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St. John's council approves six-storey Churchill Square building

Ward councillor Ian Froude said stakeholders worked together to mitigate concerns people had about the building.
Ward councillor Ian Froude said stakeholders worked together to mitigate concerns people had about the building. - Juanita Mercer

Project represents new life for former grocery store

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

St. John’s city council unanimously approved a six-storey mixed-use building on the site of the old Dominion grocery store in Churchill Square.

The decision was made at the regular Monday council meeting. All councillors present for the meeting voted in favour; Coun. Debbie Hanlon was absent.

The proponents are KMK Properties Inc., an agent for Loblaw Properties Ltd.

The property is zoned commercial mixed use and required a text amendment to accommodate the proposed building height and floor area ratio, which is what council voted on.

The architectural renderings have the structure at 21.5 metres, but the current zoning allows for 15 metres. The floor area ratio would increase from the permitted 1.5 to 4.7, and residential density would increase from the permitted one dwelling unit per 50 metres square to one dwelling unit per 29 metres square.

The text amendement changes apply to buildings within the Churchill Square retail area.

KMK Properties Inc. plans to have commercial space in the ground floor of the building, and one and two-bedroom apartments in the top five floors. - Screenshot
KMK Properties Inc. plans to have commercial space in the ground floor of the building, and one and two-bedroom apartments in the top five floors. - Screenshot

Parking requirements will also be amended to allow residential parking in the designated retail parking area.

About 100 people attended a public meeting about the building on July 3.

Some people raised concerns about the impact a loss of parking spaces would have on parking availability for businesses and the potential for parking to overflow on neighbouring streets, as well as issues with snow storage during wintertime.

Ward councillor Ian Froude said stakeholders worked together to mitigate concerns.

It was decided that 32 dedicated parking stalls would be leased to the proponent, as well as 36 additional parking permits for parking in specific areas that are not considered prime perimeter stalls.

That’s a decrease from the 80 parking spaces the developer originally requested.

From Dec. 1 to April 30, permit holders would be limited to a defined winter parking area between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. to allow for snow clearing.

There were also changes made to ensure smooth traffic flow on Rowan Place, which included two-way traffic flow with a row of perpendicular parking on one side.

Froude said there are varied opinions on the project, but he feels the building is positive for the square and the neighbourhood.

“It brings additional customers into the square, while mitigating most of the concerns that have come from residents.”

With council’s approval, the application will now go to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment with a request for provincial registration.

Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary was formerly ward councillor for the area, and she said it’s been a long process to reach this point.

She said the building will be “extremely beneficial” to residents, and an increase in livyers in Churchill Square will benefit the nearby businesses.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_


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