Heritage Business Opportunity:
On June 16, 2016, the Province issued a Request for Information, seeking interest in the Dennis Building, the abutting parking lot, and the Acadian Recorder Building at 1724 Granville Street, next to the parking lot. The buildings offer an excellent opportunity for refurbishment.
The Dennis Building has 32,361 square feet of floor space in seven storeys and a basement. The interior structure is steel-reinforced concrete, one of the first in Nova Scotia. The ceiling height is 10 feet 8 inches additional feet of headroom on the ground floor. An extensive interior abatement project has removed interior partitions, floor and ceiling coverings, mechanical and electrical systems. A decorative iron staircase links all the floors. There are 83 windows with excellent views to the east of Province House, the Art Gallery and the trees of Province House Square; 44 windows on the north and 17 windows on the upper storeys of the west face have views of the Grand Parade; 11 windows have views to the south.
A report by CBCL Limited[i] in 2006 found that the Dennis Building could be renovated for less than the cost of demolition and construction of a new building the same size, and substantially less than the cost of retaining only the facades and constructing a new building behind. A structural engineering report[ii] noted that remedial work is needed to replace missing mortar and cracked stones, remove detached stucco at the south, and prevent water infiltration in the foundation. The entire building should be retained.
The lot at 1730 Granville Street has 13,252 square feet of space extending through to Barrington Street currently has 39 parking spaces at grade. The Province wants to provide 51 indoor parking spaces on the site for the Members of the Legislature. This could be accomplished with 1.5 storeys of parking on the property. The design and construction should carefully respect the historical character and scale of Province House.
The Province says “Submissions to this RFI will only be entertained that treat the Site as one consolidated lot of land development.” If you are only interested in one property, please seek partners, and ask the Province to accept proposals for one property by July 19 .
The Province would rent between 25 and 50% of any office space provided. The vacancy rate for Class B space in downtown Halifax was 9.7% in December, and the average net absolute rental rate in HRM was $13.27.
Several apartment buildings are being constructed downtown. The vacancy rate in the southern part of the peninsula of Halifax is 3.1% and average rents are $794 for a bachelor apartment, $1,024 for one bedroom, and $1,445 for two bedrooms.
Hotels in downtown Halifax have sold recently for about $150,000 per room. The assessed value of the three properties is $5,257,200.
The RFI is here: http://novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/tender-details.aspx?id=60149446. Four technical reports can be obtained from Genevieve.firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for questions is July 19. The deadline for submissions is July 28, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.
[i] CBCL Limited, with Greenberg Consultants Inc., Young + Wright Architects Ltd. & GHK International, Grand Parade Province House Area Joint Public Lands Plan, Halifax, 2006.
[ii] Steve Rajendram, Building Condition Assessment, Halifax, 2013.
The Dennis Building should be kept.
The Dennis Building can be repaired.