What is happening here?

    On December 14, 2021 Regional Council voted to start the master planning process for lands including and immediately surrounding the West End Mall in Halifax, known as the West End Mall Future Growth Node (FGN). The planning process would involve amending the Regional Centre Secondary Planning Strategy (RCSMPS) and other applicable planning documents to effectively guide the development of mixed-use communities with supporting public infrastructure within the West End Mall FGN.


    The FGN is composed of several separate properties with nine landowners. The municipality has received one preliminary proposal from Cushman & Wakefield, on behalf of the property owner OPB Realty Inc. for the West End Mall, located on Mumford Road, Halifax. To date, the other landowners have not submitted redevelopment proposals, but they will be invited to join the planning process. Future Growth Nodes are intended to be planned in a comprehensive manner, involving all properties.


    Cushman & Wakefield Atlantic, is proposing a major redevelopment of the Halifax Shopping Centre Annex, which is the shopping mall property bounded by the CN Rail cut, Mumford Road and Leppert Street (map link). Given the size of the site, and the number of buildings that could be built, redevelopment is expected to take many years. The main aspects of their proposal include:


    • Creating new public streets and new development blocks;
    • A new municipal transit (bus) terminal, presently proposed by the applicant to be underground;
    • 15 residential towers, up to 90 metres in height, on mid-rise podiums;
    • A mix of residential and commercial uses; and
    • About 5,560 new residential units.

    What is a “Future Growth Node”?

    Future Growth Nodes (FGN) under the Regional Centre Plan are large areas of land which can accommodate significant development and require a comprehensive planning approach before development can take place. This allows for public feedback, the planning of infrastructure such as streets, paths and parks, and consideration of future land uses and building forms. This approach is intended to create “complete communities” with housing, employment, and recreation opportunities within walking distance and enables residents across the municipality to participate in planning a portion of the community.

    Where is the West End Mall Future Growth Node?

    The West End Mall Future Growth Node is the commercial property bounded by the CN Rail cut, Mumford Road, Leppert Street and Chebucto Road and also includes some properties on Joeseph Howe Drive. You can view the site in Google Maps.

    Why is the West End Mall Future Growth Node Planning Process happening now?

    The Regional Centre Plan designated these lands as a Future Growth Node and zoned them Comprehensive Development District -2 (CDD-2). Cushman and Wakefield, on behalf of one of the landowners, OPB Reality Inc., applied to redevelop the lands in 2021. On December 14, 2021, Regional Council voted to start the planning process.

    What will happen as part of the West End Mall Future Growth Node Planning Process?

    The Regional Centre Plan provides broad policies for the planning of Future Growth Nodes, including a requirement for more detailed planning policies for the site. The planning process will address what is needed for a new complete community through a neighbourhood plan for the entire area. This will create a new neighbourhood plan including roads, parks, pathways, housing mix and other amenities. 


    The planning process includes: 


    • seeking public feedback and participation on planning policies for the site;
    • a detailed review of environmental features, site context, infrastructure and culture and heritage assessments;  
    • an analysis of general Future Growth Node policies in the plan and their application on this site; and
    • an analysis of other applicable municipal plans and policies such as the Integrated Mobility Plan, Rapid Transit Plan and Halifact 2050.


    What is a traffic study, who prepares them and how does the municipality review them?

    Traffic studies are written at the expense of the applicant by professional engineers. These studies are submitted at the start of the planning application process and give municipal engineers a sense of how a project might impact the surrounding streets both from a safety and capacity perspective.  

    Once submitted, studies are reviewed by municipal engineers, and changes may be required. The traffic study is ultimately used to decide on any upgrades or changes to the surrounding streets, or newly proposed streets, to minimize the traffic impacts of the proposed development. 

    Are the existing streets designed for the additional traffic proposed by the development?

    As part of the planning process, the developer will be required to undertake a transportation study. This study will holistically review the surrounding transportation network and identify any recommended changes. Potential changes may involve upgrades to intersections or streets, active transportation paths, bus facilities, or changes to the development itself.  

    With the potential for several thousand new residential units and commercial spaces, this transportation study will go beyond the scope of traffic impact statements usually required for smaller developments. The transportation study scope is informed by the goals of the Integrated Mobility Plan, Rapid Transit Plan, and the Regional Centre Secondary Municipal Planning Strategy (Centre Plan). 

    Will this project contain units for purchase or rental units?

    As a general rule, planning policies in Nova Scotia can regulate the “use of land” rather than who uses or occupies the land. As such, municipal policies do not speak to who will own the units but instead focus on densities or the number of units, where they will be located, what the buildings will look like, and how they are accessed. Decisions on whether a residential building will be condos or rentals is the decision of the property owner or developer.

    Will this project include affordable housing?

