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  #3081  
Old Posted May 17, 2024, 5:45 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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The pillars are a feature of the Gothic arch design, and I would say part of the charm of this architecture.

I’ve attended symphonies many times and I have to say the draw is the sound vs any visual spectacle that one might expect in a rock concert or pop tart dance show. Excellent acoustics in such an amazing environment would make one not even notice that they can’t see the kettle drum because a pillar that was hand carved many decades ago is blocking their view.

As far as amenities go, I’m not very familiar with the building, but churches generally have spaces where functions can be held, so with a little imagination, I’m sure a solution could be found.

Not that any of this has a chance of happening. I fully expect to be reading of its demolition within the next year or two.
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  #3082  
Old Posted May 17, 2024, 8:12 PM
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The columns look corinthian and likely oak.

Amazing that the pews are still there. If the city owned it they could charge a restoration entrance fee and have a donation portal assigned. Maybe make it a wedding venue with a nominal fee of $5000?
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  #3083  
Old Posted May 17, 2024, 8:13 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Not that any of this has a chance of happening. I fully expect to be reading of its demolition within the next year or two.
I think it's dual heritage status (municipal and provincial) precludes that. More likely we're in for years of hemming and hawing about its future.
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  #3084  
Old Posted May 17, 2024, 8:22 PM
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In some parts of the world a major up-front public investment like that, with a long-term plan to recoup costs, would be a no-brainer. Here we’re more likely to see it sit empty for years, Bloomfield-style.
I feel like these dilemmas made more sense in the 90's when the city wasn't growing much and didn't have as much money but these days this area is booming and must be generating enormous revenues for the municipality and province. It makes sense to invest to keep a few historic gems with public value in good shape. It seems like a disconnect now where the municipality and province operate as though they are smaller and poorer than they are and the level of literacy about local history and architecture is low.

The city would get a lot of bang for its buck trying to encourage restoration or enhancement of traditional character in some historic areas and filling in some small holes. I'm talking about areas like Barrington and Morris and that Snappy Tomato building. The city could add a dozen or two simple traditional looking lowrise apartment buildings in key spots and look dramatically nicer and more historic. These would all be quick to build, add housing, and generate net revenue.

Even if you look at the main stretch of Barrington the buildings aren't in great shape overall, and that's supposed to be a showcase heritage district in a city of over half a million that only has a few protected commercial blocks like that. There are some good projects like the Green Lantern but the city doesn't enforce high minimum standards even in key areas.
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  #3085  
Old Posted May 18, 2024, 1:35 PM
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I feel like these dilemmas made more sense in the 90's when the city wasn't growing much and didn't have as much money but these days this area is booming and must be generating enormous revenues for the municipality and province. It makes sense to invest to keep a few historic gems with public value in good shape. It seems like a disconnect now where the municipality and province operate as though they are smaller and poorer than they are and the level of literacy about local history and architecture is low.

The city would get a lot of bang for its buck trying to encourage restoration or enhancement of traditional character in some historic areas and filling in some small holes. I'm talking about areas like Barrington and Morris and that Snappy Tomato building. The city could add a dozen or two simple traditional looking lowrise apartment buildings in key spots and look dramatically nicer and more historic. These would all be quick to build, add housing, and generate net revenue.

Even if you look at the main stretch of Barrington the buildings aren't in great shape overall, and that's supposed to be a showcase heritage district in a city of over half a million that only has a few protected commercial blocks like that. There are some good projects like the Green Lantern but the city doesn't enforce high minimum standards even in key areas.
It's an interesting question but there are two very contentious sides to it. HRM is rolling in cash right now because of the boom in property assessments and their continual increase in property tax revenue, plus largesse offered by your Federal govt. However they are spending that more quickly than it comes in with wasteful things like a bloated high-cost bureaucracy, various feel-good initiatives, numerous social engineering projects, overly intrusive land use planning enactments, and endless bylaws and other low-value initiatives. Meanwhile the core functions of streets, roads, sidewalks, parks and services seem to be largely ignored.

Given that latter point I'm not sure that having HRM take on ownership responsibility for historic buildings would ever be a good idea. Things like the restoration of the cottage at the Public Gardens cost mega-millions and now that it is done they use it for a municipal office for a program that most people are unaware of. We can see the debacle over many years that the Khyber has become, and even though that is not a municipal building, they have been heavily involved and it likely will become HRM's problem at some point. I'm not sure I would want them involved to any great extent in responsibility for things like Barrington St restoration/preservation, as they tend to only offer token support to property owners that is wrapped up in heavy bureaucratic netting.

