Lofty idea

Alisha Morrissey
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Council considers allowing taller buildings in one downtown block

Two executives, an architect and a developer went to city hall last week looking for advice on how to get their Water Street building project approved by council.

When they left about 20 minutes later, half of council were in a heated debate about the need to re- zone at least a portion of the downtown.

These combined artists' renditions show the possible future face of Water Street. The drawing of the building next to Templeton's is based on the proposal brought to the city by Compusult last year. The lighter coloured sketch on the right is a concept of

Two executives, an architect and a developer went to city hall last week looking for advice on how to get their Water Street building project approved by council.

When they left about 20 minutes later, half of council were in a heated debate about the need to re- zone at least a portion of the downtown.

But the discussion that ensued after the Compusult officials left wasn't about whether the zoning changes were needed, but how to go about making the changes.

'Dead zone'

The Water Street block of buildings and vacant land between Steers Cove and Bishop's Cove - referred to as a "dead zone" and "eyesore" by council members and business people alike - could be torn down and replaced with new, more modern buildings if council decides to go ahead with rezoning the area as a bonus site.

The wording and official decision could be weeks away, but would likely allow for developments taller than four storeys or 15 metres in the block that's home to the former Arcade site, the former Woolworth's store and the Templeton's building.

The proposed changes - to allow for buildings with greater height and bulk - are being drawn up by city staff, as per a committee motion.

They will have to be discussed further at other committee meetings and voted on in council chambers, but could include several conditions, including height restrictions or that all ground floors must have public and service space, as well as guidelines set out in the recent downtown parking plan.

This is not the first time the idea of rezoning the block as a bonus site has been raised.

In February, council considered a recommendation from the planning and housing committee that would remove all the properties in the block between Steers Cove and Bishop's Cove from the so-called heritage area.

That means new buildings could be built higher and wider.

The changes would require text amendments to both the city's municipal plan and development regulations.

In February, Shannie Duff, deputy mayor and chairwoman of the Heritage Committee, was the one to suggest the whole block be dealt with, rather than just spot rezoning for certain buildings. At last week's planning meeting she reiterated that point, adding the reasons the block could be exempt include the fact the buildings there have little historic architectural value and better traffic gateways.

Compusult, the IT company that owns the former Arcade site on Water Street, had a development application to build a new five-storey office building on the site rejected last year.

At the time council called the building "ultra modern" and said that it didn't fit in with the streetscape.

The company does not currently have a proposal in front of council for the site, but went back to the committee this week to ask what it could do to make the project more desirable.

Coun. Sandy Hickman, Danny Breen, Wally Collins, Tom Hann, and Bruce Tilley were all pleased with the proposed building as it was brought to council last year despite it being one storey and eight metres too tall to fit the city's heritage guidelines.

By the end of the meeting there was a motion to advise the company the design was supported, but that it should consider revising the plan so any part of the building taller than 15 metres on the Water Street side be stepped back eight metres from the frontage to prevent shadowing and maintain the streetscape.

Councillors did note that for the building to have a designation as Class A office space, the floor to ceiling height is greater than that of other buildings. Another development would benefit from the rezoning.

East Port Properties is preparing a land-use assessment report for the former Woolworth site on Water Street at the request of council.

That development would see a 12-storey building erected, including a partially city-owned parking structure.

But when it comes to the potential Compusult building, parking may be another development hitch.

New downtown parking regulations stipulate a certain number of spaces must be available based on the size and purpose of new developments. Compusult's current development is nearly 60 spaces shy of meeting those regulations.

The city will pitch in on building costs of the parking structure, and is demanding a $1-million up-front fee from Compusult to help fund building the parking garage.

Council will be discussing the amendments at tonight's meeting

amorrissey@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Woolworth, Heritage Committee

Geographic location: Water Street, Port Properties

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • JP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Put Up A Parking Lot from NL,

    Did you read the story?

    Building in this area means keeping the old downtown which most people would consider east of this area. There is nothing heritage in this whole block and that's why it is being looked at for development, companies will get the downtown location and the heritage buildings will be left.

  • Anne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I agree with san: The new buildings will make those older buildings stand out more.... That's exactly what Ms. Duff and her lobbyists friends are afraid off. The last thing they want is for people to realise just how much garbage is passing for heritage.

  • hertiage or bust
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I think St. Johns should embrace its heritage, and that heritage does not include water and sewer. I say we go back to the days of the honey bucket. Lets see the granola's raise a stink about that concept.

  • san
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I think the idea of ultra modern in the downtown area would be wonderful. We have very old buildings and very new modern buidings side by side, which will add to the character of the downtown area. It will make those older building stand out more. No matter how tall or modern something is, the old court house will still be there, and tourists will still look at it in aww...If the city wants business in the downtown area, they are just going to have to realize, that the younger developers are going to purpose structures just like the one pictured, and I think it looks amazing. It either that or the black hole we have there now? which do you think impressess tourists more?

    Its 2010 time to catch up.

