Fortis won't fight city hall

Moira Baird
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Company has no intention of submitting a revised tower proposal

Fortis Inc. president and CEO Stan Marshall didn't mince words about the company's withdrawn proposal for a 15-storey office tower in downtown St. John's.

When asked Tuesday if the company plans to go back to the drawing board, he replied, "No. That's dead."

Fortis proposed a $75-million project that included retrofitting its 12-storey downtown headquarters and building a new 15-storey office tower alongside it.

President and CEO Stan Marshall speaks Tuesday at the annual general meeting of Fortis Inc. at the Holiday Inn in St. John's. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Fortis Inc. president and CEO Stan Marshall didn't mince words about the company's withdrawn proposal for a 15-storey office tower in downtown St. John's.

When asked Tuesday if the company plans to go back to the drawing board, he replied, "No. That's dead."

Fortis proposed a $75-million project that included retrofitting its 12-storey downtown headquarters and building a new 15-storey office tower alongside it.

The company withdrew that plan March 31.

Instead, the company will simply retrofit its existing building.

"That's the beginning and the end of it," Marshall said.

"We have plenty of opportunities to invest our money. If someone doesn't want investment, OK, we'll move on. That's what happened here."

The proposal to build an office tower on Water Street overlooking the harbour met with opposition from those who didn't like the design or said it surpassed the city's building height regulations.

Fortis preferred the waterfront location.

"As I see it, we're the leading company in this province. We wanted to build something which represented that. ... It had to be substantial, had to be in that location, prominent, leading the way. If we can't do it there, it won't be done."

The company isn't known for shying away from a fight.

Earlier this decade, Fortis pressed ahead and built the Chalillo dam as part of an electricity project in Belize despite years of opposition from environmentalists at home and around the world. That was different battle - one in which Fortis had the support of the Belize government.

"You look at those situations; you had very vocal groups who weren't decision-makers.

"In this case, it was clear - while we had very strong support from the mayor and a couple of councillors - that the majority would not be supporting it. So, if you're not going to succeed, why bother?"

Marshall chalks it up to the City of St. John's not being ready for change.

"We got a clear indication that it wouldn't receive approval from the council.

"So we're not in the business of knocking our heads against a wall. Quite frankly, we would be pleased to build it, but it wasn't there to be had, so we withdrew it."

mbaird@thetelegram.com

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

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  • Politically Incorrect
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    It's a darn shame that Fortis coudn't buy the City Council as it did the Belizian government. Now they're going to take their ball and go home. Good riddance.

  • Last one out turn off the
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Well, it seems that a handfull of NIMBY's such as Duff, Kelly, O'Leary, Galgay, Malone and others have gotten their way and continue to stymie a majority of the development proposals in the Capital city.

    The Fortis proposal was but one which was targetted by the NIMBY's. several other proposals have met with the same fate, which sends a clear message to potential investors in the city to stay away and not bother.

    City residents are going to have to brace for higher taxes in order to enjoy the services currently enjoyed. Unionized workers for the city, fire department and police demand more money, and that money can only come from the taxes which the city collects or from borrowing. Much of the infrastructure in the city is aging and in need of refurbishment or replacement.

    The city is going to become a seniors complex if it doesn't get it's act together soon. Young people will opt to move away to more progressive centers while the rest of us tuff it out for the few years we have remaining.

    I can't help but think about what the future holds for the city and it leaves an awfull knot in my gut to see what is happening here, and all because a vocal minority continue to keep the city in the past.

  • bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    downtown st. johns will go kicking and screaming in to the 21 century.

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Pete.

    You can tell from the article that Stan Marshall would have given my thoughts a lot of consideration. It's a take or leave it LEADERSHIP style (if you consider that leadership).

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I'd like to know where the boarded up shacks are which one commentator referenced. There were dozens and dozens twenty years ago, and you can probably count them on one hand now. Downtown today is chock full of small businesses who have chosen to locate there because of its style and character. It's been said here before - Fortis is not a charity donating money. They are a business - one who was seeking to respond to a market for class A office space. That market is still here, and there are other developments in the works on the other end of Water Street which will fulfill those needs. Turning this development down has not cost the city one dime, because the market is the market is the market. There is a market for class A office space, and therefore someone will build it.

  • Stan's Not The Man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Thought I knew Stan reasonably well and thought him generally a man of some intelligence and integrity. I am forced to revise that assessment. I guess you really don't know someone until you see how they react to being told NO. Fortis wasn't actually told no, but I guess the powers that be, and the citizenry of Newfoundland, didn't move fast enough to kiss hisass for an almighty dollar. Sad to see someone who has done so well by his province demonstrate such a lack of character. He could have said simply that he heard what the public had to say about his plans for redeveloping the Royal Trust building, he respected that view even if he didn't agree with it, and he would amend his proposal to better accommodate those public concerns. Instead he comes across like a brat who is suddenly unhappy with the way the game has turned out and so picks up his ball and goes home. Makes you wonder at the wisdom of allowing private enterprise to control regulated utilities. Time the power distribution business in this province was consolidated under NL Hydro. As for all you other lame-brained posters threatening a move to lego-land, here's your coat - what's your hurry? And those of you threatening to send Duff packing next election, she's heard it all before. The truth is that those councillors with some sense of responsibility for the City's heritage have a much greater core of voter support than these posts suggest. My guess is that we've seen on these pages over the past few months is tantamount to digitally stuffing the ballot box. More reason still to reduce my use of electricity.

  • Cornergirl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Give up comparing St. John's to Halifax. Halifax has one of the largest harbours in the world so they can afford to spread out. We have maybe 1 Km of streetscape in Downtown from Signal Hill to the end of the waterfront. Why don't they build out by the airport like all other big cities do?

  • Nick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    What a joke. So many shills for FORTIS on the board.

    Yea, what St. John's REALLY needed was a big office building downtown. What a huge tourist attraction! What a beautiful eyesore!

    Give me a break. Corps already run enough of the game without giving them any more room to stamp out heritage and culture. For all those knitting-nancies crying about Oh, Poor, Destitute St. John's!!! , you must not have lived here for very long.

    It's becoming increasingly clear that St. John's is coming into money. Look at the housing market, folks. Gold Medal Drive? Look at the huge suburbs popping up at half-million dollar valuations.

    Yet you all cry because big-daddy Fortis actually got told by the citizens of St. John's to find another spot to drop their status symbol?

    The downtown area of St. John's is historic as well as beautiful. Not everything has to be shiny new condo buildings. You people have no appreciation of the character implicit in the people and streets of St. John's.

