A rendering of the proposal for 6189-6191 Young St. included in the report to the committee. There are no actual trees in the area around the development. — HRM/WM Fares Credit: HRM/WM Fares

Halifax’s Design Advisory Committee recommended in favour of a proposal for nine-storey apartment building on Young Street on Wednesday.

WM Fares Architects made the application under the city’s Centre Plan on behalf of the developer, Alessandra Investments Limited, owned by Luigi and Marilisa Benigno. They want to build eight floors of residential space, including 58 units, about half of which are one-bedroom units and the other half two-bedroom. On the ground floor, they’re proposing commercial space, and the design includes underground parking.

Municipal planning staff recommended in favour of the project, advising the committee that it conforms to the Centre Plan.

A Google Streetview image of 6189-6191 Young St. Credit: Google Streetview

There’s currently a tattoo shop and a mattress store in the one-storey building on the site, near the Superstore on Young Street. Beside and behind the property, developer Joe Ramia has plans approved for a massive development consisting of three buildings, one of which is 25 storeys tall.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Design Advisory Committee, one committee member, Rimon Soliman, declared a conflict of interest and then stayed on the meeting and presented on behalf of the developer in his role as an architect at WM Fares.

The other members of the committee debated the proposal, questioning the designers’ decisions. A few of them noted that some of the bedrooms in the building have no windows.

“I understand that Canadian legislation allows for interior rooms. In your case, you’re really taking it to the limit,” Cristina Verissimo said.

As one of five recommendations to the developer, the committee suggested they reevaluate the design of one of the units specifically.

The committee’s other recommendations asked the developer to include some permanent seating in front of the building; to either make more of the roof green or make it accessible to residents; to swap the location of the garbage room (planned for the main floor, with a door in the back of the building) and the bicycle storage room (planned for the parking garage); and to add a “visual artistic public presence or contribution” on the blank, windowless east wall.

Those recommendations formed an amendment to the motion to recommend in favour of the proposal, and the committee passed the amended motion unanimously.

The recommendations are non-binding, meant to be suggestions to the developer to improve the design. The building official on the project, principal planner Sean Audas, will ultimately decide whether to approve it.

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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