The sign for the mall is seen in November 2020. — Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

Housing could be coming to the parking lot of the mall in Dartmouth, with council being asked to start a public consultation process for redevelopment.

In a staff report to council’s meeting next Tuesday, municipal planner Kathleen Fralic writes that Dartmouth firm Zzap Consulting Inc. has submitted a request “to initiate the master neighbourhood planning process” for the area located between Micmac Boulevard and Horizon Court.

Zzap Consulting made the application on behalf of Ivanhoé Cambridge, the Montreal-based real estate company that owns the mall — and five of the six properties in that area.

“Staff have had preliminary discussions with the representatives for the property owner regarding their request,” Fralic wrote.

“At this time, they are interested in maintaining the mall building and increasing the density on the site in the areas around it.”

The remaining property on the site is the former Kent building, since repurposed as Iriving’s Bluenose Building, with office space for rent.

“[Iriving] indicated that they would be happy to participate in the process and that they do not have any long-term plans for the development of the property beyond its current use,” Fralic wrote.

The site in general was designated a “future growth node”(FGN) in the city’s Centre Plan, like the former Penhorn Mall site.

A map from the staff report showing the future growth node area, shaded dark.

That means it was identified as a good place for much higher population density than it has now, and the plan sets out a process, including public consultation, for determining exactly how much density.

“Given the strategic location of the site, staff are supportive of moving forward with the initiation of the master neighbourhood planning for the FGN located between Micmac Boulevard and Horizon Court at this time to enable an interested property owner to plan for the development of lands that have been identified for growth by the Municipality,” Fralic wrote in the report.

Through that process, planners would determine the infrastructure capacity of the area, any environmental, cultural or heritage concerns, and they’d draft site-specific policies for redevelopment.

The draft design criteria and a site plan would then come to council as an amendment to the Centre Plan.

“Should this amendment be approved, property owners within the FGN would then be eligible to apply for a development agreement for their lands,” Fralic wrote.

“It is anticipated that this process will take approximately two to three years to complete.”

Fralic recommended council initiate the process.

Meanwhile, council voted in November for a staff report on renaming all the municipal streets and parks bearing the outdated spelling of Mi’kmaq, like the mall.

Council meets at 1pm on Tuesday. The full agenda is here.

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. According to the HRM Zoning diagram the area known as Crichton Park school, along with the soccer fields is zoned Residential.

  2. A 27 storey residential tower was approved some years ago on Horizon Court and is still on the books. “Compatibility”of adjacent land uses suggest buildings should be over 20 storeys in height for MMM parking lot. In contrast, only 15 stories allowed at Penhorn despite high density assets including transit depot, grocery store, good highway access, lake). “Compatibility” is the bane of urban planning.

    1. My understanding is the 27 storey is on hold ad they got a 1-year extension. So, not sure if it will go ahead.