    The Regional Centre Plan includes “bonus zoning” policies for Future Growth Nodes, which requires developers to pay a public benefit that is calculated based on the appraised value of the lands after a development agreement is approved. Typically, at least 12 percent of the value must be paid into the municipality’s affordable housing fund. The money in this fund can be given to non-profit groups by the municipality as a grant for new housing projects and the upkeep of existing units.

    The municipality also has a new ability to require inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning is a tool that allows the municipality to require a certain number of housing units be provided at an affordable rent or sale price. In May 2023 Regional Council directed staff to begin preparing an inclusionary zoning program for HRM. This work is ongoing. 

    How will the planning process ensure the proposed development is aligned with the foundational pillars of the Integrated Mobility Plan?

    The master planning process is designed to implement the Regional Centre Plan and the Integrated Mobility Plan’s principles of building a complete, connected, sustainable and healthy community. 

    This can result in connections to existing neighbourhoods, places of employment, transit and recreational opportunities.  

    It will also be key to designing any new street and path network as per the complete streets checklist, and the newly revised Municipal Design Guidelines (Red Book), which are minimum design standards for municipal streets and infrastructure. 

    Will the Complete Streets process be used in the design of the West End Mall redevelopment?

    Yes, the complete streets checklist and principles from the Integrated Mobility Plan will be applied by municipal staff in their review of this project, including at the detailed design stage.

    What are the public engagement opportunities during the process, in particular during the design iterations? How will this project's processes use inclusive and equitable public engagement processes to truly make sure all voices are heard?

    The municipality will invite residents to participate in the planning process beginning in early 2023. The municipality will advertise engagement opportunities on this Shape Your City page, and through municipal social media channels.  

    Residents living near the West End Mall will also receive a mailout with information on engagement.

    The engagement process will involve two phases: 

    1. residents will be invited to contribute their ideas and vision for the site and thoughts on the initial proposal.

    2. draft planning documents will be presented to the public and feedback will be sought on the proposed comprehensive plan.

    Is the Halifax Shopping Centre building being demolished or redeveloped? Is it part of this process?

    No, the Halifax Shopping Centre (the mall building located between Bayers Road and Mumford Road) is not involved in this planning process. The landowner indicates there are no redevelopment plans for that site at this time, aside from renovations and upgrades to the existing mall.

    How is climate change adaptation incorporated into municipal street design?

    The Municipal Design Guidelines include minimum tree planting requirements designed to assist in stormwater capture, and reduce the urban heat island effect. Through master planning processes, like this one, the municipality may identify opportunities to deploy stormwater best management practices on-site. The Municipality’s climate change plan, Halifact 2050, includes a goal to collaborate with Halifax Water to create an integrated stormwater management plan.


    Why has one of the landowners proposed approximately 5,500 units? How was this number determined?

    The proposal that has been received was submitted by Cushman and Wakefield on behalf of the private landowner, OPB Reality Inc. The municipality cannot speak to what rationale was used to create this proposal since it is the landowner’s proposal. 


    Through the planning process, the municipality will review the proposal in conjunction with the required background studies and public engagement feedback to determine the development capacity of the site. Future Growth Nodes are designated for significant growth, but the exact level of growth and land uses are determined through the planning process.

    There are a number of landowners for the West End Mall Redevelopment lands, including those on the west side of Joseph Howe Drive. Can a list of property owners be provided?

    HRM is unable to provide a list of property owners. The Province of Nova Scotia is responsible for maintaining the land registry. Residents may wish to contact the Nova Scotia Land Registry for property ownership information. 


    HRM can communicate the identity of applicants. The applicant for the one proposal received so far is Cushman and Wakefield, on behalf of the landowner “OPB Reality Inc”. This landowner elected to share their identity in their planning application, which is a public document.

    What is the population density of the proposal? What are some comparisons to other areas in HRM?

    The population density of the development is comparable to other areas of the Halifax Peninsula, and other developments underway or proposed across the Municipality. At this stage in the process, it is too early to accurately assess population density since the number of units in the development could change based on staff review. 

    Why is the Mumford Transit Terminal proposed to be underground?

    The applicant, Cushman and Wakefield, has proposed placing the Mumford Transit terminal underground. HRM staff will review this proposal with Halifax Transit staff. A transportation study is required as part of the planning process which will identify transportation needs throughout the FGN. The proposal to put the transit terminal underground has not received any approvals at this time.

    What is the timeline for this project?

    The municipal planning process depends on how long it takes for background studies to be completed, public engagement to take place, and for staff to draft planning policies. Typically, this takes 12-18 months, but it may take longer. 


    So far, only one application for development has been received for the FGN. The applicant, Cushman and Wakefield, has indicated that Phase 1 of the project (6 buildings) will take approximately 20 years to construct once municipal approvals are granted. The applicant indicates Phase 2 will take approximately 30 years. In total, the development proposal is expected to take 50 years. The phasing and timing of the project may change as the planning process progresses.