Fortis proposes office development for St. Johns

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Artist renderings of proposed redevelopment. Submitted by Fortis Properties Corp.

Fortis Properties Corp. has submitted a major redevelopment application to the City of St. John's that would dramatically change the downtown's skyline if approved.
The proposed $75-million project includes the retrofit of the existing Fortis Building and a new 15-storey office building on Water Street, at the corner of Prescott Street and Harbour Drive.
"We believe this development will bring new business to the downtown, increase retail activity and further revitalize the city's downtown core through quality infrastructure and amenities," stated Nora Duke, president and CEO of Fortis Properties.
"Today's application recognizes our need to address the aging condition of our assets while providing much-needed Class A office inventory in the downtown core."
Key features of the new complex include 235,000 square feet of new Class A office space; 16,000 square feet of ground level retail; a total of 382 underground parking stalls accessible from Harbour Drive; a complete retrofit of the existing Fortis building; and a pedway connection between the Fortis Building and TD Place.
"Added features to the complex include an outdoor plaza which will provide an attractive, public square; a spacious harbour view atrium to house various amenities and services, as well as a curbside lane for public transit and drop-off traffic," said Duke.
The development involves the removal of four of the company's existing buildings, located at 151 to 163 Water Street.
The project is estimated to provide approximately 400,000 person hours of construction-related work.
"While Fortis Properties has operations across the country, St. John's is our home city," stated Duke. "We would be proud to make this level of investment here."
Fortis Properties, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., owns and operates 2.8 million square feet of commercial real estate primarily in Atlantic Canada, 21 hotels in eight Canadian provinces and six unregulated hydroelectric plants in Ontario.
Fortis Properties employs approximately 2,300 people.

Organizations: Fortis Building, Fortis Properties, Properties

Geographic location: St. John's, Water Street, Prescott Street Atlantic Canada Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Karon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    We all think it
    Why not say it
    Most of those building are not up to code
    Most of those building are fire traps
    Have you seen the rats......
    Has anyone really looked at downtown
    The POTHOLES are huge!
    The garbage is piled HIGH
    No place to park
    and I could go on..
    Let a clean structure that brings in jobs go ahead..Think of the future.
    Think of the Firemen who fear the worst.

  • Telling it like it is (C)
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    It will never happen.

    fortis appears to have missed the city of St. John's guidelines for downtown development.

    1 - The building must be brick, brick implies old as in 1497 old, no glass. Glass is for whimps and is a product of black magic. All glass buildings shall be targeted for conversion to iron bars instead of glass windows.

    2 - The building must NOT exceed 15 feet. The seven dwarves lived and worked in a building barely taller than a grown man....deal with it!

    3 - The view of our harbour...Picasso, Da Vinici, Monet, Renior and even Michaelangelo ventured to St. John's to paint the most spectactular view in the world... nothing is more beautiful than our view of the harbour. It is #1 - 8 natural wonders of the world. The view of the harbour has been brought tears to the eyes of kings and peasants alike. Even the water from the harbour has been known to cure cancer.

    4 - Opinion matters. Residents from the battery have the final say on all downtown buildings. Afterall, they were here first.

    5 - Continuous improvement of ones city is for losers. Continuous stagnation is better.

    6 - We are only interested in hotels, grocery stores or big box shopping districts.

  • Penney
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    This kind of development would be better located next to the Avalon Mall. We can enjoy the same benefits without destroying the character of downtown. Within the context of downtown this would be a monstrosity.

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Boy!! The where's mine ? crowd are aleady lined up.
    You can count on Galgay and Hann to vote for this. Notice the application was held back 'till after the election.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I guess because this is Fortis and big money (lots of influence) this will probably succeed in ramming this through the muddy quagmire called city council. Maybe then the city will reimburse my spouse and I for the additional $50,000 that we spent two years ago complying with their so called heritage requirements on a very very small house in the downtown. This proposal is obnoxious in nature from the outset and doubly so if approved by our lordships at city coucil.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    George from Alberta writes: Sounding Off; are you scared some jobs might be created and you'd have to get of your arse and go to work?

    George from Alberta. You never cease to amaze me with your ridiculous remarks. Are you as dense as you appear to be?

    Sounding Off was using sarcasm in his comments. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have seen that. In case you don't know, and I doubt if you do, one definition of sarcasm is a way of speaking in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant. It's a lower form of irony.

    It's like this George. If I described you as a Rocket Scientist, I wouldn't be saying that you're intelligent. Just the opposite. I hope I'm not going to fast for you, am I George?

  • Newfie Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Don't tell me, another 3 years of impact studies. St. John's City Council, GET WITH THE TIMES and allow this project.

  • Bones II
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Ha! Awesome. This will move forward because it amounts to un-ignorable amounts of money for St. John's, which it badly needs and will never admit it, like ever.



    I can't wait to hear the spin from those desperately clinging to a heritage that has been long lost in downtown St. John's. The Water Street I grew up with was way different than the Water Street of today. The old one is never coming back, no matter how much any of us wants it to. It's time to modernize downtown. I hope the trauma is so great that council quits, lol.

