Planned condos will force shop to close, owner says

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Residents near LeMarchant Road development lay out concerns

A local businessman says a planned condo project will shut down his metal works shop.

Ron Coady, owner of Coady’s Metal Works on Lime Street — next to a planned 55-unit condo development on LeMarchant Road — says he’s worried the project will force him to close his business, which has been operated by his family for 131 years, 37 at its current location.

“It’s going to shut down my forge, because you’re talking about five storeys of condos up and above my smokestack with balconies overlooking it,” he said. “I burn coal in my forge. No one wants coal smoke coming in out of their balconies. We’ve looked at it, we’ve had engineers look at it — we can’t extend the chimney 75 feet. It wouldn’t be structurally sound. So, basically it’s going to shut down my forge.”

Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay moved to reject the project outright at city council’s regular meeting Monday — citing a threat to Coady’s Metal Works as well as concerns about traffic, parking and strong opposition from residents of the area — but found support with only Ward 5 Coun. Wally Collins, as the rest of council supports the project.

“We want to stay here. I have the next generation coming on behind me, but it looks like it’s not going to happen,” he said. Coady says he’s looking at other locations and says it’s not easy to find locations that will accommodate a blacksmith. He says he’s looking for legal advice on what he can do. He says the developers approached him early on about buying his shop.

“I said, ‘We have two options here. Either you find me another location where I can operate, or you pay me enough to make me retire,’” he said, laughing. “And neither of those happened.”

Several area residents spoke out about the project at a public meeting in September, with criticisms ranging from the height of the structure — described as a five-storey development, but with parking levels the project is more comparable to a seven- or eight-storey structure — to traffic and parking concerns and the esthetics of the project.

Architect Roman Halitzki of LeMarchant Road prepared a detailed analysis of the project that questioned several aspects of the development, including zoning concerns, municipal regulations, shading concerns and the introduction of the building to a condo market that he says is already saturated and overpriced.

“What I found shocking and a travesty was how the staff basically ignored the whole gamut of planning guidelines and development regulations and seem to ignore the fact as well that the building is a total monstrosity from an architectural and urban design point of view by any standard, and completely against everything that all of those planning guidelines, development regulations, the heritage designation. Everything that was there to protect and advance the urban design quality of St. John’s, everything was flushed down the toilet to allow that monstrosity to go ahead.”

Some critics noted the expected costs of the units — about $400,000 — don’t fit with city council’s stated priority of ensuring more affordable housing in the city. Others say they’re not opposed to condos being built, but aren’t satisfied with the plans by Pinnacle Developments. Joy Hecht, an environmental economics consultant, said she basically supports the project, but her biggest concern is with parking.

 “To me, building high-density downtown, in a place where, for the most part, does not block views, it’s not on Water Street, I think it makes sense,” said Hecht, a Lime Street resident. “The only real concern I have has to do with parking, and it’s a question that at least as of that meeting in September, the city had not even thought about, because they don’t seem to think about these issues before they give permissions.” The plans call for 68 parking spots for 55 units, but Hecht is concerned that condo residents would also be given street parking permits, which she said would cause “a major traffic headache.”

Brad DeYoung of Parade Street said the idea of a condo development is fine. “I think the issue with this particular building is the scale of it, and the relationship of the building to the road itself, and the overall density,” he said. “I think it’s been driven by the fact that the lot is so narrow. The lot in one section is 20 feet deep, and I think it forced the developer to go high and to allow no space between the sidewalk and the building itself.”

 

 

Geographic location: LeMarchant Road, Lime Street, Water Street Parade Street

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Recent comments

  • Misanthrope
    December 05, 2013 - 06:48

    Rediculous, this place needs apartments.... There is already a 100 unaffordable condo units available..... Just like there's already 100's of jobs, minimum wage jobs, that can barely pay rent, let alone a $400000 mortgage. Everyone complains about finding workers but they only offer them 10 and hour for 20-30 hours a week. There are bigger problems out here than condo units... The people who can afford them have everything and everyone else gets nothing from the municipality. The rich stay rich and the poor get poorer

  • Observer
    December 04, 2013 - 10:13

    Since WHEN is LeMarchant Road "downtown"?? History would say that this location was referred to as "the higher levels". "Downtown" is just that, down the hill onto Water Street, Duckworth, Gower, et al. I wish people would get the terms right. As for the condo, progress is inevitable and required. Build up I say. LeMarchant Road badly needs a renewal, as does that whole area if you ask me.

  • Mike
    December 04, 2013 - 09:45

    If I were Mr. Coady, I would carry on my business, uninterrupted. Screw the developers. You were there 1st. Keep up your blacksmithing operation.