    In my opinion, you should live for a while in your vaunted Halifax (as I have). Halifax is a violent city, by comparison, and lacks any sort of cultural character.

    P.S. - I grew up in Nova Scotia, and moved here when I turned 18. I also lived in Halifax for some time in University.

  • CITYGUY!
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    TO MAURICE AND ALL MY DEAR FRIENDS FROM PARADISE?! AND BEYOND THE OVERPASS ( OR WEST OF THE ARTS & CULTURE!
    =======================
    THE ISSUE IS NOW DEAD.

    YOU HAVE WHAT YOU WANT. CRAWL BACK UNDER THE ROCK THAT YOU CAME FROM. PARADISE , MOUNT PEARL AND CBS HAVE NOWHERE TO GROW. YOUR TAXES ARE FOR NOTHING... NO HOSPITALS, NO BIG BUSINESS TO SPEAK OF , AND YET YOU HAVE THE GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT ST. JOHN'S EAST.
    =======================
    that is funny!! well amalgamation will happen and then we from the city will have the last laugh.
    so we should export our hospital or fire station to a wee suburb like paradise?? hahaha!!
    what a joke!!!
    maurice and your friends we forgot about you once we saw paradise in your heading as just another bayman . move back with your dory to the bay.
    when you move to st. john's we might give you a millisecond of consideration but don't hold your breath! your words just deserve to be spoken down to and that is it. period. end of discussion.

    not friend from the city

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I think the City of St. John's should just pass a law that prohibits anyone from constructing any new modern buildings and prohibit demolishing of ALL old historic buildings and be done of it! This is just another message from a parochial place that is run like a feudal fiefdom. The message is don't come here to invest if you upset our idea of what we want you to build here. If you upset us we won't let you build anything. Go someplace else and spend your money and create jobs in some other city. Fortis should take note of that attitude and move its head office and other assets lock, stock and barrel out of this throwback to the stone age! Protect heritage at all costs and eventually you will have no future development to speak of! I think that anyone who refuses to allow new developments to be built in St. John's should get the Shannie Duff award for stupidity!

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I guess Atlas shrugged.
    This will happen more unless we get our Councilors to ignore the vocal 250 clowns and start to think about investment in our city and future business opportunities as the oil development industry slowly fades away.
    The crowd who opposed this were the same crew who opposed the redevelopment of Memorial Stadium. What a tragedy that turned out to be!
    Mark

  • Darren
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I'd like to start a trust fund for all you people that need eyeglasses or new eyes. Downdown St. John's is a dump! It was a dump in the 1920's and it is a dump today. A rat infested, rotten and smelly. Are tourist really impressed with the Woolworth's Building or Building on the corner of Duckworth that's been boarded up for the last 20 years? If they are - then I would like to cover them as well under my trust fund for vision care. BTW-forgot to mention the biggest tourist attaction of them all - the concrete buner known as City Hall..... WOW....Looks more like a sewish treatment plant - then again that's all that goes on in there is BS.... And to think that all St. John's ever wants to talk about in the A word. Why would any other municipality want to join such a bunch of clowns????? I thought so, they never will.

  • Rath
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    It's a good thing we're all so wealthy and well-off so we can afford to turn away multimillion dollar investments like this.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Andy I don't have three to four days to start from the beginning and explain the economy to you. As I have already said, it is way too deep for you so ignore my comments or you might have some mental injuries. Just trying ensure you aren't injured. By the way as I have before the childish responses are funny, but if you are debating a topic they are lame.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    So what your saying Taxpayer is that because the business doesnt put all its money back into NL that it is not worth having here or that it is evil in some way? If thats the case, then most of the businesses here should close up shop and get the hell out. Just by the simple fact it is operating here means tax dollars, jobs, yes and even investment that wouldnt be if they were operating elsewhere. Oh and the comment about them owning rundown properties on the main street...is sort of the reason most people here are pissed off...they actually want to change that but are not allowed too. Oh and just to clarify, I dont work for fortis!

  • Andrew E
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I am embarrassed to say I live in St. John's, to be honest. The vocal minority speaks out and wins again, it's been the same in this hellhole since the city came to a beginning.

    All those artsy organic farmer treehuggers that cry heritage at every opportunity, oh look it's a fire trap that nobody takes a second glance at from 50 or 60 years ago - worth nothing whatsoever, and would be demolished in any modern city but it has to stay!

    Who needs progress? Who needs economic benefits? Let's just let St. John's die - but keep building those subdivisions!

  • Fortis should
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    To really put the screws to this ghost town, Fortis should pull up stakes and relocate to Halifax. Dump the employees onto welfare and just wash their hands of St. Johns once and for all. The city can not continue to bully business like Danny for ever. This type of passive aggressive behaviour syndrome many have in this province needs to be treated. The treatment just might be a loss of revenue before they will wake up and see the error of their ways.

  • Walter J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    So I asked what the building -should- look like; Maurice Adams suggests that Fortis take inspiration (for an office tower) from a $700 million dollar hotel. What a reasonable suggestion! Why not take one's inspiration from Louis XIV or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon while we're at it! It's a wonder there's any trouble at all downtown with such good sense going around.

  • Penney
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    The city needs to take steps to establish Kenmount Rd./Avalon Mall area as the main business district in the city.
    For a variety of reasons Downtown is unsuitable for the construction of big ugly buildings like these. If Fortis want to be uncompromising we shouldn't regret it. They could have had their building but they insisted on making it ugly and building it in the wrong neighbourhood. If they were the leading company in the province they might considering leading by setting an example and cooperating with the city and building elsewhere.

  • Pete
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Steve said, Turning this development down has not cost the city one dime, because the market is the market is the market. There is a market for class A office space, and therefore someone will build it.

    Has not cost the city a dime What? There has been a market for Class A office space for years and we've only had two proposals given to council and the Woolworth building is substantially smaller then Fortis'.

    It's not every company in St. John's that can afford to spend 10's of millions on constructing an office tower, we now have another Halifax company wanting to build one instead of a local company.

  • Darren
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Clear out all of the people and bring in the Yanks to drop five or ten 500LB bunker buster bombs. Clear out the dirt that is downtown St. John's. Pardon the pun, but it does not take the bubble to make downtown like crap!!!!

  • Walter J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Would the people who think the proposed tower was 'too ugly' give some examples of comparable buildings which would look more to your liking? Thanks.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    This is why I'll be voting against Duff & O'Leary come next election. This vocal minority would sooner let downtown rot, and call it heritage, than consider the needs of the next generation of St. John's workers/residents.

