Plan for Woolworths property gets warm reception

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Barb Sweet
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Development

A new proposal for the former Woolworths property in downtown St. John's could bring radical changes to the west end of Water Street.

The 11-storey proposal still has a bunch of procedural hoops to jump through, but from the mood of a planning meeting that took place Thursday, East Port Properties Ltd.'s structure looks headed for approval.

An artist's conception of the proposed development for the former Woolworths on Water Street. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

A new proposal for the former Woolworths property in downtown St. John's could bring radical changes to the west end of Water Street.

The 11-storey proposal still has a bunch of procedural hoops to jump through, but from the mood of a planning meeting that took place Thursday, East Port Properties Ltd.'s structure looks headed for approval.

And once that's done, other developers chomping at the bit for site redevelopment between Steers Cove and Waldegrave Street can expect similar treatment.

Even heritage stalwart and Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff is gearing up to exempt the block from the city's heritage zone.

"If you got Shannie's OK, it's just as well to go to Chester Dawe's and get the lumber," Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins was heard to say to the developers after the meeting.

Other than the rear of the Templeton's Building on Harbour Drive and perhaps a turreted building on Water Street, there is precious little heritage value on the block, councillors say.

East Port's pitch would also clean up what's considered a derelict eyesore.

The Woolworths redevelopment also comes with a major first - a public-private partnership to put more parking in the downtown.

East Port was asked by the city to add an extra four levels of public parking - or 280 spaces - from its original proposal last fall, which had only 200 spaces for its tenants.

The cost of entering that public-private partnership could be as high as $10 million for the city, Duff said following the meeting. But it would be recovered through the cost of not only parking there, but increased parking fees and fines in the downtown. There also could be cash-in-lieu payouts to the city by other developers unable to include parking in their proposals.

East Port president John Lindsay Jr. said all those details are yet to be worked out.

"There is a serious fiscal discussion to be had on both sides," Lindsay said after the meeting.

His company represents a pension fund, which also purchased the Scotia Centre building in the last year. East Port has managed and developed properties in metro since the 1970s.

Taking the block out of the heritage area would give council the discretion to approve buildings up to 10 storeys and 40 metres high. It would also treat "each and every developer in a fair and equitable basis," said planning committee chairman Frank Galgay, also councillor for Ward 2, which includes downtown.

"The site obviously has got very little heritage merit," Duff said of the block.

Lindsay said the building will feature some retail space, including a spot on the Harbour Drive side, where it's hoped a restaurant will locate.

The facade of the building has not been decided. But the structure will include an enclosed pedestrian access between Water Street and Harbour Drive so the public parking can be accessed 24 hours a day.

Architect Philip Pratt of the PHB Group Inc. said there's also potential in the future to put in pedways (also known as skywalks) to link to Mile One Centre through other buildings.

Redevelopment will provide "Class A" office space, Lindsay said.

"The project is about meeting the need in downtown - as opposed to other parts of the city - the requirement for increased office occupancy, driven primarily, but not entirely, by the success in the oil and gas industry," he said.

The planning committee will recommend to city council that it ask East Port to do a land use assessment report. It's also recommending a public meeting be held after that report is done and before council votes on the project.

It's also recommended to council that the block be removed from the heritage areas and be considered "bonus sites" for higher and bigger buildings.

Lindsay said it's hoped the construction will start this year.

"The actual construction schedule is going to depend on the construction techniques. Our intention is to get underway this year and to get it done as soon as humanly possible. We have people who want the desk space as soon as we are finished," he said.

The proposal may be palatable to the public.

Downtown businesswoman Peg Norman wasn't at the planning meeting, but she said the Woolworths redevelopment plan seems reasonable for that area. Norman is among the vocal public opposition to the proposal by Fortis several blocks east that would tear down some lower-rise older buildings.

Fortis, said Norman, is challenging the rules and has other alternatives than hauling down existing heritage properties.

Duff said the difference with the west end of Water Street, besides lack of heritage importance, is the closeness to Pitts Memorial Drive, taking traffic away from narrow streets of the central and east parts of downtown.

The Fortis proposal is likely to be a hot topic at Smart Growth in Downtown, a discussion on planning and development set for Monday night at City Hall.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Woolworths, East Port Properties, Scotia Centre Ward 2 PHB Group

Geographic location: Water Street, St. John's, Waldegrave Street

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Eddy
    January 15, 2011 - 20:35

    This complex will be so benificial for the downtown area , the whole section of water street stretching from subway to the end of the convention centre needs to be spruced up.This project will be as succesfull as Atlantic Place the building was remodeled perfectly, showing clean lines but keeping a humble flare.This project will benifit ,parking , shopping and even some sort of commerce but most of all bring a great vibe throughout the section of the street.I hope the project get Started and Finished ASAP before the tourisim season starts and the cruise ships start siling in.I love this idea and wish everyone on the participating the best!