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Historic downtown is not witnessed by people on a cruise ship as they enter the harbour. Historic downtown is experienced when you walk around down there and see the heritage up close and personal. This project will create jobs and give downtown a more modern look. If anyone living in the downtown area wants a view of the harbour, take a walk up signal hill for the best view of the harbour that the city has to offer. If the sky does fall and this project goes ahead, I cant wait to see what downtown looks like afterwards.

  • Homer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    The children! The children!... Will somebody pleeeassse think of the children!

  • briny 69
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    this one will go ahead because the city needs the extra revenue to help pay for the growing deficet of their pension plan.

  • H
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    382 parking spots means at least 382 more cars to the downtown core. The downtown core cannot handle that especially because the cars will be coming and going at the same time. Judging from the size of the building I would like to know if 382 parking spots will be enough or will people working in that building be taking even more of the on street parking from people wanting to walk/shop etc. down town. I think this looks nice and I would like to see it developed where we have the infrastructure to support it. Harbour Drive, Water Street, Prescott Street and Duckworth Street cannot handle the increased traffic!!

  • peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I thinks it is long over due That they do something modern to the down town core. We need to catch up with the rest of the western world and modernize this city. In my Opinion it's one of the nicest cities in the world to live in, it just need to be made world class to reflect the people who live in and around it.

  • dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    A quick drive thru downtown and you will see many vacant buildings, or run down ones in need of much work. The downtown core could really use a project like this. With all the development in the st. john's area you don't see any downtown. the real heritage areas are gower, Cochrane and the residential streets between Duckworth and Military/Lemarchant. Fortis was started here and has turned themseleves into one of the best companies in Canada, and one of the better ones on the tsx, to stay true to there roots and comit to the local economy is in my opion very respectable. I am in my 20 currently in school, when im done I want to work here with the chance of a high paying job, projects like these will give me that oppurtunity. This isn't your granparents city anymore, the days of 20,000 home in the downtown area are long gone, development will happen. My class of 35 twenty somethings love the possibility of this happening and fully support it.

  • Poscstudent
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I think it looks great. Hopefully it is approved it is deperatly needed

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Okay, so city council said our expanded developments are going to help lower costs?!!?? Which we haven't seen happen, just the opposite. And now to lower costs further DOC et al will support this monstrosity marring the already threatened harbour vistas. Why don't we just get over ourselves and rename the city of legends Fortisville?

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Which means engineering work, construction work, maintenance, cleaning services, and additional municipal taxes.................Build it.

  • GERARD
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    FORTIS WELCOME TO WATER STREET 2010 !!!
    FABULOUS!!!

    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS TOWN NEEDS NOT A REFURBISHED GEORGE STREET!!

    BRING BIG BUSINESS TO DOWNTOWN!!! BUY UP EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!!!

    GOODBYE HISTORIC ST. JOHN'S DOWNTOWN!!!

    AFTER 25 YEARS SOMEONE HAS ANSWERED THE CALL!!!!

    NICE TO SEE IT IS A HOMETOWN GROUP!!

    GOODBYE WOOLWORTHS BUILDING!!!
    GOODBYE ALL OLD DOWNTOWN EYESORES!!

    HELLO CONDOS AND BIG BUSINESS!!

    GET OUT OF THE WAY CITY HALL!!

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    The issue here is not that it is new development. The issue has almost everything to do with location.

    Businesses will be affected; traffic and parking with be affected; heritage regulations will be affected; and yes, the view will be affected.

    This does not have to be all bad, let's just make sure that the debate involved everyone affected (which is everyone in St. John's, really).

    There is a facebook group called The Fortis Redevelopment: St. John's Citizens for Cooperative Development . Look it up and join the discussion!

  • Ashley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I moved back from Toronto because I wanted a city with character, not a city of cold, imposing structures.

    While I do not dispute the tower is needed, the waterfront is NOT where it belongs. There are other places in the city that wouldn't ruin the character of downtown.

    To all of you who think that this is progress, spend some time in Toronto, where you get no light on the street because the buildings block it out, and you see nothing but the cookie cutter plain buildings and concrete.

    People live in St John's because they want to be away from that stuff.
    There is nothign that says the business core needs to be right downtown, we can put these buildings somewhere else and STILL have the same amount of jobs

  • Alex
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Aside from the fact that it violates city bylaws, I'm against this development for a number of reasons. Namely, I'm from St. John's and proud of the character and style of the city, which is directly related to the architecture and layout of downtown (consider the efforts to preserve the historic character of east-end downtown, kings-bridge rd, etc decades ago, and how much nicer the east end of downtown is compared to the west).

    But there's more to this debate than that. Taking the immediate financial contributions of this construction and related employment as the only economic calculation here would be short-sighted. The preservation of heritage, architecture, and landscape downtown also has a significant economic benefit. Tourism, living desirability, artistic productions (notice anything about the first episode of Republic of Doyle?) are just some of the economic generators that could be hurt by rushing through new development downtown.