    Mark an X against the rubber booters folks... look at what it has cost us.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Too bad. St. John's is going nowhere fast. Very sad to see a $75 million plus project go to the garbage bin. Sooner or later the hosing starts will decrease due to lack of business in the metro and considering that's the only development the council seems to approve lately it appears the city will be in hard shape in the next 5 years or so. Glad I'm no taxpayer of St. John's.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Pete,

    The Woolworth's proposal may be slightly smaller, but its in a much better location which will actually replace true blight on the downtown. The Fortis end of the street has buildings which are fully occupied. If they don't want to refurbish the buildings, perhaps they should sell them. Have a look down the street at Yellowbelly Corner (corner of George and Water St). That was a great heritage restoration job, with a building that was probably in the worst condition of any downtown, yet it works and it is only the most recent of many success stories.

    I don't know what Calvin is getting on with, hoping some day that there will be a revolt of downtown small business owners. Hard to see that coming when the downtown business community is thriving and growing more now more than it has in a generation. Don't you think it would be more expensive for those businesses to set up shop on the ground floor of a class A office tower?

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Stan Marshall should be ashamed of himself. How can the CEO of the self professed leading company in NL propose a WAL-MART, LEGO BLOCK, BIG BOX style monstrosity for that area of the province's capital city? While Fortis may be leading from an economic perspective, it could learn a few things about architectural/cultural appreciation and leadership.

  • HUGHIE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    TO MAURICE E ADAMS PARADISE, I NOTE YOU HAVE LOTS TO SAY ABOUT ST JOHNS BUT NESTED AWAY IN PARADISE, STAY THERE AND MYOB WHEN YOU PAY TAXES LIKE US THAT GO UP AND UP AND A COUNCIL THAT ARE BEING DICTATED TO ,STAY IN PARADISE, I BET YOU ARE BROWN BAGGER THAT CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO OUR CITY BUT LIKE THE REST OF YOU KNOW HOW TO SOLVE ST JOHNS PROBLEM. PAY TAXES HERE AND YOU TOO WOULD BE DISGUSTED WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS COUNCIL, THE ONLY THING THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO IS BE ANTI DEVELOPMENT, GIVE NO SERVICE AND RAISE TAXES.I COULD ALSO ADD HICKMAN TO MICHEAL LIST OF NO VOTES.

  • terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Thanks alot St.John's city council,you let
    a financial opportunity escape that could have brought needed tax dollars and enhancement of the downtown area go down the drain.(into the harbour!)
    Ever see what the harbour view of that area looks like?I guess the next thing we will see are city workers and councillors getting a pay increase.How do you propose to pay for that?

  • Kate
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that council didn't actually shoot down this proposal. Fortis took a couple of council members' opinions and some disapproval from citizens as complete disapproval, and now they're acting like children who didn't get their way. Grow up, Fortis. Acting like this because council didn't automatically approve their building - which it couldn't do automatically because of existing rules - is ridiculous. Of course, I wouldn't expect anything better from a company with no morals whatsoever.

  • THE GUYS IN THE KNOW
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    THE CITY OF ST . JOHN'S HAS JUST REGRESSED 20 YEARS.
    it is not city council who is ultimately responsible for this, it is the people of this city. it is the mindless 20 % who are running everything.
    The responsible 30 % will not reside in this city in 10 years as retirement and this retirement city happens.
    Build the condos and retirement villages here as fast as possible.
    watch for the housing values to drop like a stone in 7 years when the 65% of the public service retires in this province and those that can leave will.
    This city is finished for THE GUYS IN THE KNOW . bags are packed and as soon as retirement hits they are out of here. the city has given them no reason to stay and be run by the rubber boot gang and that 20% who will be staying until the bitter end.
    Would have been nice to win one but hey, better it happens now so that the plan to leave is established and ready.
    hint to the REAL ESTATE AGENTS start publishing a florida real estate guide for the benefit of those others who may want to also leave.

    THE GUYS IN THE KNOW

  • HUGHIE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    BURF. Lesson well taken, I was trying to make it easier for Rubber Boot Gang to read , The ones that took over Paradise with firing a shot and has made enough noise to take over St Johns City hall,The negative comments on Fortis Paridse follower would love to have the Tax Revenut Fortis and companies contribute in tax revenue to St JohnsNick Gre up in Halifax, you cant compare our inner city to down town to Halifax water front

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    A shame really. At least we have some more buildings downtown that can begin the grass growing process. It amazes me how St. John's can never seem to the smart thing. It brings a tear to my eye to see such progress and improvements go to waste. Oh well lets break out the hammer and nails we have some windows to board up.

  • Pete
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Maurice E. Adams,

    Fortis had stated they were willing to modify the style of the building and were looking for the publics input, did you send them an email saying what you thought was wrong with the building?

    Penney,

    Kenmount Road is not suitable as it is for all the businesses it has without building office buildings. And why isn't downtown suitable for high density buildings?

  • Burf
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Isn't Hughie's use of all capitals the same as shouting? I seem to remember this back when e-mails were first used. Is this still the case and is it allowed under your Terms of Use. Not a big thing just curious.

  • DanF
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    The only boarded up shacks downtown will be the buildings in which Fortis vacated all the tenants on the block next to its building. What now for that area?

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Wow Fortis must have the full staff on the computers this morning. I wonder what makes a leading company in Stan's mind. One that owns rundown properties on the main street of the city. A company that operates a utility and a few hotels. Do they create good jobs like Harvey's companies, Penney's companies or Crosbie's companies. I think not as last year linespeople for NP stated that they received very little for 25 years work. They take Newfoundland money and distribute it to shareholders mostly on the mainland or in paying off debts for businesses outside the province. Money never to be seen in the province again unless it is in EI or Equilization payments. $75 million is only a drop in the bucket of what is sent from the province. There is a difference between a company like CHC Helicopters which expanded out of the province and Fortis. CHC used money generated from business with outside companies not local rate payers. But it is a waste of time to even try to explain this to Newfoundlanders.

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    It is really hard to read this type of thing living in a capital city in canada (recently ranked 65th on the best places to live in moneysense in canada, not really a proud place to be):

    We have plenty of opportunities to invest our money. If someone doesn't want investment, OK, we'll move on. That's what happened here.

    St. John's downtown needs revitalization and now is the time. These types of developments will allow the downtown to become an attraction not only for tourists but for people who actually live here. I want to be able to frequent downtown often, but right now, there is nothing drawing me in. Its a glorified tourist trap....plus it has a nice complement of buildings that are rotting away to nothing.

    We are a capital city in a province that is booming. The city needs to take advantage of any investment they can at this point. Oil wont be around forever so it would be nice to have a sustainable economy once it is over.