  • Curtis
    October 29, 2010 - 20:21

    Yet again another bad example or lack of creativity in this country and bad politics by St. John's city council, if it doesn't work for them, then they won't do it. St. John's has soo much potential, and this area is in dire need of a major face lift! How about a new hotel, how about something different than a office building, how bloody boring!

  • Open Mind
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    It's so sad that so many NL'ers are afraid of change and more often than not, the immediate reaction is..well most of the comments posted above. Get out of your little sheltered lives on da rock people and see the world, open your eyes and your mind. St. John's as a city is about 5-10 years behind the rest of Canada in so many ways, esp when it comes to the downtown area and economic development, and it has made major strides over the last couple of years. You can feel it when you walk the streets, you can see it driving down the roads. This is a good thing and it WILL get passed. Finally the City is willing to do something with those festering eye sores of wasted, decomposed, toxic spaces. Google Economic Development - or better yet hop on a flight and breath a little. Couldn't agree more with Jordan's comments. It's not about your view rather your lack of welcome for change. Get over it!

  • Terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Why do the same rules not apply to the whole of Water Street?? Fortis cannot build their building but its ok for this ugly building for the west end of the same street. Something smells rotten here.

  • GAR
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Wally Collins might be getting some free lumber for his Chester Dawe plug to developers after the meeting, even though he may be told to get the name right; it's Chester Dawe/Rona.
    Perhaps next time he'll plug Kent or Ledrew or Hickeys or Power's, etc.,etc. Ol' Wally might be onto something here cause there's gonna be lotsa more meetins, eh Wally.

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    what is wrong with all you people complaining everything is an eyesore? what do you want buildings to look like? have you seen what is there now? my god, just can't please some people. Who cares what it looks like...just put something there that will solve the parking and lack of office space problem.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I agree... I find the view people so amusing. What do they do stare out the window directly at the harbour 24/7? You're living in a city, you can't expect to have a perfect view of the scenery surrounding... might as well move out to a place with a population of 10 for that.

  • Sheila
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Wow, what an eye sore. This is worse than the Fortis development. Ugly ..... you bet. Why does the city insist on trying to put big buildings up in the downtown core????

  • Alex
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    It's nice to see that we can come to agreements on downtown development. This also shows that efforts to block other developments (i.e. fortis) are not about blocking development for the sake of it, but maintaining a proper balance between development and heritage/tourism/aesthetics/residential real estate)

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Looks alright, could be worse, better than whats there now. Parking and the office space will be a major asset to the downtown area.

  • up4discussion
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Oh...the shopping I did at Woolworth's!!!

  • GA
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I can't believe there are people claiming that this modern building design is ugly. Compared to what? The breathtaking stapled and postered up, black plywood covered hole of a property that's been falling apart for years there now?

    It's 2010, not 1910. Get over your Water Street nostalgia and get with the times. If we want to be treated like a world-class city, it's about time we started looking like one.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    It's about time they allowed some development in this ugly downtown area. Why this is alright, but the Fortis proposal isn't really makes me scratch my head.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    This is Shanny Duff making chalk of 1 and cheese of the other. If they are going to approve the development for East Port Developments, they should approve the Fortis development. Almost all of our properties were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. These young buildings are hardly heritage properties like they have in Europe - hundreds of years old not just over a hundred years old. IOn fact the consultnts of the downtown study said that the city should look seriously at making this a border area similiar to the block they are planning to change the Woolworths block

  • Bert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Scott if you really like the look of it than don't have your seeing eye dog peeing against it!!!

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    When I first saw the picture of the building, I thought it was an ad for those buiding sets that I got for Christmas when I was a kid. Shannie and Frank must be feeling the heat from their Fortis opposition for them to favour this monstrosity.

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Department Store Needed Downtown:

    If anything else gets built downtown near the old Woolworth's building, it would be great to see a Department Store downtown. Residents of downtown have to travel to other large box stores to buy even the simplest item. This will also bring more people to the Downtown area.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I think this is a great thing for downtown - it definitely needs some new life pumped into it.

    There will always be anti-development NIMBYs in this city just looking for their 15 minutes of fame but it's time to wake up and move out of the 18th century. St. John's is a city, and council should let it grow.

  • Keith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Not the prettiest building, but better than the eyesore that's there now. Maybe the architect can do something to make the garage less ugly? I'd prefer something lower-rise, but at that end of the downtown I don't think it's too out of place - and the extra parking is both desperately needed and near Mile One and George St. It certainly can't damage the skyline any more than The Rooms did (that monstrosity still makes me cringe!)

  • Michel J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Private / partnership. The city in considering this project could easily say. We need an additional x number of public parking spaces to consider approval of this project. By doing so would put the onus on the developer and not have to cost the city anything. Council need to remember the developers need your approval, Council should not need their approval.