    In short, portraying this debate only as aesthetics/culture vs. business would be wrong

  • William
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Just watch City Hall screw this one up.

  • barry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    I think i look's great . now do something with the woolworth property.

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    If this isn't approved, it is only a matter of time until Fortis pulls their HQ from St. John's to another city that would welcome such investment. Then who will be laughing.....not city hall!

  • Andreas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    The rendering shown is absolutely useless. Ok, it's a nice glass box but how about some context. I kind of like the view out to the Narrows from the corner of Harbour Drive and Prescott Street. How will this building affect that view and others.

    As everyone who approves of this mentions - it's 2010 so lets see some renderings that show how the views and skyline will actually be affected.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Yes, I love the heritage of the Harvey's offshore terminal. I wonder if the rusting transhipment containers, and the cranes have the right kind of heritage windows in them. people talk about maintaing the look of the downtown, that's like saying you want to maintain the look of a cesspool.

  • Robb
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Yes.....build it and they will come......can someone tell shannie duff that it is 2010 please. she somehow thinks that we have to live in the dark ages.......Fortis is a great company that will only revitalize downtown.....I mean, how dreary is it to drive down water street.......you know exactly what I mean.......and guidlines are merely that, guidlines.....they are far from rules, and can be easily overridden in the face of wonderful economic development. shannie needs an update...didn't someone send her the memo, because surely she does not use email, that is a modern tool, not used much in the dark ages......and don't get on with the view crap.........tell me somewhere in the world where you can buy a house or a piece of land, and also get a guarantee that teh view will never change....want to look at the harbour, go visit signal hill...

  • sarah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    How does anyone think that this proposal is fine? St. John's harbour is an amphitheater. Those in the front must SIT DOWN. The only thing this structure will do is pave the way to ruin downtown St. John's as we see it today. Sure, Harbour Drive could do with a facelift, but to help enhance what is already there. Not to plow it down and put in something completely new and out of touch with the heritage downtown is desperately clinging to. If you want a commercial property, go up to Kenmount Road or Stavanger, and stay away from ruining downtown. Atlantic Place, the Delta and the Scotia building have already done enough damage.

  • Warren`
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Heaven forbid we be perceived as moving forward. We need to keep DT exactly as it is so that the rest of the world can see us as stuck in the past. I am all for preservation of our heritage but by keeping a bunch of buildings that are ready to fall apart seems a bit senseless. Ms. Duff needs to remove her head from the hole it is lodged in and see that time moves on and things progress. We, as a province, are boasting about our ability to compete in a modern world but decision makers heads are firmly stuck in the past.

  • Denise
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Way to go Fortis! If you build it they will certainly come!:) Beautiful development. As for anyone who wonders why we agree wiith this building it's called progression which is something the City of St. John's and their residents need to learn to do.

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Why doesn't Stan Marshall build this on Topsail Beach? He won't have to drive as far to get to work. Oh, that's right, the oldest city in North America, with historic vistas of the narrows (narrowing vistas with what's been allowed already!) and Signal Hill is the ideal place to put this monstrosity. Given their own way, Fortis will have all vistas blocked except to their own executives. Fortis bought up most of downtown well aware of the height restrictions and now will go so far as suing city hall for lost 'investment opportunities'. Some intestinal fortitude is called for down at the bunker, please.

  • Zip
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    But... that's a nice, modern looking building. No way St. John's city council will go for that!

  • Max
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Provided it has narrow clapboard, rough side out, with the appropriate width of trim and molding and the right period windows, I think it should be nice.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Please, please do this project!!!!

  • perry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I am all for development onf the downtown core, but WITHIN REASON. The proposed structure is far too large and imposing for that spot. Rethink the design someone.

  • LF
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    The people who are concerned about what a modern building will do to our 'heritage area' have obviously never had a good look at the waterfront. It isn't pretty people. We all love our City and want to preserve it's character, but without progress that 'character' starts to look like crap. Unfortunately the guidelines for building in our so called heritage areas do not make it economically sound for any business to bother and that is why our waterfront is such a poor representation of our City. It's time to move forward and accept the fact St. John's can be beautiful and retain it's dignity without having to stick with building practices from the 1800's.

  • tada
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    What are the precious views that people are always talking about protecting? ...the views of the southside oil tanks??

  • Percy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    This new Fortis development is absolutely great for the downtown area. It is desperately needed. People are crying out about the parking in the downtown area. It is deplorable, to say the least.
    So, let's get this wonderful development approved. It is high time for Duff and other councillors to get their heads out of the sand, and face reality. It is, after all 2010, and not back in the days of Queen Victoria.
    Development has to go ahead. If not, we will be so far behind, we will never catch up. All you hear about is heritage. Yes, that is fine to a point, but tax dollars are not going to flow into the city by saving all these so called heritage buildings. There are buildings downtown, that are falling down, and need to be replaced. It costs a small fortune to upgrade old buildings. It cost Loblaws more to renovate the old stadium, then it would to have built a new building.
    I am sick and tired of people saying save this or that building. Get your heads out of the sand, and face reality straight in the face.
    Downtown is an eye sore with all of the graffitti, in laneways, and on almost every building downtown. Where is City Council? Maybe cameras should be placed at different areas in the downtown area, to catch these people.
    The garbage downtown is another big issue.