    To give the impression that st. john's is closed for buisness is an atrocious stand to take at city hall. I agree that heritage needs to be preserved, but within reason and only truly historical buildings should be preserved. Just becasue they are old, doesnt make them historic. The site line argument is rediculous as well...people think their poor house values would drop if they cant see the pretty harbour...im pretty sure vibrant downtown districts in most cities have very high land values.

    The problem is there are too many people living here that want to turn st. john's into one big outport. This is a CITY and not some place around the bay. A city needs investment by business to grow and prosper. I for one do not want to be paying higher taxes because this city cant balance its books...While at the same time it turns down devlopment because it does not meet the requirements of a development plan that is as outdated as duff herself.

    But the debate will continue for 2 more years, 5 more years, 10 more years...while the young move away, the old get older and more set in their ways, and the city slips futher and futher behind the rest of the modern world.

  • Goulie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Oh where is Ron Ellsworth????? Please take another run at the mayors seat, I promise we wont be so stupid next time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Taxpayer, I take that Andy Wells comment as a compliment. Thank you!

    It would be nice to have some more councillors back in the bunker like him with the fortitude to deal with most of the brainless minority that council today seems so intent on pleasing....Oh btw I really wish you could enlighten me on the stuff that is beyond me...You seem like such the intelligent individual yourself...based on many of your comments i feel very fortunate that you even responded to me. The fact is Fortis is a multi billion dollar a year company based in NL that wants to invest in NL. That in itself can never be a bad thing! This tower proposal was a 75 million dollar direct investment in the economy, not to mention the spinoff effect it would have once it was open (i.e. jobs, services, retail, parking, etc.).
    Yes, This company may make some of their money off of NLers, but its not like they are robbing us blind. They provide us a service and we pay them for it..Maybe you would like your power to be free perhaps?...can't you afford your power bill taxpayer?...maybe you should shut your computer off during the day and take a stroll downtown or something.

  • Blair
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It is clear from all these comments that most people are Pro Development, as am I.
    I didn't vote for Shanny, so a lot of you must have. For shame!
    If you want change, get out and make your vote count!

  • Shirley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Well said Penny... Fortis should lead the way.. at least they should think about putting up buildings to fit the landscape of the downtown area

  • Get
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Nice job Council. $75 million investment gone. Calling the most successful business in this province arrogant . Downtown has been allowed to turn into a pile of dumpy buildings and a collection of bars. The City needs to be managed professionally. We have a bunch of overpaid people of priviledge who are more interested in what Gerry Colbert once called the theatre than in running the city. Embarassing.

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    So sad, so very, very sad. I could almost cry. You drive downtown, and look around at the filth, the dirt, the poverty, this is the legacy that our kids will be left with. The buildings down there are less thana 100 years old, how is this heritage? Imagine having the kind of power that Shannie has, to sit down at your desk, and just throw a 75 million dollar proposal in the trash, while trying to figure out how to soak the taxpayer for even more money. Well, Shannie, unlike you many of us don't have any more money for your art procurement program, and as long as imbeciels like you keep driving away our few chances, we will never prosper. The city, and the wooly cap wearing, tax evading maggots will have their two 1920s buildings, and the rest of us will try to come up with a way to pay the next tax increase. This is a shining example of the direction the rulers of this city want to take us, temperance street, sure as high as you want...woolworth's site, sure ugly ground level parking garage and we'll pay you ten million to do it, but to our best corporate citizen, who wanted to revitalize a run down derilect slum...NO WAY!!. Yep, we've got some real winners running this $hithole.

  • Bye Bye
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    All I can say is I am so happy to be leaving the city this weekend and all it's failed attempts to prosper. Why should my mill rate and taxes continue to increase due to one or two foolish old bats at City Hall? They made their beds, now they can sleep in them without my taxes propping them up any further.

    Shannie, you can kiss my behind. I will be sure to slam the door shut on my way out.

  • Maurice E.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I am not suggesting that Fortis is in the same category as Dubai, but just by way of example, the only 7 star hotel in the world is built on the ocean front in Dubai ---- and it is built in the shape of a sail. That is just one example of looking at how BOTH economics and artistic, architectural, cultural aspects can complement each other. For Stan Marshall's benefit --- good economics and good/artistic/cultural looks are NOT mutually exclusive.

  • Bear
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I agree with Mike, it's too bad this council has no business sense. How long are we going to try to save some old buildings that have no significant historic value attached to it and this argument concerning height restrictions is just foolishness. Just think of the tax revenue lost and the job losses, it's not like the City is flush with money.

  • sean
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Good for fortis.......now take your money and build in upper Canada....where there are still sane people who would love to take your 75 mil and employ more of it's citizens.St.John's is not really a city anyway.It's akin to a large outport town...and will remain so for years to come ,because the 20 pct of the old geezer losers like Shannie Duff and her clique have the city by the cods.And when you got something by the cods, the heart and mind will soon follow!What cod balls!!

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Andrew is that Andy Wells. The point is Andy that if you don't keep up your present property, are you going to keep up a new property. Experience here says probably not. The rest is way beyond you so don't give it another thought.

  • Krista
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I have to ask, just what is the plan for development downtown? Has anyone conceptualized a plan? Many other cities, like Halifax and Montreal for example have managed quite well to preserve their heritage sites while allowing new development. It is a shame to loose such an opportunity, but shame on Fortis for not being willing to compromise... well, it takes big boots to stand your ground and I applaud the cities courage. However, the world is changing and if you dont figure out what the hell it is you want, the world will change with or without you and St. John's will suffer.
    I grew up on Le Marchant road and every time I come home I am disappointed to see the lovely neighborhood loosing its charm. I want to know what is the plan? What is the vision for development downtown? What will be there to come home for when the grandparents are gone?

  • Todd
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I'm sick of all this tox and big boxes and glass. Not once have I heard anyone propose anything there that would be acceptable. Look around you people. Our houses are boxes, our churches are boxes, our school are boxes and so are our hospitals as are all the current building downtown. And last time I checked these places all had windows. How else do you guys propose to build something different. It's one thing to say that these buildings are boring and not creative but if you have no feasible suggestion that you are just being ignorant.

  • Calvin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Steve from NL writes: Downtown today is chock full of small businesses who have chosen to locate there because of its style and character......

    So Steve, all these small business can afford to pay the tax dollars required by the city in order keep the downtown area from falling into disrepair? No, they cant. Next thing you hear will be all these small businesses crying for a tax cut because they cant afford to operate on what the city is charging them to set up shop in this historical downtown area . And people, why all the hits on Fortis for trying to make some money? Do you think all these little businesses in the area are there to lose money? No, they are there to do the same thing Fortis wants to do, turn a profit. I have said this here before and wil say it again, it will take 30 years for all of the heritage nuts to retire and move on before downtown is allowed to develop into something worth while.