  • Panda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Interesting how in one breath Deputy Mayor Duff says projects shouldn't be considered on a case by case basis. All developments should be considered on same basis - the foolish 4 story height - yet she is quick enough to have an about face and suggest there could be exemption for this project. I'm not against this project but I am tired of Shannie Duff and her Councillor crew picking and choosing what they like and don't like. We need better leadership here folks.

    And like taxpayer I gotta ask about this 10 million the city is going to give for parking...what the heck? Taxpayer dollars going to downtown parking which the city won't even own. So now we are a city that is going to subsidize development projects cause don't tell me it costs that much money for parking spaces. Please people think about this.

    Duff, Galgey and OLeary are just trying to make themselves look like they invite development to the city by speaking in favour of this project. Don't be fooled.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    I'd say finalize the design and bring it on!
    The main points as to why this development is being favoured and Fortis is being forcefully opposed are clear to me:

    -They're proposing public parking, on top of their parking for tenants - the Fortis development doesn't even cover parking for 15 floors of tenants.

    -The Fortis development removes numerous functioning & thriving local businesses, and they've been going about this by playing dirty games with their tenants - this proposal plays by the rules, and is going to rid the downtown of one of an unoccupied firetrap and an empty lot. And I agree with Shannie in that there's no historical merit left in the block that this is proposed for.

    -Sightlines! This end of downtown is already built up (Old Post Office building across the street, Cabot Building/Delta, Mile One) so existing sightlines don't play as much of a factor here - unlike the Fortis development.

    Well done East Port for playing by the rules!

  • Common
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Well for those of you who think this building is ugly and a waste of taxpayer's money, how about we just keep the old Woolworth's building there? Then when a group of kids go inside and set fire to the place and not only destroy themselves in the blaze, but half of downtown in the process in a fire that will remind us all of the devastating loss of 1892, will it have been worth it because we wanted to save our tax dollars? I didn't think so.

    And if you really think it's that ugly, then redesign it yourself and submit your proposal of what the finished building should look like. Not so easy now, is it?

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Everyone's a critic...and it would be nice to have a beautiful downtown core but you know, I don't see anything particularly awful about this proposed building and remember the finished product is rarely the exact copy of the rendering. Have a little faith people.

  • Sounding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Here we go again. Horrid design and should never be above six stories. Blocks my view from Springdale St. so I guess if you live on other east end streets you get to keep your view eh?

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    It's like they took a regular building and wrapped the lower four floors in a parking garage, but this looks wonderful to Duff and Galgay???? I mean come on people.

  • marie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I agree that the Woolworths building needs to come down. It is an eyesore and a firetrap. But keep the new development within the current guidelines. I question why a company would propose a building that clearly goes against the guidelines. Do they know something we do not ???

  • Gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Hey Taxcheat, it's called progress. St. John's is a heII hole and this proposal will take care of an eyesore. I know you and your hippy friends want us to go back to horses and buggies, but this is how the world is going. What's the matter, all sookey because Fortis isn't behind this? Go back to your bottle since you obviously don't have a real job.

  • Jordan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Sounding Off from NL writes: Here we go again. Horrid design and should never be above six stories. Blocks my view from Springdale St. so I guess if you live on other east end streets you get to keep your view eh?

    Screw your view. If you want a view that won't be altered by development move to Portugal Cove.

  • crackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Perhaps they can tint the glass pink, white & green

  • scott
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I actually like the look of the building and I think it will be a real asset to the downtown, especially the parking.

  • bo piddley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Two proposals for the same general area of the city. The city will definately be forced to accept one-for fear of being accused,again, of being anti-developement,by turning down both. Perhaps the good guy/bad guy game is being played out by the developers so that at least one proposal will go through.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Welcome To Our Parking Garage.

    Honestly, there must be a hundred architects that can hide an ugly street-level parking garage behind more human uses. Or was this service not ''offered'' locally?

  • Nathan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    This is what happens when you elect delusional people into government who are in the last 5% of their life on this earth. Shanny Duff is older than any heritage site on the island - lanse aux meadows included.

  • Debbie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Let the city grow for heaven's sake. I like the design of the building. Why don't some of you leave the rock and see what other cities are building. The whole harbour front should be developed and tear down the firetraps!! It's time to move on to modern times people!!

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Good luck to East Port in having Shannie somewhat off their back. Having spent a life time living in the east end of the City I wish that Shannie would let it it be just that, a City. I often wonder if it is her wish to be stuffed (not wishing her a early end) and displayed as a artifact in the lobby of City Hall.

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I have only two words to sayUGG LEE !! This is an opportunity of a lifetime (certainly mine) to build a significant structure that could be a focal point of the New Downtown and this is the best they could come up with. There is an opportunity here with this location (including the other properties to Templetons) for developers to get together and build our Sydney Opera House , a focal point, a gathering place. I am not opposed to the height, in fact I believe a portion could go higher but I am opposed, to a total lack of imagination and vision for perhaps the most significant piece of property downtown. Come on people, go back to the drawing board, and bring your kids with you, they probably have more imagination

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    My God guys, this is one ugly building, and the city, you and me, are going to kick in ten million dollars!!!! This is insanity! Fortis proposal had nearly 400 parking spaces, and wasn't going to cost anything. It's like the guys went...I know duh...let's just stick an ugly parking garage around the outside of it, then we'll get Shannie and Frankie to pay for it with taxpayer dollars. I mean what a complete fiasco. Shame on councill

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Good debate ther Gary. Is that how you did it in grade eight? You moron. There is nobody in this city who wants to see new construction more than I do. But, this proposal is insane, we have to pay 10 million dollars, and there is an exposed parking structure, I mean I have never seen a less asthetically pleaseing design in my life.

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Paul I completely agree, I can't believe what they are proposing here, it reeks of back room politics, underhandedness, and payoffs. Ten Million dollars of taxpayer money going to this ugly building. I just can't understand the thinking here. Fortis comes to the city with a nearly 100 million dollar proposal, 400 parking spaces, not one red cent of taxpayer money needed, yet are turned down cold. These guys come along, with this ugly idea, want a huge investment by the city to stick a parking garage around the outside of the structure, and it's lets go for it. Incomprehensible!

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    No No No The tall buildings do not fit in with the area. Nice to see something done with the old Woolworth's building but NOT 11 stories, 4 is enough. Once it is done, it will be there a long time and I get the feeling this is being pushed.

  • Francine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Hey Gary from Torbay, until you and other non St. John's residents become taxpayers of St. John's, your opinion on city matters are worth diddlysquat.

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    You really have to give it to those fools that do not like development and offer no alternatives. Put your cash and designs on the table or shut your pie holes for a change.

  • Red
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Why isn't there a height restriction on buildings in the downtown heritage area?! Some famous cities in Europe have limits on how high a new building can be in order to preserve the look of the neighbourhood- thereby ensuring tourists will continue to flock there. First when The Rooms was built, it looked rather imposing and awkward amongst the jellybean houses below. I guess everyone is used to that view now, but it still irks me!
    St. John's Downtown Development committee, answer that one!

  • DB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    It's about time they develope that property and put some much needed parking in the downtown.As for the people who don't like it as Francine said if you don't live in St. John's you opinion doesn't matter.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    On the Internet, everybody's an expert!

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Man, the fortis proposal gets poo pooed, but this one is wonderful? I think this design is incredibly ugly. You would think after the Atlantic place parking garage they would have learned. Now you are going to have four stories of open parking garage to beautify the streetscape, and 11 stories to boot. This is a terrible design in my opinion, but this is how council works. I hope they don't let this ugly building go ahead as planned.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    In the news yesterday there was a story that researchers had proven that a braindead person could show signs of thought. St. John's city councillors indicated they liked a new project. St. John's, North America's most easterly concrete jungle. The braindead minds said they would put $10 m into the project. The mayor has mentioned there are other projects on the go as well. How much is the City kicking in to cover Harbour Drive with a concrete deck? I ASK again How much DEBT does this city currently have on the books?

  • Shirley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    former NLder from Alberta: I am all for the modern buildings, but downtown St. John's is what sets our city apart from anyother... I agree that some of the buildings should get a much needed facelift. Everytime I am back on the island, downtown is where I choose to walk, enjoy the outdoor cafes, etc-

  • downtown.updo
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Its about time someone looked at the Woolworth property for development. This place needs to be modernized to flow with the rest of this part of Water St. Just look around. Mile One, Convention Center, Delta addition, Oceanex facelift, even the Magic Wok!
    So what if it's 11 stories! It only adds more office and retail space....both in high demand. Plus, with a project so large, it'll add much needed money tp our economy and create jobs, both in construction and finished project.
    Cheers to EastPort for going back and editing their original plan to accomodate for an extra 200+ parking spaces!!
    To those all for keeping our downtown heritage intact, I'm all for preserving historic St. John's, but why can't we have both innovative designs and historic landmarks?
    I agree that the proposed development site that Fortis had chosen isnt a good choice, but if a company wants to spend a $100 million in our econmy, surely we have to come to a compromise, maybe go back to the table and look at other areas.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Hopefully the artist they got draw the picture of the buliding is in elementary school and the actual building isn't as ugly as it looks in the picture.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I just love the plan for the taxpayer to chuck in $10M and then the city plan to recover it by raising parking fees and hopefully fining more people. Talk about tax sickness. We end up paying for it twice!!! Shouldn't be built but if it is then not one cent from the taxpayer!

  • Open
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Here is a plan. Smash all buildings on Harbour and Water Streets to the ground. Build residential buildings only. Everything on the other side can be as high as they like since the swamp view and sewage dumping from shipping into the harbour will only be seen by those that live in the condos.