As for St. Patrick's, it is hugely challenging given the structural problems resulting from deferred maintenance and it's location. It has the projects on one side, the sewage treatment plant down the hill, and the still-on-life-support stretch of Gottingen up the hill, along with some newer residential on the south side. The lack of amenities are not a space in the basement where you could have washrooms and a spot where you could serve coffee, sandwiches and squares to attendees, but anything that would make people want to go there for an event like you would normally find. It is just not a great location. Being surrounded by residential it seems likely that such things as bars and restos would never be allowed.

It is a tough issue. I think the best one could hope for would be to remove and preserve the existing architectural pieces from the interior and repurpose/reuse them elsewhere in a sympathetic way.
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  #3086  
Old Posted May 18, 2024, 5:54 PM
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Given that latter point I'm not sure that having HRM take on ownership responsibility for historic buildings would ever be a good idea. Things like the restoration of the cottage at the Public Gardens cost mega-millions and now that it is done they use it for a municipal office for a program that most people are unaware of.
I think there are different tiers of historic buildings. There are major landmarks, like Province House, that are worth spending big bucks on to keep in top shape inside and out. For the smaller stuff, like storefront facades along Barrington, my suggestion would be tax breaks, transferrable density bonuses (combined with dumping silly limits like ramparts), and funding paired with higher standards than currently exist. I also think there should be a facade or architecture improvement program that would set requirements for character in exchange for the same benefits. The municipality has done some of this with heritage preservation but it's a fraction of what it should be, and they never seemed to reliably identify heritage areas and follow through with new construction really enhancing the older character.

If HRM tied some heritage improvements and reconstruction downtown (pick 1 or 2 old Cogswell buildings to rebuild) with density bonuses up to 40 floors for Cogswell I think downtown would just be better overall, including from the taller buildings on Cogswell making that area more interesting, and the net cost would be 0.

My impression is that city hall and other levels of government tend to take a more active role almost everywhere where you see high quality historic architecture that is preserved well, and a lot of those areas were deliberately improved over time.
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  #3087  
Old Posted May 18, 2024, 6:15 PM
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It is disappointing that HRM hasn't provided a vision for Cogswell. They are allowing consultants to present a basic overview that looks like a version of the Spring Garden makeover. Cogswell adjoins Historic Properties and used to contain buildings similar to Historic Properties. What an opportunity to expand Historic Properties but so far there has been no mention of a historic component at all.

At minimum, some of the buildings that will connect to Historic Properties should have a feel similar to the Dennis building. The street level would have a historic feel but the building could be a tower. Looks like some grassy areas will have priority as it is an easy install.

Dennis Building
https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.64840...8192?entry=ttu
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  #3088  
Old Posted May 18, 2024, 6:36 PM
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It is disappointing that HRM hasn't provided a vision for Cogswell. They are allowing consultants to present a basic overview that looks like a version of the Spring Garden makeover. Cogswell adjoins Historic Properties and used to contain buildings similar to Historic Properties. What an opportunity to expand Historic Properties but so far there has been no mention of a historic component at all.
I don't mind the model of historic lower floors and a tower above, but I think it would be more attractive to have a variety of building heights and more historic buildings with intact roof lines. Permitting more height would allow for this without reducing the total amount of buildable floor space. We see from the 40 storey towers in Dartmouth that that kind of height is economical.

I bet adding just 2-3 good quality reconstructed buildings would add significantly to the sense of place. I am imagining buildings like the "pentagon" or the Morse's Teas type ironstone warehouse building torn down along Upper Water St. It would also be nice to have some reconstructed houses to give an impression of what the neighbourhood was like before, maybe up around Proctor Street.
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  #3089  
Old Posted May 18, 2024, 9:11 PM
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Maybe HRM can really think outside the box on this one. Step up to the plate and have six buildings designed at their cost as a shell. The buildings would be of historical significance and accuracy including the flatiron building and connect to the current Historic Properties district.

Then, developers could buy the relevant lot and build within the architectural envelope that was provided to them by the city for free.
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  #3090  
Old Posted May 20, 2024, 3:33 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I think it's dual heritage status (municipal and provincial) precludes that. More likely we're in for years of hemming and hawing about its future.
You’re probably right, though that very act will seal its fate.
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