New condo proposed

Alisha Morrissey
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Project would demolish Star of the Sea hall

An application to demolish the Star of the Sea Hall and replace it with a 48-unit condominium building has been submitted to the city.

But the developers of this particular project will have to jump through several hoops if it's going to go ahead, including getting past the heritage designation of the more than 100-year-old building.

An Ontario company wants to tear down the Star of the Sea hall to put up a condo. - Telegram file photo

An application to demolish the Star of the Sea Hall and replace it with a 48-unit condominium building has been submitted to the city.

But the developers of this particular project will have to jump through several hoops if it's going to go ahead, including getting past the heritage designation of the more than 100-year-old building.

Joe Sampson, with the planning department, says the proposal for a new building shows a development of about the same height as the current Star of the Sea Hall, with high-end condos and indoor parking.

"The first thing is they will have to convince the heritage advisory committee that the building is really incapable of being redeveloped," he says, explaining the developer is likely to meet with the heritage advisory committee this week to talk about the proposal and potential to rescind the heritage designation.

Sampson says the application was submitted by a Mississauga Ont. company, which hired local architectural firm Ron Fougere Associates as consultants.

In an e-mail exchange, Fougere says the company hopes the heritage designation won't be a stumbling block.

He's been involved with a number of the previous applications to work on the building.

"Each one has proven unsuccessful, largely due to the constraints of dealing with the existing plan, configuration and structure of the existing building," Fougere says in the e-mail.

"The zoning down there now is residential downtown and what we would have to do is a rezoning of the site to accommodate the new development," Sampson says, adding there will also have to be a planning amendment, meaning aside from public meetings chaired by a member of council, there will also have to be a commissioner's meeting, held by an impartial person.

"They're proposing 64 parking spaces, indoor parking, so parking will not be an issue for this site," Sampson says.

"I've been in that building. It's in hard shape and I think that's what a lot of the applications ... that's why people walked away to do conversions of the building it's not functional or practical."

Ward Coun. Frank Galgay says he's pleased to see an application come into the city of such magnitude, but refrained from commenting on his position on the redevelopment until he could get more information.

Galgay does say he'd like to see any potential development embrace the historical importance of the site.

Fougere says the proposed design does incorporate the concept of the centre portico feature of the building and it will generally be of the same height and mass of the current building.

The current Star of the Sea Hall, located at 40 Henry St., was associated with the Newfoundland Fishermen's Star of the Sea association in the 19th century. The building was also used by the Newfoundland government as a Supreme and district court, was both a live theatre and cinema, post office, auction house, and bingo hall.

It was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1892, rebuilt and destroyed again by fire in 1920.

The building was rebuilt a second time.

The last time there was an application before the city related to the hall, was in the spring of 2008, when the owner asked for permission to tear it down.

The city refused to allow that, as well as a liquor licence for the site, but offered to help find alternate uses for the building.

Organizations: Ron Fougere Associates, Sea association

Geographic location: Mississauga, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Brock
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    There are yuppies in Newfoundland? LOL

  • Brett
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    I think you could work with the existing structure within the building. I'm sure the King George V building was a lot more difficult to work around than this one would be (to keep appropriate facing).

    If they want a building to tear down try the old CBC building or that odd shaped one that's boarded up on the harbour side of duckworth street. Duckworth & McBride's hill I think it is.

    Personally I think a theatre a la Princess of Whales in Toronto could work - premium performances, etc.

    The condo flip is a hollowing out of downtown. I think attractions/businesses need to be encouraged downtown - not residential housing. (albeit this building is surrounded by residential housing)

  • John Smith
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    As long as your not blocking any hippy's view of the harbour there should be no problem. Imagine, a crumbling safety hazard, built in the 1920s is a heritage site?? Just leave it for another few years b'ys, then the teenagers will burn it again anyway. We have all these run down fire traps around, yet the city will do anything to keep development from occurring.That is unless they are spending ten million of our dollars on it...what a bunch of boobs.

  • Todd
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Can't you people read the article? No developer wants to commence repairs to the building because they are not practical or functional. Would you rather leave the building like it stands now and let it crumble? Then what?

  • Jimmy Mac
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I grew up in this area and as far as I am concerned they should bulldoze everything from here to the east end of Duckworth street. These old blds are nothing but a fire hazard and eyesore and it is time to come into the new modern reality.

  • Geoff
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Its a total joke to think that an Ontario developer, who has no ties or roots in our province, would be allowed to tear down a heritage site to make money that will be pulled out of our province. Does this not seem crazy to anyone else. Maybe we should sell Signal Hill and let them build a Car Dealership up there, or maybe Pippy Park should be made into a paint ball feild. I'm not against making better use of the building, but to let someone from the outside come in and tear it down. Let's not forget why Newfoundland was discovered and established, FISH, and FISHERMAN, this site should be protected at all costs!!!

