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Design of revamped Churchill Square grocery store ‘not ideal,’ St. John's city councillor says

The former SaveEasy building in Churchill Square has been empty for many years.
The former SaveEasy building in Churchill Square has been empty for many years. - Juanita Mercer

Proposed Save Easy re-development heads to public meeting

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

A proposed use of the old SaveEasy building in Churchill Square goes to the next steps of the application process — a public meeting.

The proposed six-storey building would have commercial space on the ground floor, and residential space on the other five floors — altogether, 78 units with a combination of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The design is contentious.

Council asked the developer to revise it and essentially reverse it — switching the stepback of the building from the back, facing Rowan Place, to the front, facing Rowan Street.

Loblaw Properties Inc. has revealed plans to redevelop the old Dominion grocery story property in Churchill Square. Plans call for the Rowan Street building to be converted into a six-storey structure with commercial space on the ground floor and 78 apartment units, a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, on the other five floors.
St. John's City Council has asked the developer to switch the stepback of the building from the back (seen at right), facing Rowan Place, to the front (seen at left), facing Rowan Street. - Contributed

Council argued that would make the building more pedestrian-friendly given its height.

Councillors Maggie Burton and Ian Froude also expressed concerns with the 80 parking spaces from the Churchill Square lot that were requested by the developer as part of the application.

“I really feel that the design is not ideal for the area,” said Burton, lead for planning and development.

“It doesn’t have as much of an emphasis on the pedestrian realm, and on the Churchill Square area, and on the character of that neighbourhood as I would have liked.”

The developer, KMK Properties, an agent for Loblaw Properties, did not change the design.

CEO Justin Ladha wrote in an email to city staff that council’s proposed changes to the design would compromise the esthetic look and increase the commercial risk of the development.

“Given the additional information provided by the developer and the economic constraints of this particular development, it is recommended to proceed to the public meeting with the current design,” reads city staff’s recommendation to council.

Council unanimously approved that recommendation. Councillors Hope Jamieson, Jamie Korab and Sandy Hickman were absent from the meeting.

Burton said she is looking forward to seeing what the reaction is from the public.

A date for the public meeting has not yet been set. Once people have a chance to provide input, the proposal will come back to council for debate before a decision is made.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @juanitamercer_


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