    So, I end by saying, this is a great development, and what a superb addition to the old downtown area.
    The city is in desperate need of tax dollars. And, if we don't have new development, then guess who is going to pay more taxes???? I rest my case.

    Thank you FORTIS for proposing this great, and needed development.

    Percy Small

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    @George from Alberta

    Thats so clever Geogie b'y. Hopefully retiring there are you?

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Sounding Off from NL: Currently people coming in through the harbour see a parking lot and the back of old buildings, which have no more character then a piece of paper. This building looks 100% better then what is there now and fortis has thought out an excellent plan that should make the majority of the area happy. I'm willing to bet that the construction of this building, with it's spin off jobs and the companies that will now be able to set-up in St. John's will bring in alot more money to the economy then the people who float in on the cruise ships for 2 to 3 hours in the summer.

  • Ryan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    @Dave Lane parking with (will?) be affected

    FTA: 382 underground parking stalls

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    What a horror! Imagine coming into the harbor on one of Mayor O'Keefe's invited cruise boats and seeing a sheet of cold dreary gray glass looking back at you. Many of us are still in Rooms recovery and this just adds to the misery. Downtown is finished b'ys... looks like we'er back to the malls.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    There is no doubt that this proposal will get turned down or take about five years to approve. This city council is very self-centered and lack any vision when it comes to development. They claim to be city planners but outside downtown, this city lacks any form of city planning or long-term vision. Change is a term that doesnt sit well with anyone on council and they have become notorious people to deal with.

    I really dont understand the views everyone is trying to preserve. The views will always be there. Get in your car, go to Signal Hill, and there you go. What can you see from the city anyway besides southside hills. St. Johns is said to becoming modern and moving with the times, yet they wont open their doors to major business. Any time a major company comes in and wants to erect a building, they are put through the ringer on revisions for years and years before they pull out. What kind of an impression is this? If this city doesnt get some new, young, educated blood into council soon, Shannie and everyone else is going to be enjoying historic, rundown building for centuries to come because we will have missed the economic upturn and pushed all potential suitors out the door.

    As for a historic point, Im sure New York City has historic buildings too but there is a place and a time. The fact that Shannie Duff wants to keep rundown buildings over a new building that will create tons of jobs, much needed high end office space, and tax money for the city blows my mind. She would rather keep four rundown buildings (which Fortis own and will just become abandon anyway) and watch residential city taxes skyrocket. I think its time for Shannie to go back and learn Business 101. Maybe there she will discover what the term economic development meant. Everyone on council seemed to know exactly what the term meant when building Mile One, yet now they dont seem to recognize the term anchor tenant, something every major sports arena in North America seems to have.

  • Jonathan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    personal I think a revamping of downtown is needed. Needless to say Harbour Drive is far from the most attractive part of the city, and many of the building adjacent to the Neal Building and the Neal Building itself are in need of restoration. Maybe this will promote other building owners to restore and revitalize their building in the area.

  • Me
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Build it!!!! It's about time we start to get out of the 19th Century around here.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I think it is great, this is 2010 not 1910.
    I believe more development in the Downtown area is greatly needed.
    Now if we can keep Shannie out of the loop this project could move ahead more quickly.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Sounding Off; are you scared some jobs might be created and you'd have to get of your arse and go to work?

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Beautiful development; especially with the retrofit of the current Fortis building.
    A very welcome addition to the downtown. All we need now is for someone to muzzle Shannie,her friends and the other earthworms.

  • Downtown Res
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    So, let me get this straight:
    1)They are keeping the old, crummy building, and adding glass.
    2)They want to add an out-building above the existing parking garage.
    3)Then they are making the parking lot on harbour drive into a parking garage, but no larger than it was. Im not seeing any new parking yet
    4)Then they are adding a 15-storey thing next to the original 12 (?) storey thing. 15-stories That is *tall* for this town. But what the hell, we make rules in this town just to be broken. Thats why no one stops at crosswalks it slows progress. But I digress.
    5)The Water street view will be a glassed face version of Atlantic Place.
    6)The pedestrian overpass between Fortis and the TD building over Water Street is going to be the talk of the town. We wouldnt want lawyers to cross the street with the rest of us. Keep em isolated, I say.
    Now that I look at it, this design looks a lot like one for Halifax that failed last fall.
    The city needs businesses and new buildings, as opposed to ones with damage from over the years, however, this is very much a baby and bathwater discussion right now.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Ashley from NL writes: I moved back from Toronto because I wanted a city with character, not a city of cold, imposing structures.