    Everyone of you think this plan or that plan will hinder your downtown, yet not one of you are willing to offer an alternative or better still the money to provide growth. Time for a public vote on this. Those in City Hall work for us, not us for them. Demand a open and free VOTE. That is our right.

  • marie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Unbelievable. What is wrong with our council? 4 storys means 4 storys. Period. Just wait until the precedence has been set - St. John's downtown will be jammed with buildings way over the limit set by council. Councils right to exercise discretionary use should be banned. Time to grow a spine councillors and flatly refuse any proposal that does not meet the guidelines for downtown. Remember Quidi Vidi? Who wants to look at the rear end of a building blocking the view of our harbour.

  • Dave
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    This is a great building for a great location. Finally, a structure that recognizes the intent of the Municipal Plan.

    The other benefit of this proposal, should it be accept (and it likely will), is that it will move us toward a transitional area between historic Downtown and the newer, less developed west end.

    THIS is where taller buildings can go! I also suspect PHB Group will find a creative solution to the design that includes community input.

  • Cheryl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    It is about time Water Street got a facelift. Each time we come home we avoid that part of downtown as it is an eyesore. Newfoundland is growing by leaps and bounds economically and new modern buildings like this are needed to accomodiate new businesses and attract new businesses.

  • Heidi
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    The new proposed building looks awesome. Great design and look. What a delight this would be to see on a daily basis driving to work rather than that eyesore that's there now. I'm surprised nothing has happened to that old building over the last decade. This would be a great asset to the downtown core, office space that is well needed, parking that is well needed. What more do these people want? All you hear downtown is the parking issues ...well now that shouldn't be a problem if this development goes ahead. Suck it up folks...Keep St. John's Clean and Beautiful. Out with the old and in with the new!!! Best of Luck to East Port!!

  • Ella
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Fabulous...Bravo East Port - Good Luck with it!!

  • Shirley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Go underground, out of the rain, drizzle, fog and snow, with the parking garage.

  • Johnny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Any downtown development should have retail space that opens to the sidewalk. There is a nice strip of retail and restaurants along water street. The problem is, one that hits the newer buildings like Atlantic place and the Scotiabank tower, everything is inside. It basically ruins the downtown strip.

    Any building like this should be forced to have commercial retail space that opens to the sidewalk, but it should be recessed enough to allow outside tables in the summer.

    Take a cruise up Spring Garden Way in Halifax sometime and you'll see what I mean. It is NL though. They will no doubt build something ugly. Realistically, until 90% of the city learns to plant a tree, I'm not sure anyone deserves anything different.

  • Open Mind
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    It's so sad that so many NL'ers are afraid of change and more often than not, the immediate reaction is..well most of the comments posted above. Get out of your little sheltered lives on da rock people and see the world, open your eyes and your mind. St. John's as a city is about 5-10 years behind the rest of Canada in so many ways, esp when it comes to the downtown area and economic development, and it has made major strides over the last couple of years. You can feel it when you walk the streets, you can see it driving down the roads. This is a good thing and it WILL get passed. Finally the City is willing to do something with those festering eye sores of wasted, decomposed, toxic spaces. Google Economic Development - or better yet hop on a flight and breath a little. Couldn't agree more with Jordan's comments. It's not about your view rather your lack of welcome for change. Get over it!

  • Terry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Why do the same rules not apply to the whole of Water Street?? Fortis cannot build their building but its ok for this ugly building for the west end of the same street. Something smells rotten here.

  • GAR
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Wally Collins might be getting some free lumber for his Chester Dawe plug to developers after the meeting, even though he may be told to get the name right; it's Chester Dawe/Rona.
    Perhaps next time he'll plug Kent or Ledrew or Hickeys or Power's, etc.,etc. Ol' Wally might be onto something here cause there's gonna be lotsa more meetins, eh Wally.

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    what is wrong with all you people complaining everything is an eyesore? what do you want buildings to look like? have you seen what is there now? my god, just can't please some people. Who cares what it looks like...just put something there that will solve the parking and lack of office space problem.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I agree... I find the view people so amusing. What do they do stare out the window directly at the harbour 24/7? You're living in a city, you can't expect to have a perfect view of the scenery surrounding... might as well move out to a place with a population of 10 for that.

  • Sheila
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Wow, what an eye sore. This is worse than the Fortis development. Ugly ..... you bet. Why does the city insist on trying to put big buildings up in the downtown core????

  • Alex
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    It's nice to see that we can come to agreements on downtown development. This also shows that efforts to block other developments (i.e. fortis) are not about blocking development for the sake of it, but maintaining a proper balance between development and heritage/tourism/aesthetics/residential real estate)

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Looks alright, could be worse, better than whats there now. Parking and the office space will be a major asset to the downtown area.

  • up4discussion
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Oh...the shopping I did at Woolworth's!!!

