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Push to finish pier project could happen in next five months despite setback

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
September 25th, 2023

The original consultants on the Hall Street Pier project have pulled out, but the project should gain some ground and be finished by the end of the year, says the City’s general manager of Community Planning, Climate and Infrastructure.

Chris Johnson said the City has sent out the finalized designs for the project — to have the canopy structure built for the pier — with the cladding to be attached to it early next year.

“Essentially, how the process has gone has resulted in what appears to be a time of no work down there,” he told City council recently during its Sept. 12 meeting.

He admitted the project had an issue with the original consultants on the design. City manager Kevin Cormack said the original team “walked away” from the project.

“One of those businesses had created the design, but not to a level that it was buildable, so when they walked away (the City) had to take a concept and actually construct this thing,” he said. “And that’s what has taken the time, to actually get into the detail of how this structure actually works and how all of these things tie together.”

All of that has compounded to result in the longer gap, said Johnson.

“But, ultimately, we are looking good and on schedule to have it done. The structure should be up and done by the end of the year and then the cladding starting in late December,” he said, noting that it would be complete within the next five months.

Critical mass

The canopy is a critical part of the Hall Street Pier project said architect Matt Stanley of Stanley Office of Architecture (SOA) when he presented the project to council on Feb. 3.

It is critical to the overall success and the successful completion of the project, he explained, and it is the gesture that will draw people to this area.

“It is the landmark that will connect Baker Street and Hall Street down to the waterfront; it has that scale and that ability to connect to draw people to the area,” he said.

The canopy and the pier project have been something that has been in city planning documents and policies for many years, including the Sustainable Waterfront Plan and Downtown Master Plan.

“It is a place where people can connect to the water by the swimming area, and the floating docks and the pier itself,” Stanley continued. “It is a place where people can connect to our history, our heritage and our culture.

“And where that is happening is the canopy. The canopy is the event space, the sheltering space and it is that iconic landmark that is drawing people to the area.”

The pier area — called a critical mass of public amenity by Stanley — has the foundation in place right now and is ready to receive the canopy if it was ready (and approved) to put in.

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