New condo proposed

Project would demolish Star of the Sea hall

Published on July 5, 2010
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.

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.

amorrissey@thetelegram.com