  • townie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Thank you Shannie, who needs 75 million dollar office towers. We have boarded up shacks, cracked sidwalks and potholes

  • Whatever Bud
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    This latest thing is just a bit of PR. I said it before and I'll say it again,it's not a matter of if ,it's a matter of when . I'm wondering why two of the tenants have relocated to the TD building if it was not necessary? Stay tuned for demolition.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    I love how all the rubber booters assume it's Fortis shills writing in favour of downtown development. Sorry folks, not a Fortis shill here... just a taxpaying resident of St. John's who has (and likely always will) worked office jobs all his life.

    Offices want to setup shop in the downtown area. This is true of most major cities. The artsy-fartsies would sooner see the rundown buildings stay in place... I believe young professionals need to spend more time speaking out against this minority, to ensure our interests are met. Greg Malone, Shannie Duff, and the rest of that ilk don't have the good of citzens in mind. Period.

  • Politically Incorrect
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    It's a darn shame that Fortis coudn't buy the City Council as it did the Belizian government. Now they're going to take their ball and go home. Good riddance.

  • Last one out turn off the
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Well, it seems that a handfull of NIMBY's such as Duff, Kelly, O'Leary, Galgay, Malone and others have gotten their way and continue to stymie a majority of the development proposals in the Capital city.

    The Fortis proposal was but one which was targetted by the NIMBY's. several other proposals have met with the same fate, which sends a clear message to potential investors in the city to stay away and not bother.

    City residents are going to have to brace for higher taxes in order to enjoy the services currently enjoyed. Unionized workers for the city, fire department and police demand more money, and that money can only come from the taxes which the city collects or from borrowing. Much of the infrastructure in the city is aging and in need of refurbishment or replacement.

    The city is going to become a seniors complex if it doesn't get it's act together soon. Young people will opt to move away to more progressive centers while the rest of us tuff it out for the few years we have remaining.

    I can't help but think about what the future holds for the city and it leaves an awfull knot in my gut to see what is happening here, and all because a vocal minority continue to keep the city in the past.

  • bob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    downtown st. johns will go kicking and screaming in to the 21 century.

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Pete.

    You can tell from the article that Stan Marshall would have given my thoughts a lot of consideration. It's a take or leave it LEADERSHIP style (if you consider that leadership).

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I'd like to know where the boarded up shacks are which one commentator referenced. There were dozens and dozens twenty years ago, and you can probably count them on one hand now. Downtown today is chock full of small businesses who have chosen to locate there because of its style and character. It's been said here before - Fortis is not a charity donating money. They are a business - one who was seeking to respond to a market for class A office space. That market is still here, and there are other developments in the works on the other end of Water Street which will fulfill those needs. Turning this development down has not cost the city one dime, because the market is the market is the market. There is a market for class A office space, and therefore someone will build it.

  • Stan's Not The Man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Thought I knew Stan reasonably well and thought him generally a man of some intelligence and integrity. I am forced to revise that assessment. I guess you really don't know someone until you see how they react to being told NO. Fortis wasn't actually told no, but I guess the powers that be, and the citizenry of Newfoundland, didn't move fast enough to kiss hisass for an almighty dollar. Sad to see someone who has done so well by his province demonstrate such a lack of character. He could have said simply that he heard what the public had to say about his plans for redeveloping the Royal Trust building, he respected that view even if he didn't agree with it, and he would amend his proposal to better accommodate those public concerns. Instead he comes across like a brat who is suddenly unhappy with the way the game has turned out and so picks up his ball and goes home. Makes you wonder at the wisdom of allowing private enterprise to control regulated utilities. Time the power distribution business in this province was consolidated under NL Hydro. As for all you other lame-brained posters threatening a move to lego-land, here's your coat - what's your hurry? And those of you threatening to send Duff packing next election, she's heard it all before. The truth is that those councillors with some sense of responsibility for the City's heritage have a much greater core of voter support than these posts suggest. My guess is that we've seen on these pages over the past few months is tantamount to digitally stuffing the ballot box. More reason still to reduce my use of electricity.

  • Cornergirl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Give up comparing St. John's to Halifax. Halifax has one of the largest harbours in the world so they can afford to spread out. We have maybe 1 Km of streetscape in Downtown from Signal Hill to the end of the waterfront. Why don't they build out by the airport like all other big cities do?

  • Nick
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    What a joke. So many shills for FORTIS on the board.

    Yea, what St. John's REALLY needed was a big office building downtown. What a huge tourist attraction! What a beautiful eyesore!

    Give me a break. Corps already run enough of the game without giving them any more room to stamp out heritage and culture. For all those knitting-nancies crying about Oh, Poor, Destitute St. John's!!! , you must not have lived here for very long.

    It's becoming increasingly clear that St. John's is coming into money. Look at the housing market, folks. Gold Medal Drive? Look at the huge suburbs popping up at half-million dollar valuations.

    Yet you all cry because big-daddy Fortis actually got told by the citizens of St. John's to find another spot to drop their status symbol?

    The downtown area of St. John's is historic as well as beautiful. Not everything has to be shiny new condo buildings. You people have no appreciation of the character implicit in the people and streets of St. John's.

    In my opinion, you should live for a while in your vaunted Halifax (as I have). Halifax is a violent city, by comparison, and lacks any sort of cultural character.

    P.S. - I grew up in Nova Scotia, and moved here when I turned 18. I also lived in Halifax for some time in University.

  • CITYGUY!
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    TO MAURICE AND ALL MY DEAR FRIENDS FROM PARADISE?! AND BEYOND THE OVERPASS ( OR WEST OF THE ARTS & CULTURE!
    =======================
    THE ISSUE IS NOW DEAD.

