Condo tower at Quinpool and Robie capped at 20 storeys

Although the developer sought approval for a 29-storey building, the maximum height for the project is now 20 storeys.

Development proposal is heading to a public hearing next

A parking garage and an office building occupies the site of the proposed Armco Tower. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

The contentious Armco tower condominium development proposed for the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street on peninsular Halifax is heading to a public hearing.

Regional councillors capped the maximum height of the project at 20 storeys on Tuesday, reducing the project's size from the 29 storeys originally proposed by the developer.

City staff had recommended against the developer's original application, which also raised the ire of local residents.

"We have to listen to what residents are saying," said Coun. Lindell Smith.

"And residents from the beginning said that 29 storeys would impact them."

Developer donations

Members of the Willow Tree Group, which is concerned about development in the Quinpool area, had asked councillors who have accepted campaign donations from the developer not to take part in the debate.

None excused themselves from discussion.

The reduction to 20 storeys did worry a few councillors who wondered if the proposal would still be economically feasible.

'Disservice' for the developer

"If you ask me this is a disservice to the opportunity for the developer," said Coun. David Hendsbee. "I would not handicap this at 20 storeys."

Coun. Bill Karsten agreed with Hendsbee, saying Halifax residents have a phobia about height.

"If the step up and the setback is accurate and correct, there is no difference between a 20-storey building and a 29-storey building," said Karsten.

Most of council supported the move, with the vote 13 to 4 in favour of sending the proposal to a public hearing with the 20-storey limit.

Centre Plan factor

"It's not our job to guarantee that people make money," said Coun. Waye Mason. "Our role is to decide what do we think is the best plan for development in the city."

Municipal planners had recommended the 20-storey maximum and that's the height designation for the site in the proposed new Centre Plan.

The latest draft of those new rules could be ready by Friday.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca