The apartment building at 2438 Gottingen Street was mostly constructed around 1885, "at the height of the revival of the French chateau style," according to the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. The trust says Victoria Hall is "one of the largest examples of this Romantic genre in Nova Scotia."
At the latest regional council meeting, a development application to construct a highrise building behind the historic structure passed another hurdle.
The application, brought to the city by Ekistics Planning & Design on behalf of Joseph Arab, initially wanted to build a 16-storey structure that would stretch from the rear of Victoria Hall all the way back to Creighton Street. That was considered a significant alteration to a heritage property, which kicked off a process to have the proposal considered by the Heritage Advisory Committee. That process brought us to Tuesday's meeting, with council accepting the HAC recommendation to approve the modified design that’s now been shortened to 13 storeys.
The main reason the 13-storey design was approved is the change from 16 storeys in how much of the proposed building will be visible from the Gottingen Street level, illustrated above by the red triangle.
Lindell Smith, the councillor from the area, told council he was supporting this recommendation on the grounds that in order to discuss how this proposal fits into other elements of the community, like the neighbourhood and its impact on Creighton Street, it would need to move past this heritage stage.
This proposal includes knocking down a 1904 addition to the back of the building, which is currently home to three levels of multi-unit apartments. These units happen to have the Spanish-flu era radiators right below the window–built like that so the heat could be on in the winter, but the windows could stay open.
This approval means the proposal can no longer be debated on the grounds of heritage status or preservation, but will now move into the staff evaluation process. Then the proposal will return to Halifax and west community council, there’ll be a public hearing and then finally it could get approval.