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Mills Brothers window displays remembered as building awaits redevelopment

Demolished in November, The Coast looks back at what the building once was and to the future about what it could be.

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SUBMITTED
  • SUBMITTED
It's been a few years since Spring Garden road was full of onlookers making their way to the block between Queen and Birmingham Streets to peep in the iconic window displays of the Mills Brothers stores. And more than half a century since the window display was the only one in Canada to win a window display contest conducted by Milton B. Conhaim Inc. in New York City, news that was printed in The Maritime Merchant in 1951.

Today, the buildings are flattened, awaiting a new development from Westwood Developments Limited—but a Christmas tribute to Snow White and the seven dwarves that used to fill the window is on display at the Museum of Natural History.
The buildings spanning the block of Spring Garden between Queen and Birmingham Streets were knocked down on November 24. - THE COAST
  • THE COAST
  • The buildings spanning the block of Spring Garden between Queen and Birmingham Streets were knocked down on November 24.
The developer, Danny Chedrawe, initially brought a pre-application proposal for the redevelopment of the BMO portion of the building to Halifax's design review committee in 2014, with plans to extend the building backwards and fill up the parking lot along Queen Street. At that time, the committee asked Chedrawe if Westwood Developments Limited had thought about adding density to the city by making the building taller. Chedrawe said that because of the neighbouring building's design (the home of Sophie's Place mall), the cost of adding height to add density would be too expensive to make it worth it
This is the old proposed design from 2014. You're looking up Queen Street here, the central library is on your right and you'd be on Spring Garden if you took a left at the end of the building. RIP American Apparel. - HRM
  • HRM
  • This is the old proposed design from 2014. You're looking up Queen Street here, the central library is on your right and you'd be on Spring Garden if you took a left at the end of the building. RIP American Apparel.
Today, a man named Mickey MacDonald owns the land the buildings used to stand on, which are three separate PIDs (Property identification numbers) that make up the whole Spring-Garden-Road-adjacent portion of the block. The middle PID was purchased for $5.7 million in October. 

MacDonald told CTV in March "The Mills building wasn't anything that was really historical; it was just a bunch of old buildings that were all pieced together. They had that Tudor front on it—but that was the only thing that was really of any significance, I think."

A development application for what's to come on the site has not yet been submitted to HRM, but it will likely keep the style of the other Westwood Developments on Spring Garden Road, from the Doyle, which is across the road from the library, to 1488 Birmingham and the building that hosts the TD bank. 

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