  • MIKE
    December 04, 2013 - 09:35

    131 years in business means something. 131 years of taxes paid. 131 years of excellent service.

  • Dingle
    December 04, 2013 - 09:34

    Wasn't this suppose to be an APARTMENT building. Excerpt from the City planning memo of July 16, 2012..."Staff recognizes the need for apartment buildings in the city and is supportive of the initiative this application shows towards providing rental housing. Apartment units are desperately needed in the city and this proposal offers a high quality design and an appropriate infill development that makes use of existing infrastructure."

  • DW
    December 04, 2013 - 09:19

    It's too bad for Coady's business, but a coal burning metal forge in the heart of downtown St. John's should be phased out anyway, regardless of any development. Coady's should become greener or move to an industrial area.

  • DW
    December 04, 2013 - 09:18

    It's too bad for Coady's business, but a coal burning metal forge in the heart of downtown St. John's should be phased out anyway, regardless of any development. Coady's should become greener or move to an industrial area.

    • James
      December 04, 2013 - 10:08

      And while they are at it ban wood stoves, fire places, bbq's, outdoor pits for cooking and shut down the emergency generators at both hospitals, knock down the chimneys at the beer breweries, shut down the dock yard and ban fossil fuels for cars. I bet you that I burn more coal in my Vermont castings wood/coal stove in a day than Coady's burn in a week and a heck of a lot less emission than what comes out of my neighbors oil fired furnace.

  • Sob Story
    December 04, 2013 - 08:00

    This is the biggest sob story I have ever heard, you dont need to shut down your business because of this. The people who are living in the condo can deal with that if they want to work in the area. What your saying is oh the air port has to shut down because there is condo going up and they don't want to hear planes. This is juts a sob story so say the condos are a bad thing.

    • Know the facts
      December 04, 2013 - 09:33

      Comment toward " sob story". This isn't "chicken soup for small business owners", it is a fact. Council has approved this development knowing full well numerous issues that will effect not only this business in the area but it's residents as well. Aside from Coady's Metal Works projected problems once development is complete, residents will have to deal with construction times, equipment placement and also the issue of cookstown road being a one way street which will be a location of one of two parking garage entry/exit. I agree with development and infrastructure but when it is done hastily and poorly concerns should be raised and this is one avenue to do so. Aside from this location it is the same development company putting up lighthouse condos on the east end if duckworth street. I guess jamming the biggest buildings on the smallest lots is the goal of this developer the city servants.

    • Sob Story
      December 04, 2013 - 10:22

      I do know the facts, The fact that people in NL just want to complain sure there is already 2 or 3 condo buildings right next to this area. Also yes it may increase traffic slightly but not as much as you think. People buy condos downtown because it reduces the distance to work and necessities there for they dont own cars. Second the building there before would have blocked views of the so called "Harbor" because your talking about a small house thats falling apart vs a new building. As for the look of it maybe you should see the work the architect company has done before all building look new a vibrate. The heritage rules in NL are just holding back architect from using new style and materials that why these new building look like garage is because or heritage not there design. Time for NL to grow up restrict a few building that are actual meaning to history and destroy the rest cause there all falling down anyways. I wont buy a row house because the amount of problem with them is ridiculous.

  • James
    December 04, 2013 - 07:31

    I'd say let it rip. Fire up the forge and carry on. If the city has a problem perhaps the developer can foot the bill for construction of a propane fired forge for Mr. Coady.

    • dontegetmestarted
      December 04, 2013 - 07:51

      Hit the nail on the head ;)

    • Notso Rizzori
      December 04, 2013 - 08:48

      Agreed, let her blow. Let the head nodders down at the council meetings figure it out. All they see is $$ with new condos and money for downtown developments. The small working man always suffers.

    • Keep on Cook'in
      December 04, 2013 - 09:50

      Agree. Mr. Coady it's not your problem, it is the developers and now the city's. You are an existing business in an approved zone. It's the same as residental zones being approved next to existing farms. It's up to the purchaser to beware.

    • Keep on Cook'in
      December 04, 2013 - 10:00

      Agree. Mr. Coady it's not your problem, it is the developers and now the city's. You are an existing business in an approved zone. It's the same as residental zones being approved next to existing farms. It's up to the purchaser to beware.

    • Dolf
      December 04, 2013 - 10:42

      Perfect solution James. Tom Hann will have a friggin' fit. (Remember him? he's the councillor who wasn't sure if he'd run again. Actually he couldn't wait for the election call. Big bluff.

    • Dolf
      December 04, 2013 - 10:44

      Perfect solution James. Tom Hann will have a friggin' fit. (Remember him? he's the councillor who wasn't sure if he'd run again. Actually he couldn't wait for the election call. Big bluff.