Condos coming to Halifax's Citadel Hill?
Developer was enthusiastic about water views and uniformed guards in 1986
In Halifax, a view of the water is a valuable attribute for any new condominium.
But in 1986, there wasn't a lot of valuable land available to build on in the city.
"Finally, developers have got their hands on one of the prime locations: Citadel Hill," reporter Melvin McLeod claimed in a report for CBC Halifax on April 1 — hint, hint — of that year.
Behind the walls of the historic fort, work had allegedly already begun on a development consisting of an office tower and "high-priced condominium."
"The project ... will dominate the Halifax skyline," said McLeod, adding that the developers were handling it "with the sensitivity required of such an historic site."
"The main tower is over on this end," said developer James Drescher, gesturing at a spot along the wall where a building already stood. "Then we get a little bit shorter tower. In any case, it'll obscure everything from anywhere else, I suppose."
"I'm really not sure who's going to be able to see the harbour from the other side of the Citadel anyway," said his business partner, Charles Leaf.
"Irrelevant if anyone can see it except the people in the condos," said Drescher. "Because those are the people we're selling to."
Amenities unlike anything else
The condos would cost $300,000 — a steep price for 1986 in Halifax.
But the amenities included "uniformed staff" and "elaborate security."
The developers said they expected they could save the landmark clock tower on Citadel Hill.
"But if we can't save it, we'll take it somewhere," said Leaf, reassuringly.
The development wasn't welcomed with open arms, as evidenced by sign-bearing pickets chanting "Save our Citadel!"
"Such visionary projects often draw small-minded protesters," noted McLeod. "With big bucks at stake, the developers appear unmoved."
Drescher dismissed concerns about water views becoming inaccessible to Haligonians, saying the new condos would create a "much more spectacular" view.
"This will be tall enough, you'll be able to see it from anywhere in the city. It will be a beautiful building and people will appreciate it, I'm sure."
McLeod had one more thing to add.
"This is, of course, an April Fools' joke. But in Halifax, perhaps a little too believable."