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New proposal for Charlottetown waterfront property

A lot, at left, and two houses that had been abandoned and gutted, but now the land is ready for development as a five-unit residential townhouse. The area is located right across Water Street from the small brick building that is known as the Brass Shop, part of the railway system that had been a tourist information centre and now home to Receiver Coffee.  ©THE GUARDIAN
A lot, at left, and two houses that had been abandoned and gutted, but now the land is ready for development as a five-unit residential townhouse. The area is located right across Water Street from the small brick building that is known as the Brass Shop, part of the railway system that had been a tourist information centre and now home to Receiver Coffee. ©THE GUARDIAN - Google Street View

A developer is looking to turn the lots on which two abandoned homes occupied on Charlottetown’s waterfront into townhouses.

Gordon MacKay has demolished the structures at 177 and 179 Water St., consolidating the two lots along with two adjoining vacant lots that he also owns and will build a three-storey, five-unit residential townhouse.

The two properties in question were not designated heritage resources, but were located in the downtown, mixed use, neighbourhood zone of the 500 lot area.

Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the city’s planning committee, said no residents were displaced.

“The residents that were in the two homes have gone. The two houses have been gutted, actually,’’ Rivard said. “They were gutted and there’s no one in them.’’

A conceptual site plan and diagram will be presented to planning for the potential development. It will have to go to council for approval. The land still has to be appraised.

It’s anticipated the project will consist of five townhouses with a one-bedroom unit on the ground floor and two two-bedroom units on each of the second and third floors.

The bylaw allows development of a maximum of three storeys or 40 feet maximum building height.

The proposal would also be subject to the required setbacks as well as subject to the design review process. Although design has not yet been undertaken, it’s suggested the exterior would be clad with eastern cedar shingles.

The two houses were believed to pre-date 1900.

The proposal had to go to heritage board because it’s in the original 500 lot area. The board agreed to issue a demolition permit, but the lot consolidation process means that has to go through council.

The city has about 350 properties that are registered as a heritage resource and neither one of these two buildings factored into that.

“Both buildings are not in good shape, even on the inside,” Rivard said in an interview before the houses were demolished. “The foundations have settled. There’s a big concern when you have empty homes that are (essentially) demolition by neglect.’’

When Rivard said the homes had been gutted he means everything had been ripped out – the water system, the piping, even the decks.

“I always have a concern when demolition takes place, especially on Water Street or any place that’s noticeable, but, at the same time, if homes are neglected and not maintained they can become traps,” he said.

“I think it’s better to put something there that’s tasteful as opposed to unoccupied homes next to empty lots. I don’t think that says anything for the landscape, either.’’

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