St. John’s city council has adopted in principle resolutions that will rezone 9 Buchanan St., 426 and 420 Water St. and nearby city-owned land from the commercial central mixed use zone to the commercial central office and open space zones to allow for a hotel and concert hall.
The rezoning is required to accommodate the proposed building heights.
Current zoning allows for a maximum height of 15 metres, but the proposed hotel expansion is nine storeys (about 36 metres), and the proposed concert hall is six storeys (about 21 metres).
The amendments will be sent to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, after which they will be referred back to another regular council meeting for consideration of adoption, and the appointment of a commissioner to conduct a public hearing.
While the current JAG Hotel turns its back on Water Street, Mayor Danny Breen said that was something council wanted to address in the design of the new proposed buildings.
Changes have been made to the designs with the addition of a public entryway on Water Street, as well as the creation of a parkette on the city-owned land.
City council has generally expressed excitement about the proposed development.
Breen said it will help revitalize the west end of downtown, and Coun. Sandy Hickman called it a “great concept.”
Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary said it has the potential to be a “phenomenal development” and she looks forward to continued discussions about how to ensure the area is inviting for pedestrians.