  • prufock
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    These don't look any more ultra-modern than the Scotiabank building. I can see the rationale of keeping them under 10 stories, but the existing buildings aren't exactly historical landmarks.

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I'm a fan of development, but why make it look so cheap. For those of you that think steel and glass is modern -- its a child of the 60's and 70's when developers found a way to make building costs cheaper and cheaper. Its like putting vinyl siding on a 100 year old heritage property - it looks cheap! So, if looking cheap is the way St. John's wants to go - go for it! if these builder's wanted approval, try adding to the heritage look and feel with building materials that don't look like they came from the dollar store.

  • Esron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    I think I should run for city council or mayor of St. John's... I'd run under the banner You've done worse! , and I'd make sure the city would change. Ideas such as, reorganizing the downtown, cutting all funding for Mile One [It's private now, if they can't make it run properly, that's not our fault], cut salaries [For mayor and council], and tearing down slums like Froude Ave, and replacing it with commerce or dense residential [I really don't care if you are poor, it doesn't cost anything to clean up your lawn from dirty diapers and other crap, and taking down your wooden xmas stocking from the ground level side of your house - If you can't afford that simple responsibility, you don't deserve a house.... And seriously, control your ?l??d? kids!]

    People may find it harsh and abrasive, but if some one doesn't deal with the hard issues, who will?

  • Jon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    It's funny to me that we are regularly presented with the false-choice of ultramodern or black hole . There are options between these two extremes, you know. How about a brick & mortar-facing? What's wrong with trying to create attractive architecture, rather than going with the absolute cheapest solution?

    Mirrored buildings look garish on day 1, and look increasingly bad as time goes by. Brick & mortar tends to look better as time goes by, assuming the architect isn't an idiot.

    If a corporation doesn't have the cash to create a proper building, then perhaps they should look into leasing space somewhere else.

  • Adra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    It's good to see something going there, though I really wish someone would propose a beautiful building for a change. Modern is fine with me if heritage buildings aren't being destroyed to create them. BUT can we please have some buildings we can be proud of? Surely new development in St. John's doesn't have to have to be so mediocre. It's not reflective of the artistic strengths of the rest of our culture. This is a time when we should be building works that represent how great this place is.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    WOW look at that heritage style. To think the heritage police from the hall bugged the heck out of home owners in the down town the past 20 years for not having this or that right with their choice of siding or windows and we get this as meeting heritage standards??

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    How anyone would allow that unbelievably ugly external parking garage to be built facing water street is beyond comprehension. The fact that the proposal calls for ten million dollars from us. People talk about heritage, and the four story regulation. In my opinion this is a thousand times more out of place than the Fortis proposal. I can't believe people are not up in arms over this.

  • maureen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    No, go ahead by all means, it's too late now. I don't need to have a suggestion, this is called a commentary, you know, you comment on stuff. But when and if heritage buildings are displaced, you start a never-ending cycle of slums with the rise and fall of the economy. Heritage is always heritage and becomes more and more valuable as time passes, like many timeless treasures, keep that in mind eh ? There can be an artistic blend of heritage-modern in this area if the creative will appears. I've seen beautiful examples of it in other cities I've lived. St. John's is not the rest of the world nor should it follow any other place, that would be a mindless disaster which other cities are now waking up to. Thanks for the rude remarks. What other names do you go by under here ? Or are you afraid to say now. Come on, have some courage, tell us, we know this isn't your first trip to the toilet.

  • Ardra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Put them up.

  • Sandra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Newsflash:

    Neither Shannie Duff nor any of the other punching bags you mentioned (Malone, Norma), have indicated that they oppose these developments. In fact, if you read the story Ms. Duff was the one who proposed that that whole block be taken out of the heritage area so that developments like this are possible. It seems that none of the commentators here actually know the difference between Fortis' plan, which involved demolishing fully occupied vibrant heritage buildings, and these proposals, which are for a vacant lot, and the old woolworth's building, which has no heritage value.

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Build them fast, our economy needs to be diversified fast while we have the interest.

    The area discussed in the article is disgusting and needs to be totally redeveloped. I think the council should start looking an minimum height standards in this area and westward so that there will be enough office space in these areas.

  • crackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I'm sick & tired of people describing Downtown as rundown & dirty (George St. maybe), it's no longer a valid point. They can't be driving in the same area as we did on Sunday- all along Water St. 99% of the buildings have a fresh facade and are well maintained. Anyone who says it's old & tired hasn't been near the place in years.

  • P
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    FYI - City Hall's definition of ultra-modern means an occupied, fully utilized building that is visually pleasing to the eye and equipped with several amenities that serve the general public and business. Hence, this ultra-modern conception does not fit in with the current decor of downtown, nor where we dare venture to go. That would be CRAZY talk.