    YOU HAVE WHAT YOU WANT. CRAWL BACK UNDER THE ROCK THAT YOU CAME FROM. PARADISE , MOUNT PEARL AND CBS HAVE NOWHERE TO GROW. YOUR TAXES ARE FOR NOTHING... NO HOSPITALS, NO BIG BUSINESS TO SPEAK OF , AND YET YOU HAVE THE GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT ST. JOHN'S EAST.
    =======================
    that is funny!! well amalgamation will happen and then we from the city will have the last laugh.
    so we should export our hospital or fire station to a wee suburb like paradise?? hahaha!!
    what a joke!!!
    maurice and your friends we forgot about you once we saw paradise in your heading as just another bayman . move back with your dory to the bay.
    when you move to st. john's we might give you a millisecond of consideration but don't hold your breath! your words just deserve to be spoken down to and that is it. period. end of discussion.

    not friend from the city

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I think the City of St. John's should just pass a law that prohibits anyone from constructing any new modern buildings and prohibit demolishing of ALL old historic buildings and be done of it! This is just another message from a parochial place that is run like a feudal fiefdom. The message is don't come here to invest if you upset our idea of what we want you to build here. If you upset us we won't let you build anything. Go someplace else and spend your money and create jobs in some other city. Fortis should take note of that attitude and move its head office and other assets lock, stock and barrel out of this throwback to the stone age! Protect heritage at all costs and eventually you will have no future development to speak of! I think that anyone who refuses to allow new developments to be built in St. John's should get the Shannie Duff award for stupidity!

  • Darren
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I'd like to start a trust fund for all you people that need eyeglasses or new eyes. Downdown St. John's is a dump! It was a dump in the 1920's and it is a dump today. A rat infested, rotten and smelly. Are tourist really impressed with the Woolworth's Building or Building on the corner of Duckworth that's been boarded up for the last 20 years? If they are - then I would like to cover them as well under my trust fund for vision care. BTW-forgot to mention the biggest tourist attaction of them all - the concrete buner known as City Hall..... WOW....Looks more like a sewish treatment plant - then again that's all that goes on in there is BS.... And to think that all St. John's ever wants to talk about in the A word. Why would any other municipality want to join such a bunch of clowns????? I thought so, they never will.

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I guess Atlas shrugged.
    This will happen more unless we get our Councilors to ignore the vocal 250 clowns and start to think about investment in our city and future business opportunities as the oil development industry slowly fades away.
    The crowd who opposed this were the same crew who opposed the redevelopment of Memorial Stadium. What a tragedy that turned out to be!
    Mark

  • Rath
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    It's a good thing we're all so wealthy and well-off so we can afford to turn away multimillion dollar investments like this.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Andy I don't have three to four days to start from the beginning and explain the economy to you. As I have already said, it is way too deep for you so ignore my comments or you might have some mental injuries. Just trying ensure you aren't injured. By the way as I have before the childish responses are funny, but if you are debating a topic they are lame.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    So what your saying Taxpayer is that because the business doesnt put all its money back into NL that it is not worth having here or that it is evil in some way? If thats the case, then most of the businesses here should close up shop and get the hell out. Just by the simple fact it is operating here means tax dollars, jobs, yes and even investment that wouldnt be if they were operating elsewhere. Oh and the comment about them owning rundown properties on the main street...is sort of the reason most people here are pissed off...they actually want to change that but are not allowed too. Oh and just to clarify, I dont work for fortis!

  • Andrew E
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I am embarrassed to say I live in St. John's, to be honest. The vocal minority speaks out and wins again, it's been the same in this hellhole since the city came to a beginning.

    All those artsy organic farmer treehuggers that cry heritage at every opportunity, oh look it's a fire trap that nobody takes a second glance at from 50 or 60 years ago - worth nothing whatsoever, and would be demolished in any modern city but it has to stay!

    Who needs progress? Who needs economic benefits? Let's just let St. John's die - but keep building those subdivisions!

  • Fortis should
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    To really put the screws to this ghost town, Fortis should pull up stakes and relocate to Halifax. Dump the employees onto welfare and just wash their hands of St. Johns once and for all. The city can not continue to bully business like Danny for ever. This type of passive aggressive behaviour syndrome many have in this province needs to be treated. The treatment just might be a loss of revenue before they will wake up and see the error of their ways.

  • Walter J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    So I asked what the building -should- look like; Maurice Adams suggests that Fortis take inspiration (for an office tower) from a $700 million dollar hotel. What a reasonable suggestion! Why not take one's inspiration from Louis XIV or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon while we're at it! It's a wonder there's any trouble at all downtown with such good sense going around.

  • Penney
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    The city needs to take steps to establish Kenmount Rd./Avalon Mall area as the main business district in the city.
    For a variety of reasons Downtown is unsuitable for the construction of big ugly buildings like these. If Fortis want to be uncompromising we shouldn't regret it. They could have had their building but they insisted on making it ugly and building it in the wrong neighbourhood. If they were the leading company in the province they might considering leading by setting an example and cooperating with the city and building elsewhere.

  • Pete
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Steve said, Turning this development down has not cost the city one dime, because the market is the market is the market. There is a market for class A office space, and therefore someone will build it.

    Has not cost the city a dime What? There has been a market for Class A office space for years and we've only had two proposals given to council and the Woolworth building is substantially smaller then Fortis'.

    It's not every company in St. John's that can afford to spend 10's of millions on constructing an office tower, we now have another Halifax company wanting to build one instead of a local company.

  • Darren
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Clear out all of the people and bring in the Yanks to drop five or ten 500LB bunker buster bombs. Clear out the dirt that is downtown St. John's. Pardon the pun, but it does not take the bubble to make downtown like crap!!!!

  • Walter J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Would the people who think the proposed tower was 'too ugly' give some examples of comparable buildings which would look more to your liking? Thanks.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    This is why I'll be voting against Duff & O'Leary come next election. This vocal minority would sooner let downtown rot, and call it heritage, than consider the needs of the next generation of St. John's workers/residents.

    Mark an X against the rubber booters folks... look at what it has cost us.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Too bad. St. John's is going nowhere fast. Very sad to see a $75 million plus project go to the garbage bin. Sooner or later the hosing starts will decrease due to lack of business in the metro and considering that's the only development the council seems to approve lately it appears the city will be in hard shape in the next 5 years or so. Glad I'm no taxpayer of St. John's.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Pete,

    The Woolworth's proposal may be slightly smaller, but its in a much better location which will actually replace true blight on the downtown. The Fortis end of the street has buildings which are fully occupied. If they don't want to refurbish the buildings, perhaps they should sell them. Have a look down the street at Yellowbelly Corner (corner of George and Water St). That was a great heritage restoration job, with a building that was probably in the worst condition of any downtown, yet it works and it is only the most recent of many success stories.

    I don't know what Calvin is getting on with, hoping some day that there will be a revolt of downtown small business owners. Hard to see that coming when the downtown business community is thriving and growing more now more than it has in a generation. Don't you think it would be more expensive for those businesses to set up shop on the ground floor of a class A office tower?

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Stan Marshall should be ashamed of himself. How can the CEO of the self professed leading company in NL propose a WAL-MART, LEGO BLOCK, BIG BOX style monstrosity for that area of the province's capital city? While Fortis may be leading from an economic perspective, it could learn a few things about architectural/cultural appreciation and leadership.