    My bet Ashley is that you moved back because you lost your job in TO. So cut the crap.

  • Confused
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Wow, I am shocked. I cannot believe all of the anti-development comments on this website, we should all be on our knees thanking Fortis for their ongoing investment into this province. Makes me sick knowing that I live amongst people who would like nothing else than to keep the stereotype of idiotic Newfoundlanders as strong as possible. Wouldn't any of you naysayers like to see the downtown area move away from the 19th century look? I would love to see St. Johns turn into a major city like Toronto or Vancouver, that is exactly what this province needs to propel us into the 21st century. How could you not want that and still say that you love this province? If you want heritage, anti-development and strange building designs then move around the bay, you'll find all the stereotypical newfies and retarded buildings you want, but don't criticize a wonderful company for realizing the true potential of this city. Id like for an artist to do a futuristic painting of down town St. John's with innovative structures similar to those in Dubai - It would put the current Victorian look to shame, I guarantee it.

  • Karon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    We all think it
    Why not say it
    Most of those building are not up to code
    Most of those building are fire traps
    Have you seen the rats......
    Has anyone really looked at downtown
    The POTHOLES are huge!
    The garbage is piled HIGH
    No place to park
    and I could go on..
    Let a clean structure that brings in jobs go ahead..Think of the future.
    Think of the Firemen who fear the worst.

  • Telling it like it is (C)
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    It will never happen.

    fortis appears to have missed the city of St. John's guidelines for downtown development.

    1 - The building must be brick, brick implies old as in 1497 old, no glass. Glass is for whimps and is a product of black magic. All glass buildings shall be targeted for conversion to iron bars instead of glass windows.

    2 - The building must NOT exceed 15 feet. The seven dwarves lived and worked in a building barely taller than a grown man....deal with it!

    3 - The view of our harbour...Picasso, Da Vinici, Monet, Renior and even Michaelangelo ventured to St. John's to paint the most spectactular view in the world... nothing is more beautiful than our view of the harbour. It is #1 - 8 natural wonders of the world. The view of the harbour has been brought tears to the eyes of kings and peasants alike. Even the water from the harbour has been known to cure cancer.

    4 - Opinion matters. Residents from the battery have the final say on all downtown buildings. Afterall, they were here first.

    5 - Continuous improvement of ones city is for losers. Continuous stagnation is better.

    6 - We are only interested in hotels, grocery stores or big box shopping districts.

  • Penney
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    This kind of development would be better located next to the Avalon Mall. We can enjoy the same benefits without destroying the character of downtown. Within the context of downtown this would be a monstrosity.

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Boy!! The where's mine ? crowd are aleady lined up.
    You can count on Galgay and Hann to vote for this. Notice the application was held back 'till after the election.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I guess because this is Fortis and big money (lots of influence) this will probably succeed in ramming this through the muddy quagmire called city council. Maybe then the city will reimburse my spouse and I for the additional $50,000 that we spent two years ago complying with their so called heritage requirements on a very very small house in the downtown. This proposal is obnoxious in nature from the outset and doubly so if approved by our lordships at city coucil.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    George from Alberta writes: Sounding Off; are you scared some jobs might be created and you'd have to get of your arse and go to work?

    George from Alberta. You never cease to amaze me with your ridiculous remarks. Are you as dense as you appear to be?

    Sounding Off was using sarcasm in his comments. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have seen that. In case you don't know, and I doubt if you do, one definition of sarcasm is a way of speaking in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant. It's a lower form of irony.

    It's like this George. If I described you as a Rocket Scientist, I wouldn't be saying that you're intelligent. Just the opposite. I hope I'm not going to fast for you, am I George?

  • Newfie Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Don't tell me, another 3 years of impact studies. St. John's City Council, GET WITH THE TIMES and allow this project.

  • Bones II
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Ha! Awesome. This will move forward because it amounts to un-ignorable amounts of money for St. John's, which it badly needs and will never admit it, like ever.



    I can't wait to hear the spin from those desperately clinging to a heritage that has been long lost in downtown St. John's. The Water Street I grew up with was way different than the Water Street of today. The old one is never coming back, no matter how much any of us wants it to. It's time to modernize downtown. I hope the trauma is so great that council quits, lol.

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Historic downtown is not witnessed by people on a cruise ship as they enter the harbour. Historic downtown is experienced when you walk around down there and see the heritage up close and personal. This project will create jobs and give downtown a more modern look. If anyone living in the downtown area wants a view of the harbour, take a walk up signal hill for the best view of the harbour that the city has to offer. If the sky does fall and this project goes ahead, I cant wait to see what downtown looks like afterwards.

  • Homer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    The children! The children!... Will somebody pleeeassse think of the children!

  • briny 69
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    this one will go ahead because the city needs the extra revenue to help pay for the growing deficet of their pension plan.

