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Lofty ambitions

A new residential development in the North End could shape the way people live on the peninsula

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By the summer of 2014, at the corner of James and Roberts streets in the city’s North End, will stand a project that is likely a first for the city.

“To the best of our knowledge, we are the first true loft project on the peninsula,” says Louis Lemoine, vice-president of Polycorp, the developer behind the Q Lofts project.

The building that will house the 72 Q Lofts (the Q stands for quintessential, an adjective Lemoine says describes this sort of urban living), is located on a former industrial site, which Polycorp found three years ago. Lemoine says the firm, which previously built the Residences at Mont Blanc and the Spice condos on the corner of Barrington and Cornwallis streets, is committed to establishing European-inspired urban living in a part of the city undergoing a huge transformation.

“We’ve been big believers in the North End for a long time,” says Lemoine, adding the company has taken pains to get to know the local business community and learn about its needs. “We thought it was a great location, right in the heart of one of the best neighbourhoods on the peninsula…It’s speaking to a more local view of how one lives one’s life. We think this neighbourhood has tremendous potential.”

Each of the two-story lofts, which range in size from 950 square feet to 1,240 square feet, are stylish and compact and make use of every inch of space. A large centre island in the kitchen, for example, has a sliding table that pulls out for use as extra food preparation space or seating for guests. The building also includes a gym, guest suite, Q lounge, rooftop deck and penthouse, which tenants can book for private parties.

Lemoine expects the buyers to be young professionals and empty nesters who are looking for scaled-down, minimalist way of living. Restaurants, shops and the downtown core are all within walking distance. “These will appeal to people who appreciate high-quality finishes and being in a neighbourhood that really has been transformed,” he says.

The lofts are also incredible energy efficient with state-of-the-art in-floor heating, a solar and greywater heat recovery system, triple-glazed windows and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Lemoine says the company is aiming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification with the project. “We believe this will be one of the most energy efficient buildings in North America when it’s finished,” Lemoine says.

The company hosted an official launch in October. The building is now in the early stages of construction. Units start at $399,000. Lemoine says he would like to see the Q Lofts help change the way people here think about urban living. More people means a more vibrant city. “I believe if Halifax is to truly become a great city we have to put policies in place that increase density on the peninsula,” he says.

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