New proposal for old theatre building

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Application submitted to city for residential, office use with possible retail space and indoor parking

A Duckworth Street landmark could get new life if developer Bill Clarke's application is approved.

Powderhouse Hill Investments has asked to develop the building at 344 Duckworth that housed the old Capital Theatre and was most recently home to CBC Radio.

Clarke's name is on the company's application.

He and his brother Randy Clarke once operated Myles-Leger, a real estate company that filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2004.

The former CBC Radio building on Duckworth Street in St. John's, which once housed the old Capital Theatre, is the subject of a new application before city council. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

A Duckworth Street landmark could get new life if developer Bill Clarke's application is approved.

Powderhouse Hill Investments has asked to develop the building at 344 Duckworth that housed the old Capital Theatre and was most recently home to CBC Radio.

Clarke's name is on the company's application.

He and his brother Randy Clarke once operated Myles-Leger, a real estate company that filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2004.

At the time, the firm - which owned dozens of properties in the St. John's area - owed more than $14 million to 125 creditors.

Powderhouse Hill's plan, according to city documents, would see the building developed for residential use as well as for office space, possible retail and indoor parking.

The developer is asking for, among other things, a higher height limit because it wants to add three storeys.

The city's planning staff consider the project a positive addition to the neighbourhood.

They, however, are recommending against a higher height limit, but note that under the existing regulations, Powderhouse could add one extra storey.

The staff has suggested the application be referred to a public meeting.

Frank Galgay is the ward councillor for the area.

He likes the project and, if it's approved, expects it would help revitalize Duckworth Street.

"So far, on first blush, it looks good," he says, noting he would make his final decision on the application after the public meeting.

Powderhouse Hill's plan is at least the second proposed use of 344 Duckworth St. since CBC Radio moved its operation to the corporation's location on the Prince Philip Parkway.

In 2007, developer Paul Madden wanted to renovate the building and turn it into an arts space, refurbishing the Capital Theatre into a 500-seat venue.

He sought government funding to help with the development.

A call to Madden to see if he was involved with Powderhouse Hill was not returned.

The application to develop the former CBC Radio site was not the only application Clarke had before the planning and housing committee this week.

On behalf of a company called Leger Holdings, he also asked permission to conduct a land use assessment in the Murphy's Lane/Signal Hill area. The business has applied to build a nine-lot residential subdivision there.

A message left with Clarke was not returned by the reporter's deadline.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CBC Radio, Capital Theatre, Powderhouse Hill Investments Leger Holdings

Geographic location: Duckworth Street, St. John's, Prince Philip Parkway Signal Hill

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Recent comments

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    It is a great idea, but, my heavens,
    City Council, you just can't be serious
    about considering an application by
    BILL CLARKE. Eventual disaster!
    This is not negativity; it is his track
    record; take a good look at his past
    companies and the outcomes.
    But I am sure he will find someway around this. Get a member of his family or some other fool.

  • g-man
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    i just cant believe this guy BILL CLARK is still aloud to be in this line of bussiness or be in busuness at all..this guy got a track record of fleecing everyone he comes in contact with..a CBC reporter deanne fleet done a fine biography on this guy a few times..i can only say from the report,if anyone deals with this guy,they will either need a check up from the neck up or a good lawyer to protect there money..i call him BILL PONSEY CLARK..please be carful with this guy..this is an example of the kind of citizens frank galgay likes to deal with..WOW

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I think this would be a good idea, especially if the company would have a department store in the building. People have absolutely nowhere to shop for household items and affordable clothing, etc. in the downtown area. Most people in central and downtown area of St. John's would rather take a walk downtown to shop than drive to Stavanger Drive or Kelsey Dr. or take a bus there. Yesterday I called 7 stores in the downtown area to find, would you believe, a sponge mop, and couldn't find one anywhere, try finding a dishcloth, sewing needles, socks, etc. downtown, you won't find it and if you do it will cost you a fortune from the specialty shops. We need more affordable retail downtown, maybe a Dollar Store and certainly a department store of some kind.
    Thank you

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Well, 'Green Light' Galgay sees no problem with this project so it must be good, right? I don't know about anyone else but traffic congestion in the heritage-rich downtown is already a major headache. Mary, I too would like to be able to walk to a department/discount store downtown but as we've seen with the malls, rents are too high for the low profit margin businesses we'd like to see downtown. I'm also sure that my rep on council, Galgay, will aid in pushing through the requested height extensions. Pretty soon, with condominium and other multi-storeyed buildings going up downtown you're either going to have to be in one of those posh suites or on Signal Hill to enjoy the vistas that were once available to all, regardless of income tax bracket. Viva la riche!!

