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.

The one-storey building on the site now. Photo: Google Streetview

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.

BANC Investments’ 12-storey proposal for Joseph Howe Drive. Rendering: Lydon Lynch Architects
BANC Investments’ 12-storey proposal for Joseph Howe Drive. Rendering: Lydon Lynch Architects

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.

A young white man with a dark beard, looking seriously at the viewer in a black and white photo

Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. It is so disappointing to see the gentrification of this area (and others in this city). There should be a requirement for there to be a portion of affordable housing on all rental properties being newly built. With the rental rates where they currently are, people are home poor. If the city wants a thriving economy, first make it a possibility for people to have disposable income in the first place.

  2. The location with access to public transportation is perfect for affordable housing. Let’s put people before profits and make sure that all new construction includes affordable housing. C’mon council – the world needs to change and that means hfx too!

  3. I agree with Councillor Walker who likes the design and that’s obviously important because the building is in his District. I disagree with District 5 Councillor Sam Austin, who has spoken against the design in another media source. In so doing, Councillor Austin apparently finds it OK to challenge the work of one of HRM’s top architects. Perhaps Councillor Austin should attend the Halifax and West Community Council meeting and try to convince his colleagues to alter the design to suit his opinions; or at least explain why he finds it necessary to be involved in a building matter that is not in his district in the first place.

  4. Agreed, why shouldn’t any development ANYWHERE in HRM be required to include affordable housing?

  5. Why would there EVER be a proposal that was allowed to NOT consider affordable housing ?!?!
    This development looks interesting, in a good location for new energy like this. But Nothing required or considered for affordable housing is Just Wrong. So close to a Good Thing! Grrrr