Bloomfield Centre redevelopment proposals sought
The Halifax Regional Municipality is looking for interested developers to take on the Bloomfield Centre in the city's north end, considered one of the largest public land development opportunities on the Halifax peninsula.
The Bloomfield Centre, which served as a school until 1988, sits on 1.3 hectares of land surrounded by Almon, Robie and Agricola streets.
Natalie Chavarie, the co-chair of a non-profit group called Imagine Bloomfield, said the group has spent the last eight years coming up with a plan for the former school's redevelopment as a community hub.
"What's different about Bloomfield is that the community has really driven it through consultation and needs assessment, and now we're asking developers to respond to the identified community needs," she told CBC News on Thursday.
"That's really unique and a unique approach to development in Halifax."
The Bloomfield Centre is close to the Stadacona base and the Halifax Shipyards, and is surrounded by Metro Transit bus routes.
Chavarie said that makes it a prime piece of real estate for a mix of residential and commercial buildings, but the Imagine Bloomfield group is looking for even more than that.
"Arts and cultural space, social enterprise commercial space and mixed housing — affordable housing but also with market scale housing," she said.
"We're really pleased with the process so far and our work with HRM and we think that it can really be a model for organizations that want to foster more collaborative approaches to working with the city and working with developers."
Holly Richardson, a planner with the Halifax Regional Municipality, said she's excited the request for proposals has gone out and she's expecting a lot of interest.
"How many of those might be local versus your national, maybe beyond, I'm not sure. We just want to put it out there as widely as possible so that we can get the most creative and innovative development teams coming forward," she said.
"I think that we have a lot of developers who are focused on these kinds of sustainable, urban developments."
The largest building on the Bloomfield Centre site will be torn down and there are hopes the other two will be saved.
Once developers indicate they're interested, the Halifax Regional Municipality will create a short list in July and invite them to submit detailed proposals.
A final decision will be made in the fall.