Uptown Saint John Parking Garage Future Home Of ‘The Telegraph’

A design rendering of The Telegraph. (Image: Submitted)

SAINT JOHN– A parking garage in the heart of uptown Saint John will soon be home to a new development.

The garage, located on the corner of Canterbury and Grannan Streets, will be redeveloped into The Telegraph, which will house 32 residential units and street-level retail or commercial space.

The development is being led by Stephen Brittain, a local developer who is behind the Village View Suites in the Millidgeville neighborhood, and Lee Seale.

“Over the last years, there’s been a tremendous amount of rebirth going on in the uptown,” said Brittain, in an interview with Huddle. “As developers, we’ve sort of been keeping an eye to it and recognizing for at least a year now that there is demand for residential units in the uptown area.”

Before the parking garage was built in 1996-97, it was home to the six-story Telegraph building, which is serving as a design inspiration for the project. The new building will have one and two-bedroom units on its upper floors. It will include a fitness facility to tenants as well as some underground parking. Rent rates haven’t been set yet, but Brittain says the units will be considered higher-end.

A historic photo of the old Telegraph building in uptown Saint John. (Image: Submitted)

“The target market will be young professionals right through to retirees,” he says.

There will be commercial space on the street-level. What will go in there hasn’t been determined.

“We haven’t given a lot of thought yet to the type of tenant but given the character of the neighbourhood, it will likely be some form of a restaurant,” said Brittain. “But we haven’t spoken to any prospective tenants for the space.”

Construction on the building is expected to start in spring 2020 and is expected to take less than a year to complete. The quick timeline is due to the fact that the Canterbury parking garage was designed to serve as a foundation for future development. This existing foundation and use of wood-frame construction mean construction will be quicker with less disruption to neighbours.

“Probably one of the most impactful and disturbing parts of any construction is the excavation of a basement, the construction of a foundation. Where that work is done, it not only shortens the schedule to build, it also reduces that noise and dust and heavy equipment,” said Brittain. “There will still be some of that work to do, but very limited by the fact that the city had built the structure and the dirty work is done.”

The new development means the parking spots the Canterbury garage provided will be gone. Marc Dionne of the Saint John Parking Commission said in a news release that the change in overall parking supply in the uptown will be minimal and the impacts on businesses in the area can be strategically managed by shifting some monthly parking spaces to hourly and daily.

“We are exploring options to replace the hourly spots that will be lost with a comparable number of spaces in lots at the corner of Canterbury and Princess,” said Dionne. “We’re also looking at a couple of different options to add additional monthly parking spots including the Fundy Quay site.”

Steve Carson, CEO of Develop Saint John, says they have been working with all involved parties on any questions or issues around the development.

“Develop Saint John has been facilitating conversations between the developer, the Saint John Parking Commission and neighbours to explain the nature of the development. We’ve been exploring opportunities to overcome any concerns, and have been sharing how The Telegraph will benefit the entire area,” said Carson, in a release. “It will bring in new residents, more customers, more vibrancy, increase revenue for the City, and ultimately boost property values across the board.”

For Brittain, he hopes his new development will help continue to drive the business growth uptown Saint John has seen over the last several years.

“We believe that densification on a residential basis contributes to the success of those businesses,” he said. “It becomes a bit of synergy and we look at the whole neighbourhood as being in a symbiotic relationship and we want to add to that.”