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Jenny H. from St. John's, NL writes: Sooky Face? Sooky Face is my youngest bother you little tart and he never commented anything on this topic; so leave him alone and stop coming by our place Friday nights with your sinful ways ! LOLOL

  • Saucy Face
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    When it comes to St. John's, you need to expand the the old saying You can't fight city hall by including You can't get along with City Hall as well Especailly when you have the 'UNELECTED' likes of Peg Norman and Greg Malone calling the shots for Shannie Duff on the sideline.

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    James if know of a Taxpayer ll who uses other pseudonyms I would suggest that you put them in brackets otherwise I am afraid I have to doubt your sanity.
    Before I go out to do a little yard work I would like to enlighten some of the financial jokers. Economics tells you that money is created by producing something. Thus taking oil or fish from the ocean creates money. Building and renting a building only uses money that has already been created. Thus once the oil is gone and the fishery is no longer a significant industry what is going to create money in Newfoundland. What is left is EI from Ottawa, a smaller fishery and lawyers suing their neighbours for who knows what. Fancy office towers, highways to Pouch Cove and Holyrood and condos are not going to create money. So someone had better get on the job before this happens or Newfoundland will have no population, but lots of fancy offices, highways and condos.

  • Voice
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    I can't believe people are still debating this.

    City council needs to grow some conjones and get on with it.

    This must be the most backward city in North America.

  • Gordon
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    It looks nice, in an Anytown, USA sort of way. However, fresh , which is what one person claimed it to be, hardly fits. The illustration looks nondesecript. Here's an idea. Why not give the old buildings a good scrub. If you want more, give them a facelift. Some cement and paint will take care of that. I saw that in Prague. In the early 1990s, when I first went there, the buildings had long been neglected by 40 years of communism. Throughout the 1990s, the buildings are given a facelift. The last time I went there was in 2008. I was impressed by the transformation. The buildings looked and even felt new. The fact that many buildings were restored this way made the city much happier looking than before. It also had character. Now, that's what I call fresh . We may not be able to complete with Prague, considering that our buildings are not nearly as old as most of theirs. However, as time passes, and with careful management and foresight, St. John's can have a beautiful looking city. It will be ours to make, and for our children to inherit. Letting old buildings rot will do little towards creating beautiful city, nor will ripping down the what we already have.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Compusult should reconsider, and stay in Mount Pearl. Downtown St. John's clearly isn't opened to business opportunities that involve a fresh look, or fresh thinking.

  • Seumas
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I agree. Ultra modern doesn't fit the derelict, run down, abandoned look of downtown.

  • Johannah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    This plan looks like something that the remainder of the downtown isn't: FRESH.
    Bravo. I hope the old fogies step aside and let this come to fruition.

  • mainalnder
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I think the glass and steel will look fantastic in the nfld tourism commercials. better than the hideous jellybean row houses. who would want to come to St. John's to see painted like jellybeans? Glass and steel are huge tourist attractions. That end of Water Street needs to be developed and there has to be a way to do it so the buildings won't be as ugly as the other newer buildings down there.

  • InNL
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Looks like this one might actually go through. I guess the hippies don't live this far up water street. Don't want their view of their precious narrows being blocked by any means.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Someone has a severe multiple personality disorder, Taxpayer II. All of your postings this morning assume that Shannie Duff is against this proposal. If you actually read the article, you would see that there is no indication that she is opposed to this plan. Now get back to work, you lazy toerag.

  • Pete
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    san,

    I agree with you 100%.

    I've always felt that the heritage buildings don't stand out as much as they could because everything downtown is the same but by adding some different architecture in the area will make evrything stand out more.

  • Put Up A Parking Lot
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Excellent post Maureen. Ever notice how that those in favour of destroying anything of heritage value tend to use the most offensive language in their posts. It's a bully tactic they employ when there's no other way of discrediting others. Those in favour of keeping some semblance of the downtown intact for future generations tend to be much more articulate and intelligent. You asked how many aliases these people use. My guess is that what we've been treated to for the past couple of months is an organized, aggressive letter writing campaign by those with a vested interest in seeing Water Street destroyed.

  • Jenny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Sooky Face complains: ''Especailly when you have the 'UNELECTED' likes of Peg Norman and Greg Malone calling the shots.'' (Shame on Malone and Norman for voicing their opinions.)

    You mean as opposed to the ELECTED directors of Fortis???

  • Bring on the future
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I'm all for development. You would think that St. John's would be embracing getting such a company from Mt. Pearl. The area that the building will be built is run down and horrible. Who would want to look at something so disgusting when instead they could have a business bringing new life, new jobs and new money to the area? Heritage and the future can both co-exist. I hope this building gets approved and construction starts soon. I think it sounds like a very positive project that St. John's and its people could benefit from. Or we could always just leave the pile of junk that's there now to rot even further.

  • well
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    they would never allow that building on water st , whyyyyyyyyyyyy???????
    because our city counal loves to see old closed down buildings . lets face it people water st and duckworth st are eye sores and they always will be

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Sure, what do you want to see the harbour for anyway?

  • Andrew
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I agree, Run down abandoned buildings fit much better in the downtown....

