News / Halifax

Staff recommend committee approve 'Governor’s Plaza' development in downtown Halifax

Killam Properties is proposing the eight-storey 'Governor’s Plaza' residential building for the corner of Hollis and Bishop streets in downtown Halifax.

Killam Properties' Governor's Plaza building, an eight-storey residential development proposed for 1451 and 1435 Hollis St., at the corner of Bishop Street, in Halifax.

Contributed/WSP/Architecture 49

Killam Properties' Governor's Plaza building, an eight-storey residential development proposed for 1451 and 1435 Hollis St., at the corner of Bishop Street, in Halifax.

A development for Hollis Street is headed to Halifax’s Design Review Committee on Thursday with a recommendation to give it to the go ahead.

Killam Properties is proposing an eight-storey residential building for the corner of Hollis and Bishop streets, right behind the Alexander building being built on Lower Water Street. The building, dubbed Governor’s Plaza, would stand next to Benjamin Weir House, a heritage property.

Governor’s Plaza would have 48 units, more than half of them with two bedrooms, landscaped terraces, common rooftop amenity space and 16 underground parking spaces.

"The design draws from the historic aesthetic of the neighbourhood, its volumes articulated to harmonize between traditional and modern architectural styles," reads a post on Killam's website.

The building doesn’t conform to the Downtown Halifax land-use bylaws, with a lower than required ground floor height and streetwall height, and a higher than allowed maximum height on portions of the eighth storey.

The rationale for two of the variances comes back to the building’s proximity to Benjamin Weir House. The ground floor was kept lower to line up the windows with those on Benjamin Weir House, and part of the streetwall is 2.5 metres shorter than required, in order to line up with the heritage property’s roofline.

One section of the eighth storey is higher than allowed. The design rationale submitted by WSP Canada and Architecture 49 said this is necessary to meet National Building Code requirements for stairwells.

A wind study done for the proposal said that wind conditions on the sidewalk are “appropriate” on Hollis and Bishop streets, but the corner could be “uncomfortable during winter months,” which it said is typical in downtown Halifax.

Public engagement on the proposal was done through the developer’s website and a public open house meeting held in October 2017, but the staff report doesn’t include any feedback from the meeting.

Municipal staff recommend the Design Review Committee, which approves developments based on the municipality’s design manual, give the proposal the green light. The committee meets Thursday afternoon.

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