  • GA
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I can't believe there are people claiming that this modern building design is ugly. Compared to what? The breathtaking stapled and postered up, black plywood covered hole of a property that's been falling apart for years there now?

    It's 2010, not 1910. Get over your Water Street nostalgia and get with the times. If we want to be treated like a world-class city, it's about time we started looking like one.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    It's about time they allowed some development in this ugly downtown area. Why this is alright, but the Fortis proposal isn't really makes me scratch my head.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    This is Shanny Duff making chalk of 1 and cheese of the other. If they are going to approve the development for East Port Developments, they should approve the Fortis development. Almost all of our properties were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. These young buildings are hardly heritage properties like they have in Europe - hundreds of years old not just over a hundred years old. IOn fact the consultnts of the downtown study said that the city should look seriously at making this a border area similiar to the block they are planning to change the Woolworths block

  • Bert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Scott if you really like the look of it than don't have your seeing eye dog peeing against it!!!

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    When I first saw the picture of the building, I thought it was an ad for those buiding sets that I got for Christmas when I was a kid. Shannie and Frank must be feeling the heat from their Fortis opposition for them to favour this monstrosity.

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Department Store Needed Downtown:

    If anything else gets built downtown near the old Woolworth's building, it would be great to see a Department Store downtown. Residents of downtown have to travel to other large box stores to buy even the simplest item. This will also bring more people to the Downtown area.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I think this is a great thing for downtown - it definitely needs some new life pumped into it.

    There will always be anti-development NIMBYs in this city just looking for their 15 minutes of fame but it's time to wake up and move out of the 18th century. St. John's is a city, and council should let it grow.

  • Keith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Not the prettiest building, but better than the eyesore that's there now. Maybe the architect can do something to make the garage less ugly? I'd prefer something lower-rise, but at that end of the downtown I don't think it's too out of place - and the extra parking is both desperately needed and near Mile One and George St. It certainly can't damage the skyline any more than The Rooms did (that monstrosity still makes me cringe!)

  • Michel J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Private / partnership. The city in considering this project could easily say. We need an additional x number of public parking spaces to consider approval of this project. By doing so would put the onus on the developer and not have to cost the city anything. Council need to remember the developers need your approval, Council should not need their approval.

  • Panda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Interesting how in one breath Deputy Mayor Duff says projects shouldn't be considered on a case by case basis. All developments should be considered on same basis - the foolish 4 story height - yet she is quick enough to have an about face and suggest there could be exemption for this project. I'm not against this project but I am tired of Shannie Duff and her Councillor crew picking and choosing what they like and don't like. We need better leadership here folks.

    And like taxpayer I gotta ask about this 10 million the city is going to give for parking...what the heck? Taxpayer dollars going to downtown parking which the city won't even own. So now we are a city that is going to subsidize development projects cause don't tell me it costs that much money for parking spaces. Please people think about this.

    Duff, Galgey and OLeary are just trying to make themselves look like they invite development to the city by speaking in favour of this project. Don't be fooled.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    I'd say finalize the design and bring it on!
    The main points as to why this development is being favoured and Fortis is being forcefully opposed are clear to me:

    -They're proposing public parking, on top of their parking for tenants - the Fortis development doesn't even cover parking for 15 floors of tenants.

    -The Fortis development removes numerous functioning & thriving local businesses, and they've been going about this by playing dirty games with their tenants - this proposal plays by the rules, and is going to rid the downtown of one of an unoccupied firetrap and an empty lot. And I agree with Shannie in that there's no historical merit left in the block that this is proposed for.

    -Sightlines! This end of downtown is already built up (Old Post Office building across the street, Cabot Building/Delta, Mile One) so existing sightlines don't play as much of a factor here - unlike the Fortis development.

    Well done East Port for playing by the rules!

  • Common
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Well for those of you who think this building is ugly and a waste of taxpayer's money, how about we just keep the old Woolworth's building there? Then when a group of kids go inside and set fire to the place and not only destroy themselves in the blaze, but half of downtown in the process in a fire that will remind us all of the devastating loss of 1892, will it have been worth it because we wanted to save our tax dollars? I didn't think so.

    And if you really think it's that ugly, then redesign it yourself and submit your proposal of what the finished building should look like. Not so easy now, is it?

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Everyone's a critic...and it would be nice to have a beautiful downtown core but you know, I don't see anything particularly awful about this proposed building and remember the finished product is rarely the exact copy of the rendering. Have a little faith people.

  • Sounding
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Here we go again. Horrid design and should never be above six stories. Blocks my view from Springdale St. so I guess if you live on other east end streets you get to keep your view eh?

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    It's like they took a regular building and wrapped the lower four floors in a parking garage, but this looks wonderful to Duff and Galgay???? I mean come on people.

  • marie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I agree that the Woolworths building needs to come down. It is an eyesore and a firetrap. But keep the new development within the current guidelines. I question why a company would propose a building that clearly goes against the guidelines. Do they know something we do not ???

