Case 24359 - 2537 & 2539 Agricola Street, Halifax

Updated:

Request

Application by Eco Green Homes requesting to enter into a heritage development agreement on lands at 2537 & 2539 Agricola Street, Halifax, to allow an 8-storey mixed-use building on a registered heritage property.

Proposal

Background
2539 Agricola Street, Halifax, became a registered heritage property under the Municipal Registry of Heritage Property in 2020, due to the presence of the “Open Mic House”, which was constructed between 1900-1905 and is recognized for its architecture as well as its cultural associations. The Open Mic House is a strong example of the Halifax Box architectural style, which was once a popular style to intended to address the need for workers and middle-class housing at the turn of the 20th century. Several such houses existing on Agricola Street through the 20th century, but many have since been demolished, leaving the Open Mic House as the strongest remaining example of the style. 

The character-defining elements of the registered heritage property include: 

  • Two-storey, wooden-frame box structure;
  • Wooden shingle siding;
  • Flat roof;
  • Two-storey bay window;
  • Uniform, decorative cornice and bracketing integrated into the roofline and bay window; and
  • Wooden single-hung windows.

The Open Mic House has retained much of its architectural integrity, however, the building requires some rehabilitation to address structural and conditional issues.

Eco Green Homes is applying on behalf of the property owner to enter into a development agreement under the Regional Centre Municipal Planning Strategy Policy CHR-7. This policy permits Council to consider a development agreement on any lot containing a registered heritage building that exceeds the requirements of the underlying zone in order to encourage the preservation and adaptive re-use of registered heritage buildings. If approved, the development agreement would allow the property owner to remove a portion of the rear of the registered heritage building at 2537 Agricola Street (known as the Open Mic House) to accommodate an eight-storey mixed-use building on 2539 Agricola Street and the neighbouring property, 2537 Agricola Street. As part of the development agreement, the property owner will be required to undertake rehabilitation of the registered heritage building. The proposal includes approximately 28 residential units and 3200 square feet of commercial area on the first and second storeys. The application includes one level of underground parking with 11 parking spaces, which would also accommodate bicycle parking, mechanical needs, and a garbage room. 

The applicant’s proposal also requires a second application which staff are processing concurrently – a substantial alteration application. This type of application is a heritage-focused application which is required by the Nova Scotia Heritage Property Act when significant changes are proposed to a registered heritage property. The substantial alterations must be reviewed by HRM’s Heritage Advisory Committee and approved by Regional Council.

Both applications must be approved before the applicant can pursue the proposed development.

Status

Municipal staff are currently in the process of receiving updated plans and drawings associated with this application. A mailout to neighbouring residents and a public open house will be scheduled in the near future. This website will be updated with the time and location of the public open house when these details are known. 

Documents Submitted for Evaluation

The applicant has submitted plans and studies required by municipal stall to properly evaluate the application. Municipal staff are currently working with the applicant for revisions to these documents. Details of this application may change any time before consideration or approval by Regional Council.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Jenny Lugar

Planner II

Heritage Property Program

Mailing Address

Jenny Lugar

HRM Heritage Plannning Applications

PO Box: 1749,

Halifax,

Nova Scotia,

B3J 3A5

Attention: Jenny Lugar (please identify the case # and civic address)