  • Randy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Oh dear, wait until Peg Norman and her merry band of bourgeois wannabe intelligentsia put down their indie music records and start protesting this!

  • Harsh
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    As a Halifax native, I think this development is definitely a positive. It will strengthen our economy while stimulating jobs and adding a new modern flair to the housing industry in Halifax. We shouldn't be scared of change, we should embrace!

  • Old Man Winter
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Sure can read Todd of Mt. Pearl. Can you? The first thing is they will have to convince the heritage advisory committee that the building is really incapable of being redeveloped,

  • PutUpAParkingLot
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Yes tear it down but delay the demolition permit until September 30th when the national media will be in town to cover the 37th Annual Canadian Heritage Foundation Conference. O'Keefe can be on hand to explain how the extra taxes will help pay for the City's $20 million plan to attract more families to the boozers on George Street. All those people out there who spent a fortune rennovating and saving other heritage properties must feel like complete idiots.

  • Karen
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    It's about time we rejuvenate the city centre and this will be one step towards upgrading St John's. We should replace this dilapidated building to make way for something that will enhance the area not bring down.

  • newfieboy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I am a proud newfoundlander, and I love our heritage, but we have to start moving with the times in this city. It is 2010 and most of the downtown area of town is a eyesore. Old crumbling fire hazards is all it is. If we want to be considered a city worth investing your money in and attracting companies to move here we need to do more to update this town.

  • Michele
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    This is a GREAT PROJECT for the downtown area. This building has already been rebuilt twice. The building is not Heritage. The site which it sits on is a Heritage site. The Architect, Ron Fougere has designed a building that will incorporate the centre portico feature of the building. The main difference will be that the new building will be Structurely sound and safe. This is a residential area whose homeowners would love to see their neighbourhood cleaned up and not have to deal with having a club next door. Great Work and I am looking forward to seeing this new building.

  • Old Man Winter
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Do you enjoy the bliss of your ignorance? Not everyone who enjoys the view and heritage of downtown is a hippie or yuppie for that matter. There are people like myself who simply enjoy preserving the culture of our beautiful city.

  • Kammy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I was born and grew up in the area. Down town area looks very tired and depressing,I thinks there should some new buildings. Existing building is a safety hazard, we need people to come and invest money in our town.Good for our economy.

  • Paul
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Why is it that a Building or house can be to the point of collapse and as soon as someone wants to develop it becomes a heritage building.The downtown has its share of eyesores.Get on with it.Shanny and the council should concentrate on cleaning up the garbage in our dirty city.

  • Andrea
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    If Shannie expects to retain her credibilty, she wouldn't dare allow this beautiful old piece of St. John's hertitage to be destroyed so a private developer can make a fortune selling condos.

  • Nancie
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    No way should this building be torn down! I work in the condo industry....let them build a new building !!!

  • Lesleigh
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    SO THEN, if we're going to bulldoze heritage sites after they've been declared such and then are protected, what EXACTLY, is the point of HAVING something listed as a heritage site??

    Listing something as a heritage site means that it will be protected for future generations as a remembrance of the past. Protected means not going to be demolished. If we let the city destroy this building then why bother claiming ANYTHING as a heritage site? Why waste our money having a committee to decide this stuff if we can choose to demolish it?

  • Bella
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Years ago they tore down a lot of the old houses in downtown St John's and now the ones that were left are worth a fortune. Sometimes it's good to keep a bit of the past around.

  • Michael
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    An attractive heritage building in an excellent location should be renovated / redeveloped, not torn down and some anonymous condominium put in its place. It'd be more a successful development using the original building, anyway -- a little thing called 'charm.'

    I am always astounded at the hostility some people hold toward heritage preservation. We should cherish our heritage, not actively want it to be destroyed.

  • Catherine
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I am completely perplexed as to why so many people are against keeping herritage structures on this island!! I'm not saying that we need our own version of the thousand year old ruins of Greece (which are pretty fascinating) here but, why are people so quick to tear everything down or turn it into a condo unit!?! And better yet- a developer from the mainland!?! This is corrupt. Why even have Herritage Designation(s) if someone is going to come along and get approved to reverse it and tear it down!?! What is the point!?!

  • dave
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Shanny won't be pleased.

  • crackie
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Ahh more traffic to contend with on a narrow one-way hill

  • Joanie
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Out with the old and in with the new- Do we really need that fire hazard around? Why not make use out of our space. I am in the market for a condo and I wish this buiding was already developed!

  • corner girl
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I'm sure there was a story in the paper a few years ago about this building having the siding replaced with a new product that would last 50 years- longer than the insides I guess.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    It's not blocking the view of the Gower St. yuppies so down she goes b'ys.

  • Pam
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    We need more living space as our population grows. And if we want to be a world-class city, this condo is a step in the right direction.