A rendering of the proposal for Wyse Road and Nantucket Avenue, as envisioned from a fictional one-way Wyse Road. — Fathom Studio/HRM

There’s a big building coming to the corner of Wyse Road and Nantucket Avenue after a vote by councillors on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.

The Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council met virtually on Thursday evening with two public hearings on the agenda.

For the first, it considered a proposal from Fathom Studio on behalf of developer Alex Dunphy for a 20-storey building with a four storey podium at the corner of Wyse Road and Nantucket Avenue, across the street from the approach to the Macdonald Bridge. There’s a brick building on the site now, formerly a Scotiabank, now plastered with ads for Preszler Injury Lawyers.

The proposed development would contain 160 residential units, 25,000 square feet of commercial space and 100 parking spaces. Of the 160 planned residential units, 25 are bachelors, 94 are one-bedrooms, and 41 are two-bedrooms.

Because the application was made before the Centre Plan passed, the proposal was considered under the old planning rules, municipal planner Dean MacDougall told the community council. The developer applied for a development agreement for the project, and the community council approved it.

No one signed up to speak during the public hearing.

A rendering of the proposal for Wyse Road and Nantucket Avenue, envisioned from across the intersection, closer to the bridge. — Fathom Studio/HRM

Dartmouth Centre Coun. Sam Austin said wind was his main concern with the proposal because it’s already windy in the area. He attributed those conditions to the building across the street, which has no podium, 99 Wyse Rd.

“Anyone who’s walked across the bridge or ridden across or just walked along Wyse Road around this spot knows the experience of the wind gust … having a very tall building across the street that has design elements that didn’t think about wind at all,” he said.

“Just looking at the design of this I don’t expect that we will have the same sort of result.”

There are requirements in the development agreement to improve the wind conditions before a permit will be issued, MacDougall said.

Austin said he had no concerns around the size of the proposed building generally.

“This site is one of the places that we expect density,” Austin said.

Coun. Becky Kent agreed it’s a good place for more people.

“This is a win to me,” Kent said. “Yes, it’s a large building, It’s a big, big change I think for that area, but if that change is going to come, which I think is a positive one for municipality, this is the right location.”

The motion passed unanimously.

An architectural rendering of the O’Regan’s proposal for the corner of Maple and Thistle streets. — Zzap Consulting/HRM
An architectural rendering of the O’Regan’s proposal for the corner of Maple and Thistle streets. — Zzap Consulting/HRM

Smaller buildings coming to another Dartmouth lot

The committee also approved a development agreement for a lot up the street on Thursday.

Zzap Consulting applied on behalf of the O’Regans to build 20 units in townhouses at the corner of Maple and Thistle streets. The lot used to be an O’Regan’s dealership and then a sort of holding lot for cars. It’s been empty more recently.

The site when it was a car dealership. — Photo: O’Regan’s
The site when it was a car dealership. — Photo: O’Regan’s

The O’Regans proposed 10 “stacked” townhouses with two units in each one. On the top two floors, they’re planning either two- or three-bedroom units, with one-bedroom units in the basement or ground floor of each building.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in how this is designed and it’s definitely driven by the topology of the site,” Zareski said, referring to the big drop-off from sidewalk to parking lot on the Maple Street side.

Two people signed up to speak for the public hearing. The first, Ann-Noreen Norton, said she’s one of the neighbours. She raised concerns about contaminated soil based on the site’s history as a foundry and said 20 units was too many for the site.

Chris Markides with Zzap said there are provincial regulations around soil quality at the permitting stage.

Bill MacLeod, the second speaker who said he owns property across the street, agreed 20 is too much density, and worried the development would devalue his property.

Austin, who also lives in the neighbourhood, said like the Wyse Road site, this one has been identified for more density “because this kind of paved surface parking lot is really contributing nothing to the neighbourhood as it is now.”

He noted the applicant could build a three-storey apartment building on the site under the Centre Plan.

“What has actually been designed for this site, I think density-wise it is in fitting with the neighbourhood,” Austin said.

An architectural rendering of the O’Regan’s proposal for the corner of Maple and Thistle streets. — Zzap Consulting/HRM
An architectural rendering of the O’Regan’s proposal for the corner of Maple and Thistle streets. — Zzap Consulting/HRM

Though he dismissed those concerns, he said he was worried about traffic. The 18-spot parking lot for the complex would have one entrance and exit on Maple Street, close to the intersection.

In response to traffic concerns, the designers proposed a right-in, right-out plan for the driveway, where left turns will be restricted.

Austin said he was satisfied with that workaround, he believes the change in traffic will be “imperceptible,” noting census data suggest half the people in his district don’t commute by car.

That motion passed unanimously.

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. No questions from the Harbour East Marine Drive Community Council about affordable housing in these projects? Oh yeah, I forgot, that’s apparently not their jurisdiction.

  2. The old photo brings back memories. That was the first car business in the O’Regan family. The dealership was famous for only having really good quality used cars which was a rarity back then.