The developer behind one of the two big, controversial projects proposed for the corner of Robie Street and Spring Garden Road has tweaked his design, opting for taller towers and more units.
ZZapp Consulting submitted an updated design to the municipality on behalf of a numbered company owned by Peter Rouvalis in May, and it was posted online this week.
The developer is looking for a development agreement for the project at the corner of Robie and College streets after Halifax regional council approved bylaw amendments enabling this project and another, from Dexel Developments at the corner of Robie Street and Spring Garden Road, following a public hearing about a year ago.
Together, the two projects would transform nearly the entire block in the heart of peninsular Halifax, bounded by Robie, Spring Garden, College and Carlton.
At the public hearing last July, residents were almost all opposed to the project and concerned they weren’t being properly considered together.
“These two proposals are together working synergistically to destroy an entire city block,” Lukas Pearse told council.
But both projects still need to go through another public hearing to get development agreements from Halifax and West community council.
Rouvalis’ original proposal contemplated towers of 26 and 20 storeys, with about 400 residential units, 32,000 square feet of commercial space, and more than 350 parking spaces.
The towers in the updated proposal would be 29 and 28 storeys, plus mechanical penthouses. The number of units has increased to 577, commercial space to about 43,000 square feet, and the number of parking spaces to more than 500.
The design rationale submitted to the city says the new design is still within the size limits approved by council last year.
After a review by city planning staff, the proposal will head next to the peninsula planning advisory committee, which recommended shorter buildings — 20 and 16 storeys, as opposed to 26 and 20 — in September 2018.
“The overall height, I do believe we are aiming a little bit too high,” said one member of the committee, Ashley Morton. “It’s higher than I’m quite comfortable with.”
That committee, which makes non-binding suggestions about peninsular developments, also recommended planning staff “use all available tools to maximize affordable housing within the development.”
Though there are plans for affordable housing in the neighbouring proposal (16 units), there are no affordable units mentioned in Rouvalis’ updated plans.
The proposal also includes substantial alterations to three registered heritage properties in the area. The plan is to integrate them into the larger building near the corner of College and Carlton streets, moving one registered and one unregistered heritage property.
Construction would happen in two phases, with the developer first restoring and moving the heritage buildings, and then building the new towers and podium.