  • Gary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Hey Taxcheat, it's called progress. St. John's is a heII hole and this proposal will take care of an eyesore. I know you and your hippy friends want us to go back to horses and buggies, but this is how the world is going. What's the matter, all sookey because Fortis isn't behind this? Go back to your bottle since you obviously don't have a real job.

  • Jordan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Sounding Off from NL writes: Here we go again. Horrid design and should never be above six stories. Blocks my view from Springdale St. so I guess if you live on other east end streets you get to keep your view eh?

    Screw your view. If you want a view that won't be altered by development move to Portugal Cove.

  • crackie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Perhaps they can tint the glass pink, white & green

  • scott
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I actually like the look of the building and I think it will be a real asset to the downtown, especially the parking.

  • bo piddley
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Two proposals for the same general area of the city. The city will definately be forced to accept one-for fear of being accused,again, of being anti-developement,by turning down both. Perhaps the good guy/bad guy game is being played out by the developers so that at least one proposal will go through.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Welcome To Our Parking Garage.

    Honestly, there must be a hundred architects that can hide an ugly street-level parking garage behind more human uses. Or was this service not ''offered'' locally?

  • Nathan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    This is what happens when you elect delusional people into government who are in the last 5% of their life on this earth. Shanny Duff is older than any heritage site on the island - lanse aux meadows included.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Good luck to East Port in having Shannie somewhat off their back. Having spent a life time living in the east end of the City I wish that Shannie would let it it be just that, a City. I often wonder if it is her wish to be stuffed (not wishing her a early end) and displayed as a artifact in the lobby of City Hall.

  • Debbie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Let the city grow for heaven's sake. I like the design of the building. Why don't some of you leave the rock and see what other cities are building. The whole harbour front should be developed and tear down the firetraps!! It's time to move on to modern times people!!

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I have only two words to sayUGG LEE !! This is an opportunity of a lifetime (certainly mine) to build a significant structure that could be a focal point of the New Downtown and this is the best they could come up with. There is an opportunity here with this location (including the other properties to Templetons) for developers to get together and build our Sydney Opera House , a focal point, a gathering place. I am not opposed to the height, in fact I believe a portion could go higher but I am opposed, to a total lack of imagination and vision for perhaps the most significant piece of property downtown. Come on people, go back to the drawing board, and bring your kids with you, they probably have more imagination

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    My God guys, this is one ugly building, and the city, you and me, are going to kick in ten million dollars!!!! This is insanity! Fortis proposal had nearly 400 parking spaces, and wasn't going to cost anything. It's like the guys went...I know duh...let's just stick an ugly parking garage around the outside of it, then we'll get Shannie and Frankie to pay for it with taxpayer dollars. I mean what a complete fiasco. Shame on councill

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Good debate ther Gary. Is that how you did it in grade eight? You moron. There is nobody in this city who wants to see new construction more than I do. But, this proposal is insane, we have to pay 10 million dollars, and there is an exposed parking structure, I mean I have never seen a less asthetically pleaseing design in my life.

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Paul I completely agree, I can't believe what they are proposing here, it reeks of back room politics, underhandedness, and payoffs. Ten Million dollars of taxpayer money going to this ugly building. I just can't understand the thinking here. Fortis comes to the city with a nearly 100 million dollar proposal, 400 parking spaces, not one red cent of taxpayer money needed, yet are turned down cold. These guys come along, with this ugly idea, want a huge investment by the city to stick a parking garage around the outside of the structure, and it's lets go for it. Incomprehensible!

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    No No No The tall buildings do not fit in with the area. Nice to see something done with the old Woolworth's building but NOT 11 stories, 4 is enough. Once it is done, it will be there a long time and I get the feeling this is being pushed.

  • Francine
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Hey Gary from Torbay, until you and other non St. John's residents become taxpayers of St. John's, your opinion on city matters are worth diddlysquat.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    You really have to give it to those fools that do not like development and offer no alternatives. Put your cash and designs on the table or shut your pie holes for a change.

  • Red
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Why isn't there a height restriction on buildings in the downtown heritage area?! Some famous cities in Europe have limits on how high a new building can be in order to preserve the look of the neighbourhood- thereby ensuring tourists will continue to flock there. First when The Rooms was built, it looked rather imposing and awkward amongst the jellybean houses below. I guess everyone is used to that view now, but it still irks me!
    St. John's Downtown Development committee, answer that one!

  • DB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    It's about time they develope that property and put some much needed parking in the downtown.As for the people who don't like it as Francine said if you don't live in St. John's you opinion doesn't matter.

  • Keepin' It Real
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    On the Internet, everybody's an expert!

