2020-06-17

Bridgewater authorizes expansion, upgrade of former BMO building

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A screen grab of a rendering provided to town council of the new development planned for the corner of King Street and Phoenix Street in Bridgewater. It&#8217;s the existing former Bank of Montreal structure with additional storeys added.</p>

What the town's mayor referred to as a "game-changer" for Bridgewater's downtown was given council's authorization and will see the former Bank of Montreal building expanded to make room for commercial and residential growth.

Civic politicians green-lit a development agreement with Halifax-based Black Seal Properties, clearing the way for a four-storey addition to the structure at the corner of King Street and Phoenix Street as part of a six-storey, 19-unit residential development with ground floor commercial space.

Jody Comeau, of Black Seal Properties, didn't have a specific start date for the project but is eager to change the look of the downtown for the better.

"We're excited to get ready; we're excited to bring King Street back to life in a few of our properties we own there on King Street," Comeau told council.

Mayor David Mitchell said he's also encouraged about the future of the area given Black Seal's proposal for commerce and private residences in the heart of town.

"We look forward to seeing this project take shape," Mitchell said.

The development deal indicates the landowner's requirement to have "off-street vehicular parking spaces," but the agreement doesn't specify an exact number. Town planner Mackenzie Childs said Bridgewater and Black Seal are working to reach a separate accord from the development agreement concerning off-site parking.

Months ago, the town changed land-use planning rules in the area to allow for flexibility with the height of buildings, essentially eliminating a regulatory barrier that would have prevented an aspect of Black Seal's proposal.

The company, which also owns a Pleasant Street apartment complex in town, expressed interest in building a four-storey mixed-use structure on King Street lots left vacant following an arson in October 2017. If there's a development agreement application filed with the town concerning that project, it hasn't been made public yet.

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