Last night Halifax Regional Council approved two massive development projects: a 23-storey building at Robie Street near Quinpool Road, and two 29-storey and 28-storey buildings at the block of Robie, College and Carlton Streets. The approval went ahead even though community members who appeared at the virtual Halifax and West Community Council meeting unanimously opposed the two large-scale developments, many expressing concern about the size of the buildings, environmental factors, the consultation process and the potential impact on the Halifax Common.
The Carlton block project, called The Promenade, is two apartment buildings at 28- and 29-storeys tall, with 577 residential units and a ground floor and underground commercial space facing College Street. The project, from developer Peter Rouvalis through an application from ZZap Consulting Inc., includes 511 underground parking spaces and involves the relocation of two heritage buildings into the backyards of two other properties on Carlton Street.
If approved, these would be among the tallest apartment buildings in the city. Currently the highest is the 33-storey Fenwick Tower. The proposed buildings will be much narrower than the neighbouring Tupper Building at College and Carlton Streets; the new apartments will tower over the 16-storey Dalhousie University building.
The development was recommended for approval by HRM staff, and city planner Tyson Simms said he heard some support for the project through public outreach, but he received three phone calls and four emails with concerns about the projects. On the same site as this development, but not up for discussion during Tuesday’s meeting, are another two towers around 30-storeys tall by Dexel Architects.
Hadrian Laing, a member of advocacy group Development Options Halifax, was one of 11 people who spoke out against the two-tower building plan during Tuesday night’s meeting. He said his neighbours feel “betrayed” by the development because the scale of it, with all four towers from the two developers, were not accurately presented to the public.
When asked why the two projects spanning one block are not being dealt with at the same meeting, Simms said the city is, “not in a position to require both applicants to meet at the same time for this process.” He said the city is still waiting for Dexel’s application.
Councillor Patty Cuttell was the sole member to vote against the motion to approve the development agreement.
The second development up for consideration Tuesday night was Danny Chedrawe’s 23-storey building at 2032 and 2050 Robie Street, near Quinpool. This project includes 102 residential units, a rooftop terrace and 70 parking spots underground. Four community members spoke out against the development during Tuesday’s virtual meeting.
The community group Friends of Halifax Common is opposed to the development, citing concerns about potential impacts of wind and the building’s shadow on Halifax Common. Developer Chedrawe said the current design provides maximum sun exposure and minimum wind.
“We spent $25,000 on modeling the wind to ensure we have minimum impact on the sidewalks. This building will bring more sunlight into the street realm,” Chedrawe said during the meeting.
City planner Meaghan Maund, who presented the project, acknowledged that most feedback from the community was negative. This development does not align with the city’s Centre Plan, though HRM has made an exception for the project.
An HRM report said the project meets the form, mass and land use requirements previously approved by regional council and staff recommend it be approved. Councillors voted unanimously in favour of its approval.