Construction has started on Irving Oil Ltd.’s new 11-storey headquarters in uptown Saint John

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The start came a little over a month after Saint John Council pushed through the changes to the city’s Heritage Development bylaw, CBC reports.

Irving Oil president Ian Whitcomb said in a news release that the new home office project was an investment in the community and people.

“As our company continues to grow in a very competitive industry, it becomes more and more important for our people to be able to work together in a modern and collaborative work environment.”

The changes came after neighbouring property owner Jim Bezanson appealed the company’s plans to the province’s assessment and planning appeal board in early April.

The Saint John heritage architect and contractor took issue with the building’s height and its positioning, which didn’t comply with the city’s heritage conservation area bylaws. Despite it being too tall and too far back from the sidewalk, the city’s Heritage Development Board approved the plans for the company’s headquarters.

The exemption was given, in part, because the board felt the plans fit the King’s Square location where it would be built.

Following the launch of the appeal, Saint John city council fast tracked the change to the bylaw after city residents and businesses rallied to support the Irving project.

After a three-week process, council passed the changes on May 2.

The new building will bring 1,000 employees under one roof.

Toronto based B + H Architects and landscape architect Alex Novell designed the project. Irving Oil would not disclose its costs, and none of the published material outlines if the company has selected a general contractor or is building it with its own resources.

Irving executive vice president Sarah Irving said the support from the community “has meant a lot to everyone at our company.”

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