Saint John council supports development at old Woolworth's building

·2 min read
Construction is expected to start this fall and last up to two years. (Submitted by the City of Saint John - image credit)
Construction is expected to start this fall and last up to two years. (Submitted by the City of Saint John - image credit)

Saint John city council has approved a proposal to build a new 55-metre building that will replace the old Woolworth's department store in the city's uptown.

Developer Percy Wilbur told council Monday night, he expects construction to begin this fall or spring at the latest.

Construction of the 12-storey building will take up to two years. Neighbouring buildings, 85 and 87 King, will be torn down.

"I've had people reach out to me already," he said. "We're keeping a little … list of potential tenants. And I'm thrilled and flattered that they're thinking that far out."

Councillors in favour of project

In a public hearing Monday, council heard no objections to the project at 99 King St.

None of the neighbours sent in letters of support or objection. Several councillors said they're in favour of the project, which is expected to add retail space and up to 93 residential units.

Submitted by the City of Saint John
Submitted by the City of Saint John

The area is not protected by heritage bylaws and the project will still attempt to match the surrounding architecture by including red-brick and stone exteriors.

2nd highest building

As it stands, 55 metres exceeds the height permitted by the Central Peninsula Secondary Plan and Zoning Bylaw, council heard Monday.

If approved, the building will be the second highest in uptown Saint John — following the Irving Oil building, which sits at 56 metres.

Council is expected to vote on the third and final reading at its next meeting on Sept. 7.

The approval would also come with several conditions including conducting a wind study to prove there's no "adverse effects to the public realm as it relates to the incremental impact of building height from 28 and 42 metres to 55 metres."

Charlotte Street has been narrowed from three lanes down to two lanes and that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

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