Nova Scotia

Halifax council endorses 4 apartment buildings for busy city block

Halifax regional council has endorsed two separate development proposals involving four apartment towers for Robie Street and Spring Garden Road.

Developer's plans include a public atrium, public park, underground wiring and affordable housing units

The proposed towers would be built at Robie Street and Spring Garden Road and could be between 20 and 29 storeys. (Halifax Regional Municipality)

Halifax regional council has endorsed two separate development proposals involving four apartment towers for a busy city block.

The proposed towers would be built at Robie Street and Spring Garden Road and could be between 20 and 29 storeys. 

Dexel Developments wants to redevelop the north side of the block, while a development company run by the Rouvalis family has plans for the south side.

There are 14 existing residential and commercial properties on each redevelopment site, which total 1.4 hectares.

Dexel's proposal had included a 30-storey building, but municipal planners recommended changes that would create a maximum height of 90 metres, or 26 to 28 storeys for both properties. 

The recommended changes also include deeper setbacks from the streets, bringing the plans closer in line with what's proposed under the Centre Plan, which is expected to be approved in September.

Some opposition expressed

Public hearings for both projects were held Monday night.

Despite the adjustments recommended by planners, a number of people spoke out against the developments.

"Buildings this tall are unreasonable in this neighbourhood," said Janet Shotwell.

Ian Johnson added: "I'm troubled by the scale and the potential impact of wind and shadow and traffic."

Lukas Pearse spoke in opposition to the project, but did recognize the developers for preserving and restoring a number of heritage properties along College and Carleton streets.

"I think that should be something that is celebrated," said Pearse.

Agreement process could take a year

While some councillors agreed that wind studies will be necessary, all of them voted in favour of both proposals.

"[There's] no better place than this particular part of Halifax," said Coun. David Hendsbee.

"Everything's there and I think [that] type of density will add high value to the area."

Kris Skiba, of Dexel Developments, said the company's proposal will include a public atrium, a public park, underground wiring, affordable housing units and affordable office space for non-profit organizations.

"All we seek is the opportunity to make Halifax a great city," said Wendell Thomas, speaking on behalf of the Rouvalis family.

Each development will now proceed through an agreement process that could take between nine and 12 months.

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