  • H
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    382 parking spots means at least 382 more cars to the downtown core. The downtown core cannot handle that especially because the cars will be coming and going at the same time. Judging from the size of the building I would like to know if 382 parking spots will be enough or will people working in that building be taking even more of the on street parking from people wanting to walk/shop etc. down town. I think this looks nice and I would like to see it developed where we have the infrastructure to support it. Harbour Drive, Water Street, Prescott Street and Duckworth Street cannot handle the increased traffic!!

  • peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    I thinks it is long over due That they do something modern to the down town core. We need to catch up with the rest of the western world and modernize this city. In my Opinion it's one of the nicest cities in the world to live in, it just need to be made world class to reflect the people who live in and around it.

  • dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    A quick drive thru downtown and you will see many vacant buildings, or run down ones in need of much work. The downtown core could really use a project like this. With all the development in the st. john's area you don't see any downtown. the real heritage areas are gower, Cochrane and the residential streets between Duckworth and Military/Lemarchant. Fortis was started here and has turned themseleves into one of the best companies in Canada, and one of the better ones on the tsx, to stay true to there roots and comit to the local economy is in my opion very respectable. I am in my 20 currently in school, when im done I want to work here with the chance of a high paying job, projects like these will give me that oppurtunity. This isn't your granparents city anymore, the days of 20,000 home in the downtown area are long gone, development will happen. My class of 35 twenty somethings love the possibility of this happening and fully support it.

  • Poscstudent
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    I think it looks great. Hopefully it is approved it is deperatly needed

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Okay, so city council said our expanded developments are going to help lower costs?!!?? Which we haven't seen happen, just the opposite. And now to lower costs further DOC et al will support this monstrosity marring the already threatened harbour vistas. Why don't we just get over ourselves and rename the city of legends Fortisville?

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Which means engineering work, construction work, maintenance, cleaning services, and additional municipal taxes.................Build it.

  • GERARD
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    FORTIS WELCOME TO WATER STREET 2010 !!!
    FABULOUS!!!

    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS TOWN NEEDS NOT A REFURBISHED GEORGE STREET!!

    BRING BIG BUSINESS TO DOWNTOWN!!! BUY UP EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!!!

    GOODBYE HISTORIC ST. JOHN'S DOWNTOWN!!!

    AFTER 25 YEARS SOMEONE HAS ANSWERED THE CALL!!!!

    NICE TO SEE IT IS A HOMETOWN GROUP!!

    GOODBYE WOOLWORTHS BUILDING!!!
    GOODBYE ALL OLD DOWNTOWN EYESORES!!

    HELLO CONDOS AND BIG BUSINESS!!

    GET OUT OF THE WAY CITY HALL!!

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    The issue here is not that it is new development. The issue has almost everything to do with location.

    Businesses will be affected; traffic and parking with be affected; heritage regulations will be affected; and yes, the view will be affected.

    This does not have to be all bad, let's just make sure that the debate involved everyone affected (which is everyone in St. John's, really).

    There is a facebook group called The Fortis Redevelopment: St. John's Citizens for Cooperative Development . Look it up and join the discussion!

  • Ashley
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I moved back from Toronto because I wanted a city with character, not a city of cold, imposing structures.

    While I do not dispute the tower is needed, the waterfront is NOT where it belongs. There are other places in the city that wouldn't ruin the character of downtown.

    To all of you who think that this is progress, spend some time in Toronto, where you get no light on the street because the buildings block it out, and you see nothing but the cookie cutter plain buildings and concrete.

    People live in St John's because they want to be away from that stuff.
    There is nothign that says the business core needs to be right downtown, we can put these buildings somewhere else and STILL have the same amount of jobs

  • Alex
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Aside from the fact that it violates city bylaws, I'm against this development for a number of reasons. Namely, I'm from St. John's and proud of the character and style of the city, which is directly related to the architecture and layout of downtown (consider the efforts to preserve the historic character of east-end downtown, kings-bridge rd, etc decades ago, and how much nicer the east end of downtown is compared to the west).

    But there's more to this debate than that. Taking the immediate financial contributions of this construction and related employment as the only economic calculation here would be short-sighted. The preservation of heritage, architecture, and landscape downtown also has a significant economic benefit. Tourism, living desirability, artistic productions (notice anything about the first episode of Republic of Doyle?) are just some of the economic generators that could be hurt by rushing through new development downtown.

    In short, portraying this debate only as aesthetics/culture vs. business would be wrong

  • William
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Just watch City Hall screw this one up.

  • barry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    I think i look's great . now do something with the woolworth property.

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    If this isn't approved, it is only a matter of time until Fortis pulls their HQ from St. John's to another city that would welcome such investment. Then who will be laughing.....not city hall!

  • Andreas
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    The rendering shown is absolutely useless. Ok, it's a nice glass box but how about some context. I kind of like the view out to the Narrows from the corner of Harbour Drive and Prescott Street. How will this building affect that view and others.

    As everyone who approves of this mentions - it's 2010 so lets see some renderings that show how the views and skyline will actually be affected.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Yes, I love the heritage of the Harvey's offshore terminal. I wonder if the rusting transhipment containers, and the cranes have the right kind of heritage windows in them. people talk about maintaing the look of the downtown, that's like saying you want to maintain the look of a cesspool.

