RELIANCE PROPERTIES has been trying to redevelop this prime 15,000-square-foot lot at 1314 & 1318 Wharf Street overlooking the Inner Harbour by the Johnson Street Bridge for over 10 years now. On it are two heritage buildings, warehouses dating back to 1860, which must be preserved.
The latest versions of the proposal call for a mixed commercial and residential building with 5 storeys, with the two heritage structures functioning as the ground floor.
There will be 47 rental units, with a green roof, and rooftop patios. The developer offered to sign a Housing Agreement to secure all 47 units as rental in perpetuity. Units range in size from approximately 410 to 1100 square feet.
Heritage advocates such as Pam Madoff and Steve Barber have objected to many of the iterations of Reliance’s proposal because of what they see as a lack of respectful treatment of the two heritage buildings. As one commenter stated at a public meeting: “The existing buildings, among the oldest in the city, are to be swallowed up by new 5-storey structures, leaving little of the waterfront flavour of the 1860s to remind us of their significance.”
The Downtown Residents Association wrote to City council noting that the development does not meet Old Town Design Guidelines which clearly state “Make new rooftop additions subordinate to the historic building” and that “Rooftop additions should be smaller in scale than the building they are connected to.”
On September 17, 2020, after some tweaking by Reliance to its June 2020 submission (which was declined) to make the heritage structures more prominent (though still having five new storeys above them), council instructed staff to prepare the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Amendment that would authorize the proposed development. A Public Hearing will be scheduled, once various conditions regarding frontage works, building access and bike parking are met.