  • HUGHIE
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    TO MAURICE E ADAMS PARADISE, I NOTE YOU HAVE LOTS TO SAY ABOUT ST JOHNS BUT NESTED AWAY IN PARADISE, STAY THERE AND MYOB WHEN YOU PAY TAXES LIKE US THAT GO UP AND UP AND A COUNCIL THAT ARE BEING DICTATED TO ,STAY IN PARADISE, I BET YOU ARE BROWN BAGGER THAT CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO OUR CITY BUT LIKE THE REST OF YOU KNOW HOW TO SOLVE ST JOHNS PROBLEM. PAY TAXES HERE AND YOU TOO WOULD BE DISGUSTED WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS COUNCIL, THE ONLY THING THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO IS BE ANTI DEVELOPMENT, GIVE NO SERVICE AND RAISE TAXES.I COULD ALSO ADD HICKMAN TO MICHEAL LIST OF NO VOTES.

  • terry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Thanks alot St.John's city council,you let
    a financial opportunity escape that could have brought needed tax dollars and enhancement of the downtown area go down the drain.(into the harbour!)
    Ever see what the harbour view of that area looks like?I guess the next thing we will see are city workers and councillors getting a pay increase.How do you propose to pay for that?

  • Kate
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that council didn't actually shoot down this proposal. Fortis took a couple of council members' opinions and some disapproval from citizens as complete disapproval, and now they're acting like children who didn't get their way. Grow up, Fortis. Acting like this because council didn't automatically approve their building - which it couldn't do automatically because of existing rules - is ridiculous. Of course, I wouldn't expect anything better from a company with no morals whatsoever.

  • THE GUYS IN THE KNOW
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    THE CITY OF ST . JOHN'S HAS JUST REGRESSED 20 YEARS.
    it is not city council who is ultimately responsible for this, it is the people of this city. it is the mindless 20 % who are running everything.
    The responsible 30 % will not reside in this city in 10 years as retirement and this retirement city happens.
    Build the condos and retirement villages here as fast as possible.
    watch for the housing values to drop like a stone in 7 years when the 65% of the public service retires in this province and those that can leave will.
    This city is finished for THE GUYS IN THE KNOW . bags are packed and as soon as retirement hits they are out of here. the city has given them no reason to stay and be run by the rubber boot gang and that 20% who will be staying until the bitter end.
    Would have been nice to win one but hey, better it happens now so that the plan to leave is established and ready.
    hint to the REAL ESTATE AGENTS start publishing a florida real estate guide for the benefit of those others who may want to also leave.

    THE GUYS IN THE KNOW

  • HUGHIE
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    BURF. Lesson well taken, I was trying to make it easier for Rubber Boot Gang to read , The ones that took over Paradise with firing a shot and has made enough noise to take over St Johns City hall,The negative comments on Fortis Paridse follower would love to have the Tax Revenut Fortis and companies contribute in tax revenue to St JohnsNick Gre up in Halifax, you cant compare our inner city to down town to Halifax water front

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    A shame really. At least we have some more buildings downtown that can begin the grass growing process. It amazes me how St. John's can never seem to the smart thing. It brings a tear to my eye to see such progress and improvements go to waste. Oh well lets break out the hammer and nails we have some windows to board up.

  • Pete
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Maurice E. Adams,

    Fortis had stated they were willing to modify the style of the building and were looking for the publics input, did you send them an email saying what you thought was wrong with the building?

    Penney,

    Kenmount Road is not suitable as it is for all the businesses it has without building office buildings. And why isn't downtown suitable for high density buildings?

  • Burf
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Isn't Hughie's use of all capitals the same as shouting? I seem to remember this back when e-mails were first used. Is this still the case and is it allowed under your Terms of Use. Not a big thing just curious.

  • DanF
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    The only boarded up shacks downtown will be the buildings in which Fortis vacated all the tenants on the block next to its building. What now for that area?

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Wow Fortis must have the full staff on the computers this morning. I wonder what makes a leading company in Stan's mind. One that owns rundown properties on the main street of the city. A company that operates a utility and a few hotels. Do they create good jobs like Harvey's companies, Penney's companies or Crosbie's companies. I think not as last year linespeople for NP stated that they received very little for 25 years work. They take Newfoundland money and distribute it to shareholders mostly on the mainland or in paying off debts for businesses outside the province. Money never to be seen in the province again unless it is in EI or Equilization payments. $75 million is only a drop in the bucket of what is sent from the province. There is a difference between a company like CHC Helicopters which expanded out of the province and Fortis. CHC used money generated from business with outside companies not local rate payers. But it is a waste of time to even try to explain this to Newfoundlanders.

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    It is really hard to read this type of thing living in a capital city in canada (recently ranked 65th on the best places to live in moneysense in canada, not really a proud place to be):

    We have plenty of opportunities to invest our money. If someone doesn't want investment, OK, we'll move on. That's what happened here.

    St. John's downtown needs revitalization and now is the time. These types of developments will allow the downtown to become an attraction not only for tourists but for people who actually live here. I want to be able to frequent downtown often, but right now, there is nothing drawing me in. Its a glorified tourist trap....plus it has a nice complement of buildings that are rotting away to nothing.

    We are a capital city in a province that is booming. The city needs to take advantage of any investment they can at this point. Oil wont be around forever so it would be nice to have a sustainable economy once it is over.

    To give the impression that st. john's is closed for buisness is an atrocious stand to take at city hall. I agree that heritage needs to be preserved, but within reason and only truly historical buildings should be preserved. Just becasue they are old, doesnt make them historic. The site line argument is rediculous as well...people think their poor house values would drop if they cant see the pretty harbour...im pretty sure vibrant downtown districts in most cities have very high land values.

    The problem is there are too many people living here that want to turn st. john's into one big outport. This is a CITY and not some place around the bay. A city needs investment by business to grow and prosper. I for one do not want to be paying higher taxes because this city cant balance its books...While at the same time it turns down devlopment because it does not meet the requirements of a development plan that is as outdated as duff herself.

    But the debate will continue for 2 more years, 5 more years, 10 more years...while the young move away, the old get older and more set in their ways, and the city slips futher and futher behind the rest of the modern world.

  • Goulie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Oh where is Ron Ellsworth????? Please take another run at the mayors seat, I promise we wont be so stupid next time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Taxpayer, I take that Andy Wells comment as a compliment. Thank you!