    The loud and clearly minority group in this city drives development. Guaranteed there will be people fighting this development all the way. Fortunately though, its in an area that is falling apart and has virtually no historical value. Shannie and her crew will have a tough time blocking this latest development....im sure though they are sharpening their pencils on this one.

    I think the devlopment looks awesome and will add a nice modern looking addition to the downtown area. only positives will come from this one....of course if the red tape and BS from city hall doesnt delay it indefinately.

  • sean
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Heritage!Ahh,what a word!Heritage is in the eye of the beholder.I remember when woolworths was first built.I remember going in and sitting at the long snack counter and chowing down on a chocolate sunday.And boy,they could make a chocolate sundy!The best.I also remember eating hot dogs fresh off the rotisserie that was located by the front door.Yum,yum,those were the days.And part of my heritage (better known as a red herring)I hasten to add.But those balmy days of summer when water st. was buzzing with activity,folks going from store to store, are long gone and it's time to put the dreams away and get on with the building!

    I've commented before on this very issue regarding the Fortis development, and some wisecracker ,that had never been to Houston I would bet, opened his trap and criticised me for having the temerity to comment on the downtown heritage of St.John's,because he had been to Houston and the only thing we had was The Johnson Space, which was built in the 50s .That was fine with me,but this liar made one mistake.The Johnson Space Center is not in Houston.It's in Pasadena Tx.

    So much for the smug self righteousness of some of your commenters that profess to know everything but in fact know nothing and lie to bolster their case.

    I make the above statements because I was born and raised in St.John's and know more than enough about my former home.I keep up daily with what goes on back there.And from where I sit the whole downtown area could use some improvement.A lot of improvement!Starting with raising some of the old slums on Water st. and putting something up that would benefit all the people of the city,not only those who want to watch the oil supply boats going in and out of the narrows!.

    Finally, the argument about heritage that many of the geezers like to use to be against everything, is just a red herring thrown into every argument about progress to stop progress.After all, since I have so many fond memories of Woolworths, wouldn't it be rather stupid and arrogant of me to demand that progress be stopped, because of all my great childhood memories of such an historic building being raised to make way for something new and bold for downtown?It's a dumb argument and a non-starter!

  • Jack
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Here we go again! I am 100% in favor of flattening that whole block (Templetons included) but I think the city, along with the developers, should deliberate long and hard about what they want put there. Is that a lovely parking garage I see along Water St. to replace the Woolworths building? Come on people, we dont need to see the cars, cant you hide them some way. I hope the ground floor at least is retail. Another question, why does it have to be ultra-modern, cant we just settle for modern. A little less glass please

  • Pepe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Not very good artists' renditions. Shading and quarter angles are done poorly. It would pass grade in the 1960's ...maybe.

  • Gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Saucy Face seems to be blinded to the fact that Shannie Duff is actually on the side of development - development that benefits the city and improves it's heart without destroying its character. If you read the article carefully, you will note that it was Ms. Duff who brought up the idea of dealing with the whole block and not just spots within it. She is in favour of improving that whole block. And regarding your comment about Unelected people calling the shots . I'd bet that Ms. Norman and Mr. Malone only wish they had the influence you claim they have.

  • Ardra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    produce office buildings, produce highways, produce condos, mindless people will always reproduce and fill them up creating wealth into perpetuity, it's like toilet paper. funny, and I thought oil and fish are harvested, we don't produce them, maybe some people produce oil, maybe some people even produce fish

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    By the time the old school dies off the oil will just about be gone. So I would suggest to developers to unload them on to a few local suckers so they take the hit.

  • maureen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    JP from NL like you say, 'There is nothing heritage in this whole block...'

    I guess at one point in the past some people decided to tear down the heritage buildings and replace them with buildings which now have no meaning and have turned derelict. Such is the plight of so-called 'modern' buildings, there is nothing to save and they have no value. Let's repeat our mistakes shall we ?

  • Outof
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Do any of you travel at all? Most well run major cities in this country restrict the buildings in older downtowns. I'm far from old or conservative, but build something that fits in with what's around it. Building an Ultramodern building in a downtown area that's filled largely with brick is stupid.

    The city's fault here is not giving guidelines for proposals. The buildings should:

    1. On the street level, the building should have street accessed retail with outdoor seating preferred. Downtown St. John's has no continuity because of Scotia Bank and Atlantic place. They have no street facing retail and it greatly hinders the street as a viable retail are.

    2. The buildings should be condusive to the old look and feel of the existing structures. You can build nice structures that fit in. Projects like this shouldn't be playtoys for wannabe big city architects.

    3. Be part of an overall strategy for downtown.

    I'll give you that the city of St. John's has a lack of leadership here, but you're stuck with what you build. I've been, literally, to 5 continents and every state and province in Canada. I've seen eyesores put up in my downtown districts. Just letting someone build anything so that you can have something new is a mistake.

  • Bring on the future
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    What rude remarks? All I eluded to that was people who live in the past need to open their eyes and let change happen. I commented previously on this article and you will find no rude comments at all.

