Nova Scotia

Halifax building damaged by crane collapse gets new tongue-in-cheek name

An apartment building in downtown Halifax that was under construction when a crane crashed down on it during a storm in 2019 will open for rentals in May — under a new tongue-in-cheek name. The building on South Park Street, which was to originally be called the Olympus, is now called the Crane.

Apartment building that was under construction was damaged by crane collapse during Dorian

A construction crane toppled into a building owned by Olympus properties during Dorian in September 2019. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

An apartment building in downtown Halifax that was under construction when a crane crashed down on it during a storm in 2019 will open for rentals in May — under a new tongue-in-cheek name.

The building on South Park Street, which was to originally be called the Olympus, is now called the Crane.

"I guess it's pretty well self-explanatory," said Seymour Trihopoylos with Olympus Properties. "It's a pretty famous building around the world after what happened here."

The crane in question, which was working on another building nearby, collapsed into the Olympus building on Sept. 7 as the former Hurricane Dorian landed as a post-tropical storm.

The crane collapse delayed the opening of the apartment building on South Park Street by more than a year. (Olympus Properties)

The incident delayed the opening of the apartment building, which had been under construction since 2018, by more than a year, said Trihopoylos.

"It definitely put a twist into our plans," he said. "It definitely was difficult for our company and our family during the time, but we tried to look at it in a positive light, and turn a negative into a positive."

It took more than a month to clean up the collapsed crane.

The province covered the $2-million bill in an attempt to get the work done as soon as possible and the area reopened to the public. Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said at the time that efforts would be made to recover that money. CBC News has contacted the province for an update.

Rental prices for the Crane range between $1,895 to $2,225 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,595 to $2,845 for a two-bedroom apartment. (Olympus Properties)

The provincial Labour Department is expected to release a report into the cause of the collapse some time this year.

Trihopoylos said Olympus isn't involved in the investigation.

"We really don't have much to do with it because it affected us in the fashion that it only fell on the building, but we don't have any direct involvement with the investigation or knowing why or how it came down," he said.

Several businesses in the area also launched a proposed class-action lawsuit against WM Fares Architects Inc. and WM Fares & Associates Incorporated, the developer of the building that was under construction when the crane toppled, in an effort to recover lost sales.

The lawsuit also names Lead Structural Formwork Ltd. — the owner, operator and installer of the crane — and the Manitowoc Company, the designer, producer and fabricator of the crane.

Above average prices

Rental prices for the Crane building range between $1,895 to $2,225 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,595 to $2,845 for a two-bedroom apartment.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's 2020 report on rental markets, the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Halifax is $1,016 per month and the average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,255.

With this in mind, Trihopoylos said he believes the prices for the Crane building are fair.

"We believe that we are ... following what today's market rents are for similar products and similar locations," he said.

The average rent in the Halifax area jumped by more than four per cent last year.

While the average vacancy rate in the municipality has doubled in the last year, experts have said it's more indicative of the effects of the pandemic than any long-term solutions to the city's housing crisis.

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Alex Cooke

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Alex is a reporter living in Halifax. Send her story ideas at alex.cooke@cbc.ca.

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