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    It is a great idea for the downtown, however, there is one problem. Bill Clarke is involved!!

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Good to see people commited to revitalizing buildings in the downtown area. There are many eyesores down there that are in desperate need of a makeover. But I'm sure the city council will find some reason to turn down the application. I agree with Mary, downtown needs a good department store.

  • ann
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Will someone on council PLEASE address the problem of parking in the downtown before ANOTHER project that doesn't conform to the existing regulations gets approved. Summertime is great for the tourists but try parking ANYWHERE downtown in the winter- heck anytime.

  • D
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    I'd love to see something like this work, but I don't like the smell of it. Just look across the street. The Palisades was a terrific condo idea, but never went anywhere. Renovating that neglected old theatre building for residential use is too speculative. Also, DT has no lack of available retail space, either, even for a large store. It's already an empty office building, so that need is obviously not there.
    They're going to try to make it a parking lot with the the change of use application.

  • Gayle
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    While it is great to see new development and a rejuvenation of the downtown we should not forget that many private individuals and businesses were left holding the bag because of this developer. Only recently did CBC air a story of a woman whose new home, built under one of Clarke's pseudonyms, had turned into a complete disaster.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    It is a great idea, but, my heavens,
    City Council, you just can't be serious
    about considering an application by
    BILL CLARKE. Eventual disaster!
    This is not negativity; it is his track
    record; take a good look at his past
    companies and the outcomes.
    But I am sure he will find someway around this. Get a member of his family or some other fool.

  • g-man
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    i just cant believe this guy BILL CLARK is still aloud to be in this line of bussiness or be in busuness at all..this guy got a track record of fleecing everyone he comes in contact with..a CBC reporter deanne fleet done a fine biography on this guy a few times..i can only say from the report,if anyone deals with this guy,they will either need a check up from the neck up or a good lawyer to protect there money..i call him BILL PONSEY CLARK..please be carful with this guy..this is an example of the kind of citizens frank galgay likes to deal with..WOW

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I think this would be a good idea, especially if the company would have a department store in the building. People have absolutely nowhere to shop for household items and affordable clothing, etc. in the downtown area. Most people in central and downtown area of St. John's would rather take a walk downtown to shop than drive to Stavanger Drive or Kelsey Dr. or take a bus there. Yesterday I called 7 stores in the downtown area to find, would you believe, a sponge mop, and couldn't find one anywhere, try finding a dishcloth, sewing needles, socks, etc. downtown, you won't find it and if you do it will cost you a fortune from the specialty shops. We need more affordable retail downtown, maybe a Dollar Store and certainly a department store of some kind.
    Thank you

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Well, 'Green Light' Galgay sees no problem with this project so it must be good, right? I don't know about anyone else but traffic congestion in the heritage-rich downtown is already a major headache. Mary, I too would like to be able to walk to a department/discount store downtown but as we've seen with the malls, rents are too high for the low profit margin businesses we'd like to see downtown. I'm also sure that my rep on council, Galgay, will aid in pushing through the requested height extensions. Pretty soon, with condominium and other multi-storeyed buildings going up downtown you're either going to have to be in one of those posh suites or on Signal Hill to enjoy the vistas that were once available to all, regardless of income tax bracket. Viva la riche!!

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    It is a great idea for the downtown, however, there is one problem. Bill Clarke is involved!!

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Good to see people commited to revitalizing buildings in the downtown area. There are many eyesores down there that are in desperate need of a makeover. But I'm sure the city council will find some reason to turn down the application. I agree with Mary, downtown needs a good department store.

  • ann
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Will someone on council PLEASE address the problem of parking in the downtown before ANOTHER project that doesn't conform to the existing regulations gets approved. Summertime is great for the tourists but try parking ANYWHERE downtown in the winter- heck anytime.

  • D
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I'd love to see something like this work, but I don't like the smell of it. Just look across the street. The Palisades was a terrific condo idea, but never went anywhere. Renovating that neglected old theatre building for residential use is too speculative. Also, DT has no lack of available retail space, either, even for a large store. It's already an empty office building, so that need is obviously not there.
    They're going to try to make it a parking lot with the the change of use application.

  • Gayle
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    While it is great to see new development and a rejuvenation of the downtown we should not forget that many private individuals and businesses were left holding the bag because of this developer. Only recently did CBC air a story of a woman whose new home, built under one of Clarke's pseudonyms, had turned into a complete disaster.