Construction of the first building of Fundy Quay, a large waterfront commercial and residential project in uptown Saint John, is clearing the zoning stage.
Zoning changes passed first and second readings at Monday night's city council meeting with no objections from the public. Construction of the building is expected to begin this summer.
All three levels of government pledged a combined $24 million to support the construction of the multi-building project on over the next 10 years. The site is expected to have recreational spaces and parking, as well as commercial and residential apartments.
The plan is for the first building to be 16 storeys high ont 35 Water St. Before it could go ahead it needed zoning changes for setbacks and a height limit, said Chris Elias, who works with the developer Fundy Harbour Group.
The first building is going to be in the south east corner of the site, with retail space on the ground floor with the remaining 15 storeys being residential, Elias said.
"We're very excited with the work our architects have been doing," Elias said.
Winter shadow on Loyalist Plaza, Water Street
The developer needed to perform wind and shadow studies to make sure the impact on surrounding properties and people is known, Elias said.
At Monday night's council meeting, city planner Mark Reid said the former Canadian Coast Guard building was demolished and the site has been used as a parking lot.
Reid said the wind study found that the building would decrease wind levels on the water's edge and eliminate existing "wind-tunnel" issues at the base of King Street. He said it will also create wind increases at the waterfront portion of Loyalist Plaza.
"Staff have recommended that the building's design incorporate mitigative measures for any increased wind conditions," Reid said.
The shadow study found that Loyalist Plaza and Water Street would be most affected by the shadow cast by the building in the winter months.
"It is expected that lighting will be retained to … accommodate low-light levels associated with shadow conditions," Reid said.
Reid also said there will still be evening sun shining on the Market Square patio.
Elias said the Halifax-based architects worked on multiple projects on the Halifax waterfront and are drawing on that experience to design this project.
"They also did a good job of being very context-sensitive to Saint John itself by using materials on the podium that really match the streetscape on the other side," Elias said. "It does feel very integrated with the rest of the Saint John."