  • Taxpayer lV
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Man, the fortis proposal gets poo pooed, but this one is wonderful? I think this design is incredibly ugly. You would think after the Atlantic place parking garage they would have learned. Now you are going to have four stories of open parking garage to beautify the streetscape, and 11 stories to boot. This is a terrible design in my opinion, but this is how council works. I hope they don't let this ugly building go ahead as planned.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    In the news yesterday there was a story that researchers had proven that a braindead person could show signs of thought. St. John's city councillors indicated they liked a new project. St. John's, North America's most easterly concrete jungle. The braindead minds said they would put $10 m into the project. The mayor has mentioned there are other projects on the go as well. How much is the City kicking in to cover Harbour Drive with a concrete deck? I ASK again How much DEBT does this city currently have on the books?

  • Shirley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    former NLder from Alberta: I am all for the modern buildings, but downtown St. John's is what sets our city apart from anyother... I agree that some of the buildings should get a much needed facelift. Everytime I am back on the island, downtown is where I choose to walk, enjoy the outdoor cafes, etc-

  • downtown.updo
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Its about time someone looked at the Woolworth property for development. This place needs to be modernized to flow with the rest of this part of Water St. Just look around. Mile One, Convention Center, Delta addition, Oceanex facelift, even the Magic Wok!
    So what if it's 11 stories! It only adds more office and retail space....both in high demand. Plus, with a project so large, it'll add much needed money tp our economy and create jobs, both in construction and finished project.
    Cheers to EastPort for going back and editing their original plan to accomodate for an extra 200+ parking spaces!!
    To those all for keeping our downtown heritage intact, I'm all for preserving historic St. John's, but why can't we have both innovative designs and historic landmarks?
    I agree that the proposed development site that Fortis had chosen isnt a good choice, but if a company wants to spend a $100 million in our econmy, surely we have to come to a compromise, maybe go back to the table and look at other areas.

  • Sam Shadey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Hopefully the artist they got draw the picture of the buliding is in elementary school and the actual building isn't as ugly as it looks in the picture.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I just love the plan for the taxpayer to chuck in $10M and then the city plan to recover it by raising parking fees and hopefully fining more people. Talk about tax sickness. We end up paying for it twice!!! Shouldn't be built but if it is then not one cent from the taxpayer!

  • Open
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Here is a plan. Smash all buildings on Harbour and Water Streets to the ground. Build residential buildings only. Everything on the other side can be as high as they like since the swamp view and sewage dumping from shipping into the harbour will only be seen by those that live in the condos.

    Everyone of you think this plan or that plan will hinder your downtown, yet not one of you are willing to offer an alternative or better still the money to provide growth. Time for a public vote on this. Those in City Hall work for us, not us for them. Demand a open and free VOTE. That is our right.

  • marie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Unbelievable. What is wrong with our council? 4 storys means 4 storys. Period. Just wait until the precedence has been set - St. John's downtown will be jammed with buildings way over the limit set by council. Councils right to exercise discretionary use should be banned. Time to grow a spine councillors and flatly refuse any proposal that does not meet the guidelines for downtown. Remember Quidi Vidi? Who wants to look at the rear end of a building blocking the view of our harbour.

  • Dave
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    This is a great building for a great location. Finally, a structure that recognizes the intent of the Municipal Plan.

    The other benefit of this proposal, should it be accept (and it likely will), is that it will move us toward a transitional area between historic Downtown and the newer, less developed west end.

    THIS is where taller buildings can go! I also suspect PHB Group will find a creative solution to the design that includes community input.

  • Cheryl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    It is about time Water Street got a facelift. Each time we come home we avoid that part of downtown as it is an eyesore. Newfoundland is growing by leaps and bounds economically and new modern buildings like this are needed to accomodiate new businesses and attract new businesses.

  • Heidi
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    The new proposed building looks awesome. Great design and look. What a delight this would be to see on a daily basis driving to work rather than that eyesore that's there now. I'm surprised nothing has happened to that old building over the last decade. This would be a great asset to the downtown core, office space that is well needed, parking that is well needed. What more do these people want? All you hear downtown is the parking issues ...well now that shouldn't be a problem if this development goes ahead. Suck it up folks...Keep St. John's Clean and Beautiful. Out with the old and in with the new!!! Best of Luck to East Port!!

  • Ella
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Fabulous...Bravo East Port - Good Luck with it!!

  • Shirley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Go underground, out of the rain, drizzle, fog and snow, with the parking garage.

  • Johnny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Any downtown development should have retail space that opens to the sidewalk. There is a nice strip of retail and restaurants along water street. The problem is, one that hits the newer buildings like Atlantic place and the Scotiabank tower, everything is inside. It basically ruins the downtown strip.

    Any building like this should be forced to have commercial retail space that opens to the sidewalk, but it should be recessed enough to allow outside tables in the summer.

    Take a cruise up Spring Garden Way in Halifax sometime and you'll see what I mean. It is NL though. They will no doubt build something ugly. Realistically, until 90% of the city learns to plant a tree, I'm not sure anyone deserves anything different.