Regional council’s peninsula planning advisory committee is recommending in favour of a 16-storey development on Gottingen Street despite concerns around seven so-called affordable units.
Developer Joseph Arab wants to construct the building on the same lot as Victoria Hall, a municipally-registered heritage building dating back to 1884. The building at 2438 Gottingen St. housed low-income senior women for decades before being sold to Arab in 2013 and turned into market-rate rentals. The proposed development sites behind Victoria Hall, closer to Creighton Street.
According to the drawings submitted, there’d be 145 residential units (although a staff memo says 137) — two bachelors, 76 one-bedrooms and 67 two-bedrooms. The bachelors are 456 square feet, the one-bedrooms range from 470 to 927 square feet and the two-bedrooms from 787 to 1,256 square feet.
There’d be two levels of underground parking with a total of 78 stalls with vehicular access from Creighton Street.
Some renderings of the project have been updated since it was first proposed last year.
Seven of the units are proposed to be “affordable” for 15 years. Four of those would rent for 50% of market prices and three of those at 10% below market rates.
During a teleconference meeting on Tuesday, Halifax heritage planner Aaron Murnaghan told the committee “that HRM has no way to ensure they remain affordable housing units over time,” according to minutes posted Wednesday evening.
The committee identified several issues with the proposal, including a lack of units larger than two bedrooms, height “inconsistent” with the rest of the neighbourhood, and “concerns that affordable housing may be limited to one type of unit (ie. bachelor units) or be located within one section of the building.”
As one of the considerations tacked onto its recommendation for approval, the committee asked that the affordable units “be spread out over a cross-section of unit type and location within the building.”
The proposal also includes renovations to Victoria Hall, which will follow a separate process to the heritage advisory committee and then regional council.
The development agreement heads next to Halifax and West community council for first reading and then a public hearing and final decision.