by Jacob Boon
Bright days are ahead for one of the downtown's most iconic heritage properties.
Halifax approved substantial alterations to 1581-89 Barrington Street—otherwise known as the Green Lantern building—at Tuesday’s meeting of regional council.
The motion was moved “with great happiness” by downtown councillor Waye Mason.
“This is a huge thing for downtown Halifax and the Heritage Conservation District,” Mason said.
The changes include completely restoring and retaining the “Chicago Style” front of the building and its interior floors, while adding on three-storeys of new residential space.
Nine residential stories, commercial storefronts, and three levels of underground parking will be added onto the building’s rear, facing Granville Street.
The entire complex will be topped with a penthouse, made of a green copper-esque material and glass that will glow, lantern-like, at night.
Also known as the “Keith Building,” after the Gordon and Keith furniture store that opened in 1896, the Green Lantern gets its name from a former restaurant on the ground floor which operated from 1917 until the 1960s.
It was extensively damaged by Hurricane Juan in 2003, and the building has largely sat empty and in poor condition for the last decade.
The proposed redevelopment plans from WSP Canada and building owners Jason and Jordan Ghosn were already given a thumbs-up from HRM’s Heritage Advisory Committee and Design Review Committee, and were met with an equally enthusiastic response at city council.
“I think this is sufficient quality as a heritage renovation that I think it’ll be winning national awards,” Mason said.
Work on the redevelopment is set to begin imminently, to capitalize on construction happening next door at the former Discovery Centre building.