No one signed up to speak for or against a 12-storey development proposed for Joseph Howe Drive during a public hearing Tuesday night, and council approved bylaw amendments to allow the project.
The proposal from Alex and Besim Halef’s BANC Investments Ltd. would see a one-storey commercial building at 3514 Joseph Howe Dr. torn down to make way for the new build: 23,000 square feet of new ground-floor commercial space and four storeys of residential space in a five-storey structure in the front, with two towers in the back rising another seven storeys, containing more than 320 residential units.
Architect Keith Tufts said the design of the project “reflects a multitude of movement and mobility,” referring to the former rail lines in the area, now used as active transportation paths, and Joseph Howe Drive as a mobility corridor.
The councillor for the area, Russell Walker, said he’d only heard from one resident in opposition of the project, and only early in the process. Walker said he likes the design.
The land-use bylaw for the area — “Plan Dutch Village Road” — calls for slightly shorter streetwalls (16.5 metres, where the proposal is for 20 metres) and overall height (37.5 metres, where the proposal is for 42 metres). Municipal planner Paul Sampson described the differences as “minor,” and recommended in favour of bylaw amendments to allow the taller buildings. Council approved the amendments on Tuesday.
Halifax and West community council still has to approve the development agreement for the project. The committee meets Wednesday night, but the proposal was not on the agenda Wednesday morning.
There was nothing in place to consider requiring affordable housing in the project, Sampson told council.