Council’s heritage committee is happy with a 10-storey addition proposed for a downtown Halifax hotel.
Zzap Consulting submitted the proposal for 1266 Barrington St., the Waverley Inn, on behalf of the property owner, Nassim Ghosn’s Sterling Hotel Ltd.
The original building was completed in 1866, “an excellent example of the Italianate style of architecture,” per the staff report to the Heritage Advisory Committee’s virtual meeting on Wednesday. It first opened as a hotel in 1876. Oscar Wilde stayed there once in 1882.
“The proposal focuses on removing the Waverley Inn’s rear wing and constructing a modern 10-storey addition, which would expand its capacity from 14 to roughly 117 rooms,” heritage planner Jesse Morton wrote in the staff report.
The project also adds 32 indoor parking spaces and an accessible entrance.
The property is part of the the Old South Suburb Heritage Conservation District and is considered a “contributing heritage resource,” meaning work on the building is subject to approval from the advisory committee and council. Morton recommended in favour of the project despite the removal of the rear wing.
“The District’s heritage value and the Waverley Inn’s character defining elements are solely associated with the original structure and will not be adversely impacted,” Morton wrote.
“While some modern building materials will likely be introduced to the Waverley Inn’s southern wall, the proposal also features the reinstatement and restoration of lost architectural elements. Thus, staff advise that the property’s historic use and heritage value will be conserved.”
The committee agreed with Morton’s recommendation, voting unanimously in favour of a motion to recommend that regional council hold a public hearing on the proposal and approve the alterations to the heritage property.
“I think it looks really good,” said committee member Jennifer Clarke-Hines. “I think the way they’ve integrated the building in the back and what they’re doing to the front really comes together nicely and I don’t always like these but I really do like the look of this one.”
Luke Stock agreed.
“Often we see these and they feel somewhat detached from the original historic property,” he said. “I appreciate that it looks like the owners, and the developers in this case, kind of [went] to lengths to try to work with the existing property.
Earlier in Wednesday’s meeting, the committee voted to recommend heritage registration for the building at 2267 Brunswick St., the former rectory building next to St. Patrick’s Church.
Council initiated that heritage registration in 2019. The property is subject to a development agreement for the area behind the building, where Adam Barrett’s Brunswick Street Developments Ltd. is building a 42-unit, eight-storey residential building.
The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia unsuccessfully appealed that development agreement to the highest court in the province.