  • Put Up A Parking Lot
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Ray Guy once wrote an excellent column about the trend that swept NL in the fifties and sixties when people dumped their artisan wood kitchen furniture in favour of the vinyl and chrome sets from Woolworths. In some cases, the old stuff was stored in a shed out back of the house until the day came that people realized that new is not necessarily better. There will come a day no doubt when people will look back at the old downtown and wonder at the ignorance and greed that allowed its replacement with an endless row of ugly glass towers that hugged the sidewalks, blocked out the sun, hid the harbour from public view, and alternated the downtown from gridlock during the day to barren wasteland at night. Would it be too much to ask that the City at least consult the public before proceeding with the destruction of the old downtown. Given the current slew of business brown-nosers on council and the organized campaign of profiteering developers and their carpetbagging buddies - probably not.

  • Bring on the future
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    To Maureen - So what is your suggestion? Instead of business that brings jobs and wealth to our community, you would prefer what is there now which is a big pile of nothing? You can't go back in the past. The heritage part of downtown will not be affected with these new buildings. People with your frame of mind need to crawl out of the hole you live in and see the rest of the world.

  • Develop
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    Keep them ideas coming. This town will never permit them till the old school dies off and the next generation are granted the chance to prosper.

  • Heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Well, there's a thought that hadn't occurred to anyone before. Never mind changing the regs for Water St. It's too much to get anyone's head around. Just go block by block. Now why didn't Fortis think of that?

    We have many unique things in our province, and the fact that it is NOT like everywhere else is what we can revel in and enjoy. Wanting to be like everywhere else is just another sign that we are still unappreciative of what we do have. Listen to your mother! If Billy wanted to jump off the roof, would you?

  • Progressive
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Heritage, smeritage!

    Why don't all you Rubber Boot Radicals stay at The Ship or The Duke and let progress run its course.

  • JP
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Put Up A Parking Lot from NL,

    Did you read the story?

    Building in this area means keeping the old downtown which most people would consider east of this area. There is nothing heritage in this whole block and that's why it is being looked at for development, companies will get the downtown location and the heritage buildings will be left.

  • Anne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I agree with san: The new buildings will make those older buildings stand out more.... That's exactly what Ms. Duff and her lobbyists friends are afraid off. The last thing they want is for people to realise just how much garbage is passing for heritage.

  • hertiage or bust
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I think St. Johns should embrace its heritage, and that heritage does not include water and sewer. I say we go back to the days of the honey bucket. Lets see the granola's raise a stink about that concept.

  • san
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I think the idea of ultra modern in the downtown area would be wonderful. We have very old buildings and very new modern buidings side by side, which will add to the character of the downtown area. It will make those older building stand out more. No matter how tall or modern something is, the old court house will still be there, and tourists will still look at it in aww...If the city wants business in the downtown area, they are just going to have to realize, that the younger developers are going to purpose structures just like the one pictured, and I think it looks amazing. It either that or the black hole we have there now? which do you think impressess tourists more?

    Its 2010 time to catch up.

  • prufock
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    These don't look any more ultra-modern than the Scotiabank building. I can see the rationale of keeping them under 10 stories, but the existing buildings aren't exactly historical landmarks.

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I'm a fan of development, but why make it look so cheap. For those of you that think steel and glass is modern -- its a child of the 60's and 70's when developers found a way to make building costs cheaper and cheaper. Its like putting vinyl siding on a 100 year old heritage property - it looks cheap! So, if looking cheap is the way St. John's wants to go - go for it! if these builder's wanted approval, try adding to the heritage look and feel with building materials that don't look like they came from the dollar store.

  • Esron
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I think I should run for city council or mayor of St. John's... I'd run under the banner You've done worse! , and I'd make sure the city would change. Ideas such as, reorganizing the downtown, cutting all funding for Mile One [It's private now, if they can't make it run properly, that's not our fault], cut salaries [For mayor and council], and tearing down slums like Froude Ave, and replacing it with commerce or dense residential [I really don't care if you are poor, it doesn't cost anything to clean up your lawn from dirty diapers and other crap, and taking down your wooden xmas stocking from the ground level side of your house - If you can't afford that simple responsibility, you don't deserve a house.... And seriously, control your ?l??d? kids!]

    People may find it harsh and abrasive, but if some one doesn't deal with the hard issues, who will?

  • Jon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    It's funny to me that we are regularly presented with the false-choice of ultramodern or black hole . There are options between these two extremes, you know. How about a brick & mortar-facing? What's wrong with trying to create attractive architecture, rather than going with the absolute cheapest solution?

    Mirrored buildings look garish on day 1, and look increasingly bad as time goes by. Brick & mortar tends to look better as time goes by, assuming the architect isn't an idiot.

    If a corporation doesn't have the cash to create a proper building, then perhaps they should look into leasing space somewhere else.

