Developer sees movement on projects

Source: The Chronicle Herald

The proponent behind two Gottingen Street developments is hoping work will begin in a year now that his proposal is moving through the municipal approvals process.

Ross Cantwell, president of the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia, has proposed to build an eight-storey building at 2183 Gottingen, site of the former Met building, and a nine-storey building at the former Diamonds Bar location at 2215 Gottingen.

The non-profit group purchased the sites in April 2010 for $3 million, money it received from the province under the Canada-Nova Scotia Co-operation Agreement on Economic Diversification because of its plan to offer half of the units as affordable housing.

The trust submitted an application in December 2011, months after demolishing the original buildings, but confirmed this week that Halifax Regional Municipality had scheduled a public information meeting on Oct. 10, the first step in the approvals process.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said, adding that the project was well supported by Mayor Mike Savage and Coun. Jennifer Watts, who urged him to organize an open house to inform residents on the development.

“It kind of didn’t go anywhere, even though we had all the engineering plans, and architectural plans, sewer servicing schematics, traffic impact studies — we had our application fee. Everything went in and it just sat there.”

The proposal requires an amendment to the land-use bylaw, an adjustment to the height precinct, and a development agreement.

The former Met site will feature 115 units, with the Gottingen side rising to six storeys and then to eight storeys on the Maitland Street end because of a six-metre grade difference.

The other site will rise to nine storeys on Gottingen and then 11 storeys in the back, housing 124 units.

After community consultations, several larger three-bedroom units were added to the design.

“It kind of makes our economic model a little bit harder, but it’s what the community wants,” Cantwell said.

Half the units will be rented at market rates, with the remaining being affordable housing, some of them having rent geared to income, meaning tenants pay 30 per cent of their income to rent, with the rest subsidized.

Cantwell estimates that the project could get started within a year, “depending on (the pace) HRM wants to move it through and whether we run into any sort of significant opposition from the community.”

He added that there are “still financing issues we’re working through with the province and others.”

The public information meeting will be on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Halifax North Memorial Public Library at 2285 Gottingen St.

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