By Stephen Kimber
When a derelict 30-acre property on the Dartmouth waterfront came up for sale—including its rare, pre-Confederation water rights, which would allow the new owner to build into the water 100 feet beyond the shoreline—Francis Fares gobbled it up. The developer in him had already seen and appreciated the site’s potential: it was nestled in a quiet cove beside a busy harbour, boasted spectacular water views in all directions and offered a coveted sunny southern exposure. His dream? To transform his new acreage into a European-style, waterside urban village.
The first two buildings (a 12-storey condo and a 13-storey apartment building), were filled almost before they opened. Demand for condos was so intense that Fares quickly converted most of the other building’s apartment units. The next two condo towers have already been 65 per cent pre-sold even before construction begins in earnest this summer. And 135 eager, wannabe buyers have put down $10,000 deposits just to hold their space in the expected-to-be iconic harbour tower, whose timeline and dimensions, Fares admits, are “still loose” with floors, square footage and price all yet to be determined.
Francis Fares hired Margot Young’s Halifax-based Environmental Design Management (EDM) to translate his larger-than-life dream for this dilapidated property into a manageable conceptual design. He then brought in innovative Torontobased Architects Alliance to conceive the anchor tower and Halifax architects Lydon Lynch to give line and shape to the project’s first two Phase I buildings. The most recent two buildings were designed by Halifax-based Michael Napier.
Fares hired Halifax design specialists Norman Flynn to give his interior spaces the right look and feel. King’s Wharf’s airy, glassed-filled condo units come equipped with granite kitchen countertops, stainless steel Bosch appliances, Grohe faucets, natural gas fireplaces, cooktops and balcony hookups, even pre-wiring for an überhome youname- it control system that will do everything from open your window shades at the first sign of sunlight to play your favourite music when and in which room you choose. Prices in the initial units ranged from $250,000 for a one-bedroom to $870,000 for a top-floor, three bedroom corner unit.