"The smart money is betting on increased construction activity for the next several years, especially in the downtown core. Projects are underway now and beginning soon in Halifax that will keep crews busy and focus growth where it will benefit the city most- in the high-density core. More density downtown lessens the burden on stretched infrastructure budgets, makes it easier to enhance transit and deliver municipal services, and concentrates population where the most services already exist. It leads to improved amenities (like our new public library currently under construction) and a healthier business district- for large AND small businesses.
The growth and increased success of the downtown is good for all existing homeowners in the Halifax Region, through rising property values and potentially better future property tax rates and better service delivery."
TAYLOR: A building boom for Halifax
Several sizable developments in the works for the city’s downtown area
Halifax has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to construction these days, especially when compared to other Nova Scotia centres.
After many years in the doldrums, development activity in the provincial capital has woken up in a big way.
That means much of the downtown and Spring Garden Road districts will be a construction zone for summer — and several construction seasons to come — if everything goes as planned.
Of course, the below-grade concrete work on the massive Nova Centre project on Argyle Street has already started, but Rank Inc. expects to receive official approval from regional council this spring to quickly start construction of the one-million square-foot complex.
The plans call for two office towers, a luxury hotel and the Halifax Convention Centre.
Earlier this week, the city’s influential design review committee approved three projects that could start construction as early as next month, once they jump through more hoops at city hall.
The endorsement by the city’s design review committee is a milestone for any developer.
It clears the way for developer Jim Spatz’s Southwest Properties Ltd. to move forward with its 21-storey mixed residential and commercial development at 1583 Hollis St., commonly referred to as the site of the former Bank of Canada building.
It is being demolished and Eric Burchill, Southwest’s vice-president of planning and development, says construction should begin in early May.
He says the company will reveal the name of the new building before starting construction, which should take two years to complete.
Southwest’s plan includes retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, with the remaining 20 floors containing a total of 281 residential units. The building will also have four levels of underground parking, enough room for 253 cars and 145 bicycles.
A number of the residential units in the building have been set aside for Premiere Executive Suites to use for long-term accommodations for visitors. Southwest is a major investor in Premiere.
Burchill says the company also hopes to get started this summer on the development of the Cunard Block on the Halifax waterfront and the long-awaited Motherhouse residential development in the Rockingham area.
Meanwhile, the new owner of the building at the corner of Sackville and Market streets also received approval from the design review committee for an eight-storey mixed residential and commercial project on that site.
Mosaik Property Management Ltd., headed by developer and landlord George Giannoulis, wants to redevelop the Night Magic Fashions building and the structure next door on Market Street.
The plan for Market Lofts calls for the demolition of the existing buildings while maintaining the three-storey brick facade of the building on the corner. The additional five storeys will be stepped back from the main facade.
A total of 39 residential units — a mixture of bachelor and one- and two-bedroom units — will be created, but the plan does not include any parking for cars. It has set aside facilities for bicycles, as stipulated by the land-use bylaw for the downtown.
In a slightly less ambitious plan, Westwood Developments Ltd. had its proposal for a two-storey addition to the former Royal Bank building at 5466 Spring Garden Rd., on the corner of Queen Street, approved by the design committee.
The building has two retail tenants: American Apparel and Starbucks. Westwood, headed by Halifax developer Danny Chedrawe, will also make alterations to the building facade along Queen Street, where American Apparel has its entrance. Another minor change is a new awning over the Starbucks entrance on Spring Garden Road.
There is plenty of construction going on in that part of the city, including the creatively designed new Central Library, which is being built across the street.
There are also many other projects in various stages of construction that should provide the sense that something positive is happening in Halifax.