units on Robie Street, is also going forward pre-Centre Plan.

Cesar Saleh of WM Fares says that this project, as well as the firm's other recently approved projects, have "form, use and density pretty much consistent with what the Centre Plan is calling for." Saleh says that while the overwhelming majority of the firm's clients have opted to wait for the city's Centre Plan to be complete before pursuing development agreements, some decided to move ahead. The Centre Plan will return to council in the fall, after a slew of detours and delays, and is expected to be finalized in January, Saleh says.

Saleh says that his firm is working on a number of projects that are waiting for the Centre Plan to be approved. He says his company has been heavily involved in the creation of the Centre Plan: "We're pretty happy with the outcome."

Agricola Street (Case 20632)
Council approved another WM Fares application, this five-storey development that will replace a string of residential buildings from 2440 to 2454 Agricola Street. The project is proposed to have 34 residential units and 446 square metres of ground floor commercial/cultural uses. This development will also have no parking—a move supported by city planners as a move towards more bike- and walking-focused mobility. It also saves a significant amount of money in the build, which regional planning manager Eric Lucic says could mean the building has lower rents once completed.

Quinpool Road and Pepperell Street (Case 21115)
A nine-storey building facing Quinpool Road, with a six-storey midblock section and a three-and-a-half-storey section facing Pepperell Street. The application was made by WSP, on behalf of Façade Investments Ltd. It will go where Sicilian Pizza, 7 Peppers Grill and Bi One Korean BBQ are now.

Bayers Road and Young Street (Case 20658)
WM Fares (yet again) made the application for a 72,000-square-foot property between Bayers Road and Young Street, which council passed unanimously. The application is for a six-storey (plus penthouse) component on Bayers, and two three-storey components on Young.

Victoria Road and South Park Street (Case 20159)
An eight-storey, plus penthouse, mixed-use building at 5713 Victoria Road and 1102 and 1106 South Park Street was approved. The application was made by ZZap Consulting Incorporated on behalf of Eldorado Properties Limited, and will keep 52 existing units and add 36 new ones.

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