  • Adra
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    It's good to see something going there, though I really wish someone would propose a beautiful building for a change. Modern is fine with me if heritage buildings aren't being destroyed to create them. BUT can we please have some buildings we can be proud of? Surely new development in St. John's doesn't have to have to be so mediocre. It's not reflective of the artistic strengths of the rest of our culture. This is a time when we should be building works that represent how great this place is.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    WOW look at that heritage style. To think the heritage police from the hall bugged the heck out of home owners in the down town the past 20 years for not having this or that right with their choice of siding or windows and we get this as meeting heritage standards??

  • maureen
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    No, go ahead by all means, it's too late now. I don't need to have a suggestion, this is called a commentary, you know, you comment on stuff. But when and if heritage buildings are displaced, you start a never-ending cycle of slums with the rise and fall of the economy. Heritage is always heritage and becomes more and more valuable as time passes, like many timeless treasures, keep that in mind eh ? There can be an artistic blend of heritage-modern in this area if the creative will appears. I've seen beautiful examples of it in other cities I've lived. St. John's is not the rest of the world nor should it follow any other place, that would be a mindless disaster which other cities are now waking up to. Thanks for the rude remarks. What other names do you go by under here ? Or are you afraid to say now. Come on, have some courage, tell us, we know this isn't your first trip to the toilet.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    How anyone would allow that unbelievably ugly external parking garage to be built facing water street is beyond comprehension. The fact that the proposal calls for ten million dollars from us. People talk about heritage, and the four story regulation. In my opinion this is a thousand times more out of place than the Fortis proposal. I can't believe people are not up in arms over this.

  • Ardra
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Put them up.

  • Sandra
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Newsflash:

    Neither Shannie Duff nor any of the other punching bags you mentioned (Malone, Norma), have indicated that they oppose these developments. In fact, if you read the story Ms. Duff was the one who proposed that that whole block be taken out of the heritage area so that developments like this are possible. It seems that none of the commentators here actually know the difference between Fortis' plan, which involved demolishing fully occupied vibrant heritage buildings, and these proposals, which are for a vacant lot, and the old woolworth's building, which has no heritage value.

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    Build them fast, our economy needs to be diversified fast while we have the interest.

    The area discussed in the article is disgusting and needs to be totally redeveloped. I think the council should start looking an minimum height standards in this area and westward so that there will be enough office space in these areas.

  • crackie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    I'm sick & tired of people describing Downtown as rundown & dirty (George St. maybe), it's no longer a valid point. They can't be driving in the same area as we did on Sunday- all along Water St. 99% of the buildings have a fresh facade and are well maintained. Anyone who says it's old & tired hasn't been near the place in years.

  • P
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    FYI - City Hall's definition of ultra-modern means an occupied, fully utilized building that is visually pleasing to the eye and equipped with several amenities that serve the general public and business. Hence, this ultra-modern conception does not fit in with the current decor of downtown, nor where we dare venture to go. That would be CRAZY talk.

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Jenny H. from St. John's, NL writes: Sooky Face? Sooky Face is my youngest bother you little tart and he never commented anything on this topic; so leave him alone and stop coming by our place Friday nights with your sinful ways ! LOLOL

  • Saucy Face
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    When it comes to St. John's, you need to expand the the old saying You can't fight city hall by including You can't get along with City Hall as well Especailly when you have the 'UNELECTED' likes of Peg Norman and Greg Malone calling the shots for Shannie Duff on the sideline.

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    James if know of a Taxpayer ll who uses other pseudonyms I would suggest that you put them in brackets otherwise I am afraid I have to doubt your sanity.
    Before I go out to do a little yard work I would like to enlighten some of the financial jokers. Economics tells you that money is created by producing something. Thus taking oil or fish from the ocean creates money. Building and renting a building only uses money that has already been created. Thus once the oil is gone and the fishery is no longer a significant industry what is going to create money in Newfoundland. What is left is EI from Ottawa, a smaller fishery and lawyers suing their neighbours for who knows what. Fancy office towers, highways to Pouch Cove and Holyrood and condos are not going to create money. So someone had better get on the job before this happens or Newfoundland will have no population, but lots of fancy offices, highways and condos.

  • Voice
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    I can't believe people are still debating this.

    City council needs to grow some conjones and get on with it.

    This must be the most backward city in North America.

  • Gordon
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    It looks nice, in an Anytown, USA sort of way. However, fresh , which is what one person claimed it to be, hardly fits. The illustration looks nondesecript. Here's an idea. Why not give the old buildings a good scrub. If you want more, give them a facelift. Some cement and paint will take care of that. I saw that in Prague. In the early 1990s, when I first went there, the buildings had long been neglected by 40 years of communism. Throughout the 1990s, the buildings are given a facelift. The last time I went there was in 2008. I was impressed by the transformation. The buildings looked and even felt new. The fact that many buildings were restored this way made the city much happier looking than before. It also had character. Now, that's what I call fresh . We may not be able to complete with Prague, considering that our buildings are not nearly as old as most of theirs. However, as time passes, and with careful management and foresight, St. John's can have a beautiful looking city. It will be ours to make, and for our children to inherit. Letting old buildings rot will do little towards creating beautiful city, nor will ripping down the what we already have.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Compusult should reconsider, and stay in Mount Pearl. Downtown St. John's clearly isn't opened to business opportunities that involve a fresh look, or fresh thinking.

