A major new development is being proposed for downtown Halifax.

If approved, it will be 500,000 square feet and will span an entire city block, bordered by Granville, George, Hollis and Duke streets.

It would also involve changes to five heritage properties and the demolition of the popular Bluenose II Restaurant.

“Halifax absolutely needs this because, as you know, the last buildings went up in the early 80s and people, especially tenants, they’re looking for new office space and there is none existing right now,” says developer Wolfgang Thiel.

The proposed project is called 22nd Commerce Square. The name Commerce comes from the original name of the Merrill Lynch building, formerly the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

The new development would include a 96-suite boutique hotel, retail and office space, 88 condominiums and underground parking for 300 vehicles.

“It’s exciting,” says Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “I think that downtown Halifax is a fabulous place to be, but we want more people working, living, shopping, eating, all those things downtown and I think something like this could be very positive.”

In addition to the ambitious design and plans to revitalize the city's downtown, the developers say they also intend to reduce the entire block's environmental footprint.

“We're using geothermal under the project, we’re looking at solar hot water panels on the roof of the project,” says architect Eugene Pieczonka.

The area includes five heritage properties. The interiors of four of the buildings would be demolished, including the Bluenose II Restaurant. However, the owner says he has been looking for a new location and isn’t worried.

“Trust me, the Bluenose will still be around for a long time. It's not going to end here, trust me,” says owner John Carvalho.

The Merrill Lynch building would remain intact and developers say, even if some restaurants move out, the new development will create room for new business.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell