Plans unveiled to transform Halifax’s downtown core

Downtown Halifax property owners and developers, the Thiel family, recently unveiled plans that will transform a downtown city block into a boutique hotel, condominiums, restaurant, office, retail, and public spaces with underground parking – all unified by an ambitious Mobius-strip-inspired ribbon wall that meanders its way through the development, bringing together each component under a single architectural identity.

The 500,000 square-foot twin-tower development will span the area bounded by Granville, George, Hollis and Duke streets in the heart of downtown Halifax.

“My family and I feel an obligation to do something exceptional and long-lasting for Halifax with this large property – an entire downtown city block – and we believe that Lydon Lynch has done just that with this beautiful twin-tower design,” said Wolfgang Thiel, president of Robin Halifax Holdings Ltd., the Thiel family-owned company that owns the current Royal Bank Tower and the block on which it stands.

The name, 22nd Commerce Square, hearkens back to the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the original name of the block’s historic Merrill Lynch Building, built in 1906, a precursor to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The “22nd” reference is a nod to the next century and the Thiels’ commitment to creating lasting, exceptional buildings of enduring quality, design aesthetic and long-term value.

“Great architecture is the result of great clients, and the Thiels’ commitment to high-quality, legacy developments has motivated all of us to raise our game,” said lead architect Eugene Pieczonka, a principal at Halifax-based Lydon Lynch.

The 500,000 square-foot development will feature a proposed 96-suite boutique hotel. a3,000-square-foot central public atrium that includes street-level plazas, and allows pedestrians to connect with the development and each other; a restaurant and small conference centre in a restored Bank of Commerce Building (the building will not be demolished but restored and celebrated as an intact example of Greek Classic Revival architecture); 88 condominium units that add significantly to Halifax’s downtown residential density; 200,000 square feet of Class A Smart office space that will encourage businesses to stay in or move back to Halifax’s downtown core; street-level retail opportunities along Granville, Duke and Hollis streets; underground parking for 300 vehicles to encourage businesses, individuals and visitors to choose downtown Halifax; and hotel and condo valet parking will incorporate Halifax’s first vehicle-stacking technology system that safely maximizes parking density.

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