Wednesday 29 June 2011

UPDATED: The new Longboat development on Portage

There is not much I can say about the project that One Man Committee hasn't already said, but it should be noted that this isn't quite a done deal just yet. I'm sure it will be, but certain details need to be worked out over the coming weeks. Those details could include the delisting of the former A&B Sound building from the heritage building list. The Mitchell Copp building is also a class II heritage building, and I'm not clear on what is required in order to demo that but maintain the facade. Whatever it is I don't anticipate it being a problem. I am sure that if Chipman wants a building delisted our politicians will trample over each other running to the office of whoever is in charge of delisting.

click to enlarge:

The Free Press has a little bit of advance info on the Longboat develpment, to be announced tomorrow. Most of what I have heard agrees with the Free Press article: there were be a base of about 4-5 stories for retail and office space, and the hotel will be built on top of that. Most of the buildings on the block will be demolished inclding A&B Sound, but the facade of the Mitchell Copp building will be retained.

The design is a Stantec design. Stantec has been involved in many projects, but some urbanists may remember them most for the maligned WRHA building on Main St. The Longboat development should receive a much better response. There will be street-level retail, and the upper floors will be office/commercial, and the hotel will be a mid-rise tower on top of that. Office tenants could include Stantec itself, which is rumoured to be moving it's head office to downtown from its current location on Waverley.

It's a pretty exciting development. The relocation of the Stantec head office -- if it does happen -- is particularly positive in light of the recent story of Western Financial Group abandoning the core because of safety concerns.

Some people may be alarmed about more buildings being torn down, but this is the type of development that downtown needs -- more retail off the side walk, more people working and staying downtown -- and it would not happen if we insisted on holding on to the current buildings. The Mitchell Copp building is completely useless and uninhabitable, and the A&B Sound building is an awkward space that would be difficult to repurpose and integrate into a new development, although I happen to think it would make a great space for a casino.

We at the Peanut are looking forward to the announcement.


Bryan Scott said...

Any ide what would happen to the Alabama Building, fronting Ellice?

cherenkov said...

No idea. I don't have any info other than what I posted.

If I were to speculate wildly, my guess would be that it's turning into a parkade, but I have heard nothing to suggest that.

Bryan Scott said...

Probably not a bad guess.

One of the building's tenants, Kokeb, is my favorite Ethiopian restaurant in the city (far better the Massawa). Hope this doesn't mean they're finished.

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