  • Seumas
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I agree. Ultra modern doesn't fit the derelict, run down, abandoned look of downtown.

  • Johannah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    This plan looks like something that the remainder of the downtown isn't: FRESH.
    Bravo. I hope the old fogies step aside and let this come to fruition.

  • mainalnder
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    I think the glass and steel will look fantastic in the nfld tourism commercials. better than the hideous jellybean row houses. who would want to come to St. John's to see painted like jellybeans? Glass and steel are huge tourist attractions. That end of Water Street needs to be developed and there has to be a way to do it so the buildings won't be as ugly as the other newer buildings down there.

  • InNL
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Looks like this one might actually go through. I guess the hippies don't live this far up water street. Don't want their view of their precious narrows being blocked by any means.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Someone has a severe multiple personality disorder, Taxpayer II. All of your postings this morning assume that Shannie Duff is against this proposal. If you actually read the article, you would see that there is no indication that she is opposed to this plan. Now get back to work, you lazy toerag.

  • Pete
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    san,

    I agree with you 100%.

    I've always felt that the heritage buildings don't stand out as much as they could because everything downtown is the same but by adding some different architecture in the area will make evrything stand out more.

  • Put Up A Parking Lot
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Excellent post Maureen. Ever notice how that those in favour of destroying anything of heritage value tend to use the most offensive language in their posts. It's a bully tactic they employ when there's no other way of discrediting others. Those in favour of keeping some semblance of the downtown intact for future generations tend to be much more articulate and intelligent. You asked how many aliases these people use. My guess is that what we've been treated to for the past couple of months is an organized, aggressive letter writing campaign by those with a vested interest in seeing Water Street destroyed.

  • Jenny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Sooky Face complains: ''Especailly when you have the 'UNELECTED' likes of Peg Norman and Greg Malone calling the shots.'' (Shame on Malone and Norman for voicing their opinions.)

    You mean as opposed to the ELECTED directors of Fortis???

  • Bring on the future
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I'm all for development. You would think that St. John's would be embracing getting such a company from Mt. Pearl. The area that the building will be built is run down and horrible. Who would want to look at something so disgusting when instead they could have a business bringing new life, new jobs and new money to the area? Heritage and the future can both co-exist. I hope this building gets approved and construction starts soon. I think it sounds like a very positive project that St. John's and its people could benefit from. Or we could always just leave the pile of junk that's there now to rot even further.

  • well
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    they would never allow that building on water st , whyyyyyyyyyyyy???????
    because our city counal loves to see old closed down buildings . lets face it people water st and duckworth st are eye sores and they always will be

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Sure, what do you want to see the harbour for anyway?

  • Andrew
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    I agree, Run down abandoned buildings fit much better in the downtown....

    The loud and clearly minority group in this city drives development. Guaranteed there will be people fighting this development all the way. Fortunately though, its in an area that is falling apart and has virtually no historical value. Shannie and her crew will have a tough time blocking this latest development....im sure though they are sharpening their pencils on this one.

    I think the devlopment looks awesome and will add a nice modern looking addition to the downtown area. only positives will come from this one....of course if the red tape and BS from city hall doesnt delay it indefinately.

  • sean
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Heritage!Ahh,what a word!Heritage is in the eye of the beholder.I remember when woolworths was first built.I remember going in and sitting at the long snack counter and chowing down on a chocolate sunday.And boy,they could make a chocolate sundy!The best.I also remember eating hot dogs fresh off the rotisserie that was located by the front door.Yum,yum,those were the days.And part of my heritage (better known as a red herring)I hasten to add.But those balmy days of summer when water st. was buzzing with activity,folks going from store to store, are long gone and it's time to put the dreams away and get on with the building!

    I've commented before on this very issue regarding the Fortis development, and some wisecracker ,that had never been to Houston I would bet, opened his trap and criticised me for having the temerity to comment on the downtown heritage of St.John's,because he had been to Houston and the only thing we had was The Johnson Space, which was built in the 50s .That was fine with me,but this liar made one mistake.The Johnson Space Center is not in Houston.It's in Pasadena Tx.

    So much for the smug self righteousness of some of your commenters that profess to know everything but in fact know nothing and lie to bolster their case.

    I make the above statements because I was born and raised in St.John's and know more than enough about my former home.I keep up daily with what goes on back there.And from where I sit the whole downtown area could use some improvement.A lot of improvement!Starting with raising some of the old slums on Water st. and putting something up that would benefit all the people of the city,not only those who want to watch the oil supply boats going in and out of the narrows!.

