Nova Scotia

Halifax council approves alterations to Gottingen Street heritage building

Halifax regional council has approved a plan to alter a heritage property at 2438 Gottingen St. It's the first step in a two-pronged process to redevelop Victoria Hall, which was built in 1885.

Removal of rear section is first step in redevelopment of Victoria Hall

A proposed redevelopment of Victoria Hall on Gottingen Street would include a 13-storey apartment building behind the heritage structure. (Ekistics Planning & Design/HRM)

Halifax regional council has approved a plan to alter a heritage property at 2438 Gottingen St.

It's the first step in a two-pronged process to redevelop Victoria Hall, which was built in 1885.

On Tuesday, council voted to allow the removal of a rear section that was added in 1904.

"I recognize we need the density and the development," Coun. Paul Russell said during the meeting. "But it is a shame to see this happen to that building."

In a report, Halifax Regional Municipality planning staff said the removal "will not diminish the heritage value." 

The alteration is needed so a multi-unit development can be built behind the heritage property.

Victoria Hall is now owned by Joseph Arab. He plans to rehabilitate the building by repairing the trim, siding, windows and masonry.

"The amount of investment that the proponent is proposing will keep this building standing and in good shape for many years to come," said HRM planner Aaron Murnaghan.

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of Victoria Hall on Gottingen Street. Halifax council has voted to allow the removal of a rear section of the structure that was added in 1904. (Ekistics Planning & Design/HRM)

The latest proposal includes a 13-storey apartment building constructed behind Victoria Hall that will also front along Creighton Street. Originally the developer suggested 19 storeys, while a second proposal had 16.

But councillors made it clear that the vote in favour of removing the 1904 addition does not mean they agree with the 13-storey version.

"I do have concerns about putting a large building like this on Creighton Street," said Coun. Lindell Smith, "so I'll support this for today but I'll be more critical as we move forward in the planning process."

"I don't want to lose the ability to say this should be eight storeys," said Coun. Patty Cuttell.

"I too have great concerns about how that building impacts the historic streetscape of two-storey homes along Creighton."

Planners said the proposal now has to go through a development agreement process, which includes community consultation, a review by the heritage advisory committee, and a vote by the Halifax and West Community Council.

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