St. John's city council OKs Duckworth Street hotel

St. John's councillors have voted unanimously to support a proposal that promises to change dramatically part of the streetscape in the downtown.
An artist's conception shows a plan to erect two buildings, including a boutique hotel and condos, on opposite sides of Duckworth Street. (CBC)

St. John's councillors have voted unanimously to support a proposal that promises to change dramatically part of the streetscape in the downtown.

A developer wants to put up a six-storey building at the east end of Duckworth Street, in a $20-million plan that includes a boutique hotel and some retail space.

The so-called Light House project also includes a plan to erect a building that will include parking garage and several floors of residential units.

Coun. Dave Lane, who was elected in September's election, said approval was not an easy decision to make.

"There were a few things that made me really dubious about voting for it [including] how the land was sold — even though perfectly legal, is that the best way to do it?" said Lane, who was also concerned about the height restriction.

"We're always amending that bylaw so hopefully we can find something more sustainable than that," he said.

Some residents wrote the city with concerns about parking and fears that their view will be blocked by the 21-metre structure.

Coun. Tom Hann, though, said that criticism of the approval process was not warranted.

"Despite some comments about proper process not being followed, it was. And there was a lot of public process, and there was a lot of scrutiny," Hann said.

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