    Finally, the argument about heritage that many of the geezers like to use to be against everything, is just a red herring thrown into every argument about progress to stop progress.After all, since I have so many fond memories of Woolworths, wouldn't it be rather stupid and arrogant of me to demand that progress be stopped, because of all my great childhood memories of such an historic building being raised to make way for something new and bold for downtown?It's a dumb argument and a non-starter!

  • Jack
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Here we go again! I am 100% in favor of flattening that whole block (Templetons included) but I think the city, along with the developers, should deliberate long and hard about what they want put there. Is that a lovely parking garage I see along Water St. to replace the Woolworths building? Come on people, we dont need to see the cars, cant you hide them some way. I hope the ground floor at least is retail. Another question, why does it have to be ultra-modern, cant we just settle for modern. A little less glass please

  • Pepe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Not very good artists' renditions. Shading and quarter angles are done poorly. It would pass grade in the 1960's ...maybe.

  • Gary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Saucy Face seems to be blinded to the fact that Shannie Duff is actually on the side of development - development that benefits the city and improves it's heart without destroying its character. If you read the article carefully, you will note that it was Ms. Duff who brought up the idea of dealing with the whole block and not just spots within it. She is in favour of improving that whole block. And regarding your comment about Unelected people calling the shots . I'd bet that Ms. Norman and Mr. Malone only wish they had the influence you claim they have.

  • Ardra
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    produce office buildings, produce highways, produce condos, mindless people will always reproduce and fill them up creating wealth into perpetuity, it's like toilet paper. funny, and I thought oil and fish are harvested, we don't produce them, maybe some people produce oil, maybe some people even produce fish

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    By the time the old school dies off the oil will just about be gone. So I would suggest to developers to unload them on to a few local suckers so they take the hit.

  • maureen
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    JP from NL like you say, 'There is nothing heritage in this whole block...'

    I guess at one point in the past some people decided to tear down the heritage buildings and replace them with buildings which now have no meaning and have turned derelict. Such is the plight of so-called 'modern' buildings, there is nothing to save and they have no value. Let's repeat our mistakes shall we ?

  • Outof
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Do any of you travel at all? Most well run major cities in this country restrict the buildings in older downtowns. I'm far from old or conservative, but build something that fits in with what's around it. Building an Ultramodern building in a downtown area that's filled largely with brick is stupid.

    The city's fault here is not giving guidelines for proposals. The buildings should:

    1. On the street level, the building should have street accessed retail with outdoor seating preferred. Downtown St. John's has no continuity because of Scotia Bank and Atlantic place. They have no street facing retail and it greatly hinders the street as a viable retail are.

    2. The buildings should be condusive to the old look and feel of the existing structures. You can build nice structures that fit in. Projects like this shouldn't be playtoys for wannabe big city architects.

    3. Be part of an overall strategy for downtown.

    I'll give you that the city of St. John's has a lack of leadership here, but you're stuck with what you build. I've been, literally, to 5 continents and every state and province in Canada. I've seen eyesores put up in my downtown districts. Just letting someone build anything so that you can have something new is a mistake.

  • Bring on the future
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    What rude remarks? All I eluded to that was people who live in the past need to open their eyes and let change happen. I commented previously on this article and you will find no rude comments at all.

  • Put Up A Parking Lot
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Ray Guy once wrote an excellent column about the trend that swept NL in the fifties and sixties when people dumped their artisan wood kitchen furniture in favour of the vinyl and chrome sets from Woolworths. In some cases, the old stuff was stored in a shed out back of the house until the day came that people realized that new is not necessarily better. There will come a day no doubt when people will look back at the old downtown and wonder at the ignorance and greed that allowed its replacement with an endless row of ugly glass towers that hugged the sidewalks, blocked out the sun, hid the harbour from public view, and alternated the downtown from gridlock during the day to barren wasteland at night. Would it be too much to ask that the City at least consult the public before proceeding with the destruction of the old downtown. Given the current slew of business brown-nosers on council and the organized campaign of profiteering developers and their carpetbagging buddies - probably not.

  • Bring on the future
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    To Maureen - So what is your suggestion? Instead of business that brings jobs and wealth to our community, you would prefer what is there now which is a big pile of nothing? You can't go back in the past. The heritage part of downtown will not be affected with these new buildings. People with your frame of mind need to crawl out of the hole you live in and see the rest of the world.

  • Develop
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    Keep them ideas coming. This town will never permit them till the old school dies off and the next generation are granted the chance to prosper.

  • Heather
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Well, there's a thought that hadn't occurred to anyone before. Never mind changing the regs for Water St. It's too much to get anyone's head around. Just go block by block. Now why didn't Fortis think of that?

    We have many unique things in our province, and the fact that it is NOT like everywhere else is what we can revel in and enjoy. Wanting to be like everywhere else is just another sign that we are still unappreciative of what we do have. Listen to your mother! If Billy wanted to jump off the roof, would you?

  • Progressive
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Heritage, smeritage!

    Why don't all you Rubber Boot Radicals stay at The Ship or The Duke and let progress run its course.