    It would be nice to have some more councillors back in the bunker like him with the fortitude to deal with most of the brainless minority that council today seems so intent on pleasing....Oh btw I really wish you could enlighten me on the stuff that is beyond me...You seem like such the intelligent individual yourself...based on many of your comments i feel very fortunate that you even responded to me. The fact is Fortis is a multi billion dollar a year company based in NL that wants to invest in NL. That in itself can never be a bad thing! This tower proposal was a 75 million dollar direct investment in the economy, not to mention the spinoff effect it would have once it was open (i.e. jobs, services, retail, parking, etc.).
    Yes, This company may make some of their money off of NLers, but its not like they are robbing us blind. They provide us a service and we pay them for it..Maybe you would like your power to be free perhaps?...can't you afford your power bill taxpayer?...maybe you should shut your computer off during the day and take a stroll downtown or something.

  • Blair
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    It is clear from all these comments that most people are Pro Development, as am I.
    I didn't vote for Shanny, so a lot of you must have. For shame!
    If you want change, get out and make your vote count!

  • Shirley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Well said Penny... Fortis should lead the way.. at least they should think about putting up buildings to fit the landscape of the downtown area

  • Get
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    Nice job Council. $75 million investment gone. Calling the most successful business in this province arrogant . Downtown has been allowed to turn into a pile of dumpy buildings and a collection of bars. The City needs to be managed professionally. We have a bunch of overpaid people of priviledge who are more interested in what Gerry Colbert once called the theatre than in running the city. Embarassing.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    So sad, so very, very sad. I could almost cry. You drive downtown, and look around at the filth, the dirt, the poverty, this is the legacy that our kids will be left with. The buildings down there are less thana 100 years old, how is this heritage? Imagine having the kind of power that Shannie has, to sit down at your desk, and just throw a 75 million dollar proposal in the trash, while trying to figure out how to soak the taxpayer for even more money. Well, Shannie, unlike you many of us don't have any more money for your art procurement program, and as long as imbeciels like you keep driving away our few chances, we will never prosper. The city, and the wooly cap wearing, tax evading maggots will have their two 1920s buildings, and the rest of us will try to come up with a way to pay the next tax increase. This is a shining example of the direction the rulers of this city want to take us, temperance street, sure as high as you want...woolworth's site, sure ugly ground level parking garage and we'll pay you ten million to do it, but to our best corporate citizen, who wanted to revitalize a run down derilect slum...NO WAY!!. Yep, we've got some real winners running this $hithole.

  • Bye Bye
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    All I can say is I am so happy to be leaving the city this weekend and all it's failed attempts to prosper. Why should my mill rate and taxes continue to increase due to one or two foolish old bats at City Hall? They made their beds, now they can sleep in them without my taxes propping them up any further.

    Shannie, you can kiss my behind. I will be sure to slam the door shut on my way out.

  • Maurice E.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    I am not suggesting that Fortis is in the same category as Dubai, but just by way of example, the only 7 star hotel in the world is built on the ocean front in Dubai ---- and it is built in the shape of a sail. That is just one example of looking at how BOTH economics and artistic, architectural, cultural aspects can complement each other. For Stan Marshall's benefit --- good economics and good/artistic/cultural looks are NOT mutually exclusive.

  • Bear
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    I agree with Mike, it's too bad this council has no business sense. How long are we going to try to save some old buildings that have no significant historic value attached to it and this argument concerning height restrictions is just foolishness. Just think of the tax revenue lost and the job losses, it's not like the City is flush with money.

  • sean
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Good for fortis.......now take your money and build in upper Canada....where there are still sane people who would love to take your 75 mil and employ more of it's citizens.St.John's is not really a city anyway.It's akin to a large outport town...and will remain so for years to come ,because the 20 pct of the old geezer losers like Shannie Duff and her clique have the city by the cods.And when you got something by the cods, the heart and mind will soon follow!What cod balls!!

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Andrew is that Andy Wells. The point is Andy that if you don't keep up your present property, are you going to keep up a new property. Experience here says probably not. The rest is way beyond you so don't give it another thought.

  • Krista
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I have to ask, just what is the plan for development downtown? Has anyone conceptualized a plan? Many other cities, like Halifax and Montreal for example have managed quite well to preserve their heritage sites while allowing new development. It is a shame to loose such an opportunity, but shame on Fortis for not being willing to compromise... well, it takes big boots to stand your ground and I applaud the cities courage. However, the world is changing and if you dont figure out what the hell it is you want, the world will change with or without you and St. John's will suffer.
    I grew up on Le Marchant road and every time I come home I am disappointed to see the lovely neighborhood loosing its charm. I want to know what is the plan? What is the vision for development downtown? What will be there to come home for when the grandparents are gone?

  • Todd
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I'm sick of all this tox and big boxes and glass. Not once have I heard anyone propose anything there that would be acceptable. Look around you people. Our houses are boxes, our churches are boxes, our school are boxes and so are our hospitals as are all the current building downtown. And last time I checked these places all had windows. How else do you guys propose to build something different. It's one thing to say that these buildings are boring and not creative but if you have no feasible suggestion that you are just being ignorant.

  • Calvin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Steve from NL writes: Downtown today is chock full of small businesses who have chosen to locate there because of its style and character......

    So Steve, all these small business can afford to pay the tax dollars required by the city in order keep the downtown area from falling into disrepair? No, they cant. Next thing you hear will be all these small businesses crying for a tax cut because they cant afford to operate on what the city is charging them to set up shop in this historical downtown area . And people, why all the hits on Fortis for trying to make some money? Do you think all these little businesses in the area are there to lose money? No, they are there to do the same thing Fortis wants to do, turn a profit. I have said this here before and wil say it again, it will take 30 years for all of the heritage nuts to retire and move on before downtown is allowed to develop into something worth while.

  • townie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Thank you Shannie, who needs 75 million dollar office towers. We have boarded up shacks, cracked sidwalks and potholes

  • Whatever Bud
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    This latest thing is just a bit of PR. I said it before and I'll say it again,it's not a matter of if ,it's a matter of when . I'm wondering why two of the tenants have relocated to the TD building if it was not necessary? Stay tuned for demolition.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    I love how all the rubber booters assume it's Fortis shills writing in favour of downtown development. Sorry folks, not a Fortis shill here... just a taxpaying resident of St. John's who has (and likely always will) worked office jobs all his life.

    Offices want to setup shop in the downtown area. This is true of most major cities. The artsy-fartsies would sooner see the rundown buildings stay in place... I believe young professionals need to spend more time speaking out against this minority, to ensure our interests are met. Greg Malone, Shannie Duff, and the rest of that ilk don't have the good of citzens in mind. Period.