Before HOPE VI: Halifax Court. The former Halifax Court (pictured above) was constructed in two phases during the 1930s and 1950s and was comprised of 20 barracks-style buildings set into terraces. Halifax Court did not offer amenities such as parking, air conditioning, heating controls or personal space.
Its barracks-style design, long terraces and back yards with clotheslines facing the surrounding streets made it stick out from the surrounding community. Visibility between terraces was extremely limited making them the ideal location for drug dealing and other crime. The long terraces, in addition to the large oak trees located throughout the site, made lighting the common areas difficult. Fire hydrants were located at the ends of buildings and special length hoses were required to reach the interior sections of the terraces creating an increased concern for fire safety. Parking was inadequate and removed from the apartment entrances. Some residents were forced to park over 300 feet away from their unit. The retaining walls, terraced grounds, second floor bathrooms and buckling sidewalks, made Halifax Court inaccessible to the mobility impaired. The streets inside the complex did not meet City requirements for width and curbing. Traffic flowed around the community, rather than through it, adding to the isolation of the complex.
In addition to major design flaws, Halifax Court suffered from a variety of severe system deficiencies including root-riddled sewer lines, out-dated electrical systems, leaky interior plumbing, eroded building foundations and sidewalks, cracked concrete floors, extensive plaster damage to the interior walls, and inadequate roof ventilation. Heat and hot water for all the units were provided by a central boiler system that, due to persistent blockages, did not allow for uniform heating of the units. Proximity of a unit to the central boiler room dictated its internal temperature.
The seriously flawed design in addition to the general state of disrepair made renovation an impractical and inefficient solution to the problems at Halifax Court. Demolition and revitalization were the best alternatives.