  • Robb
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Yes.....build it and they will come......can someone tell shannie duff that it is 2010 please. she somehow thinks that we have to live in the dark ages.......Fortis is a great company that will only revitalize downtown.....I mean, how dreary is it to drive down water street.......you know exactly what I mean.......and guidlines are merely that, guidlines.....they are far from rules, and can be easily overridden in the face of wonderful economic development. shannie needs an update...didn't someone send her the memo, because surely she does not use email, that is a modern tool, not used much in the dark ages......and don't get on with the view crap.........tell me somewhere in the world where you can buy a house or a piece of land, and also get a guarantee that teh view will never change....want to look at the harbour, go visit signal hill...

  • sarah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    How does anyone think that this proposal is fine? St. John's harbour is an amphitheater. Those in the front must SIT DOWN. The only thing this structure will do is pave the way to ruin downtown St. John's as we see it today. Sure, Harbour Drive could do with a facelift, but to help enhance what is already there. Not to plow it down and put in something completely new and out of touch with the heritage downtown is desperately clinging to. If you want a commercial property, go up to Kenmount Road or Stavanger, and stay away from ruining downtown. Atlantic Place, the Delta and the Scotia building have already done enough damage.

  • Warren`
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Heaven forbid we be perceived as moving forward. We need to keep DT exactly as it is so that the rest of the world can see us as stuck in the past. I am all for preservation of our heritage but by keeping a bunch of buildings that are ready to fall apart seems a bit senseless. Ms. Duff needs to remove her head from the hole it is lodged in and see that time moves on and things progress. We, as a province, are boasting about our ability to compete in a modern world but decision makers heads are firmly stuck in the past.

  • Denise
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    Way to go Fortis! If you build it they will certainly come!:) Beautiful development. As for anyone who wonders why we agree wiith this building it's called progression which is something the City of St. John's and their residents need to learn to do.

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Why doesn't Stan Marshall build this on Topsail Beach? He won't have to drive as far to get to work. Oh, that's right, the oldest city in North America, with historic vistas of the narrows (narrowing vistas with what's been allowed already!) and Signal Hill is the ideal place to put this monstrosity. Given their own way, Fortis will have all vistas blocked except to their own executives. Fortis bought up most of downtown well aware of the height restrictions and now will go so far as suing city hall for lost 'investment opportunities'. Some intestinal fortitude is called for down at the bunker, please.

  • Zip
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    But... that's a nice, modern looking building. No way St. John's city council will go for that!

  • Max
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Provided it has narrow clapboard, rough side out, with the appropriate width of trim and molding and the right period windows, I think it should be nice.

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Please, please do this project!!!!

  • perry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I am all for development onf the downtown core, but WITHIN REASON. The proposed structure is far too large and imposing for that spot. Rethink the design someone.

  • LF
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    The people who are concerned about what a modern building will do to our 'heritage area' have obviously never had a good look at the waterfront. It isn't pretty people. We all love our City and want to preserve it's character, but without progress that 'character' starts to look like crap. Unfortunately the guidelines for building in our so called heritage areas do not make it economically sound for any business to bother and that is why our waterfront is such a poor representation of our City. It's time to move forward and accept the fact St. John's can be beautiful and retain it's dignity without having to stick with building practices from the 1800's.

  • tada
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    What are the precious views that people are always talking about protecting? ...the views of the southside oil tanks??

  • Percy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    This new Fortis development is absolutely great for the downtown area. It is desperately needed. People are crying out about the parking in the downtown area. It is deplorable, to say the least.
    So, let's get this wonderful development approved. It is high time for Duff and other councillors to get their heads out of the sand, and face reality. It is, after all 2010, and not back in the days of Queen Victoria.
    Development has to go ahead. If not, we will be so far behind, we will never catch up. All you hear about is heritage. Yes, that is fine to a point, but tax dollars are not going to flow into the city by saving all these so called heritage buildings. There are buildings downtown, that are falling down, and need to be replaced. It costs a small fortune to upgrade old buildings. It cost Loblaws more to renovate the old stadium, then it would to have built a new building.
    I am sick and tired of people saying save this or that building. Get your heads out of the sand, and face reality straight in the face.
    Downtown is an eye sore with all of the graffitti, in laneways, and on almost every building downtown. Where is City Council? Maybe cameras should be placed at different areas in the downtown area, to catch these people.
    The garbage downtown is another big issue.

    So, I end by saying, this is a great development, and what a superb addition to the old downtown area.
    The city is in desperate need of tax dollars. And, if we don't have new development, then guess who is going to pay more taxes???? I rest my case.

    Thank you FORTIS for proposing this great, and needed development.

    Percy Small

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    @George from Alberta

    Thats so clever Geogie b'y. Hopefully retiring there are you?

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Sounding Off from NL: Currently people coming in through the harbour see a parking lot and the back of old buildings, which have no more character then a piece of paper. This building looks 100% better then what is there now and fortis has thought out an excellent plan that should make the majority of the area happy. I'm willing to bet that the construction of this building, with it's spin off jobs and the companies that will now be able to set-up in St. John's will bring in alot more money to the economy then the people who float in on the cruise ships for 2 to 3 hours in the summer.

  • Ryan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    @Dave Lane parking with (will?) be affected

    FTA: 382 underground parking stalls

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    What a horror! Imagine coming into the harbor on one of Mayor O'Keefe's invited cruise boats and seeing a sheet of cold dreary gray glass looking back at you. Many of us are still in Rooms recovery and this just adds to the misery. Downtown is finished b'ys... looks like we'er back to the malls.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    There is no doubt that this proposal will get turned down or take about five years to approve. This city council is very self-centered and lack any vision when it comes to development. They claim to be city planners but outside downtown, this city lacks any form of city planning or long-term vision. Change is a term that doesnt sit well with anyone on council and they have become notorious people to deal with.

    I really dont understand the views everyone is trying to preserve. The views will always be there. Get in your car, go to Signal Hill, and there you go. What can you see from the city anyway besides southside hills. St. Johns is said to becoming modern and moving with the times, yet they wont open their doors to major business. Any time a major company comes in and wants to erect a building, they are put through the ringer on revisions for years and years before they pull out. What kind of an impression is this? If this city doesnt get some new, young, educated blood into council soon, Shannie and everyone else is going to be enjoying historic, rundown building for centuries to come because we will have missed the economic upturn and pushed all potential suitors out the door.

    As for a historic point, Im sure New York City has historic buildings too but there is a place and a time. The fact that Shannie Duff wants to keep rundown buildings over a new building that will create tons of jobs, much needed high end office space, and tax money for the city blows my mind. She would rather keep four rundown buildings (which Fortis own and will just become abandon anyway) and watch residential city taxes skyrocket. I think its time for Shannie to go back and learn Business 101. Maybe there she will discover what the term economic development meant. Everyone on council seemed to know exactly what the term meant when building Mile One, yet now they dont seem to recognize the term anchor tenant, something every major sports arena in North America seems to have.

  • Jonathan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    personal I think a revamping of downtown is needed. Needless to say Harbour Drive is far from the most attractive part of the city, and many of the building adjacent to the Neal Building and the Neal Building itself are in need of restoration. Maybe this will promote other building owners to restore and revitalize their building in the area.

  • Me
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Build it!!!! It's about time we start to get out of the 19th Century around here.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I think it is great, this is 2010 not 1910.
    I believe more development in the Downtown area is greatly needed.
    Now if we can keep Shannie out of the loop this project could move ahead more quickly.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Sounding Off; are you scared some jobs might be created and you'd have to get of your arse and go to work?

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Beautiful development; especially with the retrofit of the current Fortis building.
    A very welcome addition to the downtown. All we need now is for someone to muzzle Shannie,her friends and the other earthworms.

  • Downtown Res
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    So, let me get this straight:
    1)They are keeping the old, crummy building, and adding glass.
    2)They want to add an out-building above the existing parking garage.
    3)Then they are making the parking lot on harbour drive into a parking garage, but no larger than it was. Im not seeing any new parking yet
    4)Then they are adding a 15-storey thing next to the original 12 (?) storey thing. 15-stories That is *tall* for this town. But what the hell, we make rules in this town just to be broken. Thats why no one stops at crosswalks it slows progress. But I digress.
    5)The Water street view will be a glassed face version of Atlantic Place.
    6)The pedestrian overpass between Fortis and the TD building over Water Street is going to be the talk of the town. We wouldnt want lawyers to cross the street with the rest of us. Keep em isolated, I say.
    Now that I look at it, this design looks a lot like one for Halifax that failed last fall.
    The city needs businesses and new buildings, as opposed to ones with damage from over the years, however, this is very much a baby and bathwater discussion right now.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Ashley from NL writes: I moved back from Toronto because I wanted a city with character, not a city of cold, imposing structures.

    My bet Ashley is that you moved back because you lost your job in TO. So cut the crap.

  • Confused
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Wow, I am shocked. I cannot believe all of the anti-development comments on this website, we should all be on our knees thanking Fortis for their ongoing investment into this province. Makes me sick knowing that I live amongst people who would like nothing else than to keep the stereotype of idiotic Newfoundlanders as strong as possible. Wouldn't any of you naysayers like to see the downtown area move away from the 19th century look? I would love to see St. Johns turn into a major city like Toronto or Vancouver, that is exactly what this province needs to propel us into the 21st century. How could you not want that and still say that you love this province? If you want heritage, anti-development and strange building designs then move around the bay, you'll find all the stereotypical newfies and retarded buildings you want, but don't criticize a wonderful company for realizing the true potential of this city. Id like for an artist to do a futuristic painting of down town St. John's with innovative structures similar to those in Dubai - It would put the current Victorian look to shame, I guarantee it.