303 LeBreton apartment infill

There are currently two fine houses at 301 and 303 LeBreton:

existing two houses are in good condition, on very deep lots (about 15o') with access to a common rear yard laneway on the left

Directly across the street is the government office complex for Natural Resources Canada:

The owner of the two houses proposes to demolish the homes and replace them with a 29 unit rental apartment building. There will be 15 two-bedroom units; and 14 one-bedroom plus den. The building will be three floors high. The site plan shows that the rear lane truncated to allow for development of the lot (the large vehicle on an angle is the garbage truck picking up the dumpster):

the E/W lane opening onto LeBreton accesses parking under the lip of the building; the N/S lane to the right is truncated from intersecting with the E/W lane

The elevation of the building shows as:

I am not sure what the exterior finish is – might be stucco. The front shows some interesting detailing. This is definitely not a cheap-looking box. Indeed, it might look familiar: the same builder, Canci Homes, built a similar building of red brick on Bell South just a few blocks away; as well as two other versions of this with a limestone exterior in the east side. Here is the Bell version, which has smaller windows and brick all around:

While I am very sorry to see two well-preserved and usable family homes disappear; there is a need for affordable rentals and these seem to fit that bill. You can see more details by going to www.ottawa.ca/devapps and see the last page of applications.

21 thoughts on “303 LeBreton apartment infill

  1. I really like how the apartment building looks with the mansard style top floor. This is what intesification is supposed to lokk like!

  2. The link to the city says it is 303-305 LeBreton.
    Interestingly, one of the houses serves as low-cost rental (I know someone who lives there)

  3. I’ll gladly take the seemingly improved architecture of the apartment building over two insignificant dwellings. The renderings and pictures of the other development look quite nice, and in keeping with the ‘hood. That’s the kind of intensification we want and need in this town.

  4. In agreement with Eric et al.
    29 rental apartments trumps two historically-insignificant homes. I wonder what the rent is like for this type of development – any knowledge of what the Bell St. building charges? The city could use a few more rental buildings to make up for the glut of pricey condos. Makes for a more liveable city.

  5. Much nicer than the Hobin-esque infill that seems to infest Westboro… and soon Lansdowne as well.

  6. Faux-heritage buildings are generally frowned upon in heritage circles; that said, these look really nice and rental housing is a rarity among new dwellings.

    Is there an accessible entrance? I noticed the front only has stairs.

  7. I like how there are 17 parking spaces for 27 units. There is an outdoor bike area – I hope it will be covered.

  8. I always find it amusing that heritage folks frown upon replica buildings. We spend so much time pointing out the virtues of older, walkable neighbourhoods, including the superior architectural quality of many of them. Yet, if someone goes and builds what appears to be a very attractive, respectful homage to one of these styles, it upsets people. Me, I think that it’s a good thing when people start to reproduce what works so well in traditional neighbourhoods and wish people would do it more often.

    1. Erinn, the main problem with building replica buildings–and it’s really only a problem if it’s widespread–is that if you spend two decades building nothing but replica buildings from previous architectural period, you will no longer have an architectural style distinct to that period. In that way, you lose a part of your culture and the distinctness of its time.

      A secondary problem is that down the road, it becomes difficult to tell the replica buildings from the truly old buildings. If your goal is to express your appreciation of 1880s architecture, by copying it you’re diluting the value of buildings that are genuinely that old.

      I’m not saying–and I haven’t said–that I’m opposed to this building, or its style. It looks nice and it seems to serve a useful goal. I’m just pointing out what happens if all new buildings look like old ones.

  9. I think there’s a bylaw or two about creating a faux-heritage building in this city. That said, the biggest complaint about infill developments in Ottawa is that ‘it’s too new’ or ‘it doesn’t match the character of the community’. Catch-22?

  10. Funny how people can reject homages to past architectural styles, even if most people think they are superior, when nothing is said of building after building going up that are just neo-modernist, and hence fake. We take pride in our Parliament Buildings but they are neo-gothic, and therefore “faux”. Very little original stuff going up these days. So why not look to the past? This apartment would not look out of place in a European city. As well, I would rather the new Lansdowne look like a small slice of Europe than more of the same or more of what David called the Hobin-esque. Mansard rooves tend to make for some interesting apartments up under the eaves and we don’t use them enough in Ottawa. This appears to be a rather attractive building, especially if it uses the metal roof as shown in the drawings. We certainly need more apartment buildings going up in Ottawa.

    1. Unfortunately, in many neighbourhoods multi-unit buildings are fought tooth and nail. The poor developers of the Westboro United site thought a five story condo would be a good fit, but from the shrieks from neighbours you’d have thought they were going to build a 35 story highrise filled with murderers and tax cheats, all plotting to attack the school across the street.

      Ottawa residents want intensification without multi-unit buildings; while its developers want unconstrained highrises regardless of the plans. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

    2. First of all, the only person who said anything remotely close to not liking them because they’re old was me, and I said I liked them. Why are there so many people (i.e. you, S-man, and Erinn above) complaining that there are so many people who don’t like this, when nobody has said this?

      Second, your own example rebuts your point. After the parliament buildings burned down, they weren’t rebuilt in the same style as the original, the neo-gothic style was updated to a form more pleasing to the modern eye. They’re similar to, but architecturally distinct from, traditional gothic architecture.

      When Ottawa City Hall was built (111 Sussex), it was very controversial because the design was very different from what a city hall was thought to look like–roman columns, etc. Now it stands as a mostly-surviving example of Modernist architecture.

      I find it ironic that I’m arguing in favour of modern designs, while the people arguing in favour of faux-heritage are the same ones who often accuse me and people like me for “thinking in the past” when it comes to zoning restrictions.

  11. Charles, I think you’re taking this too personally; I wasn’t singling you out in any way, rather I was referring to citizens I’ve heard at planning committee meetings over the last several years. Infill developments face a lot of opposition in all parts of the city for many reasons, but one example that comes to mind was a three-storey job on Guigues St. in Lowertown that faced nine delegations speaking out due to the fact it was a modern design, and would be surrounded by 19th century three-storey jobs. Thus, it didn’t ‘fit’ the community. There’s a fine line developers of infill have to walk – on one hand they have to make a design that fits older neighbouring buildings so not to anger residents, but on the other hand it can’t be faux-heritage.

  12. I too was not referring to you Charles. I have heard this “faux heritage’ sentiment expressed in other forums. However, my point about the Parliament Buildings does not rebut my point. The Parliament Buildings were not built in a contemporary style. They are gothic revival. Anything new there? Very debatable.
    Your statement, “a problem if it’s widespread–is that if you spend two decades building nothing but replica buildings from previous architectural period, you will no longer have an architectural style distinct to that period”…just what is the architectual style of the period and how long is that period supposed to last? The Victorian era of architecture was actually characterized by it’s lack of a distinct style and the constant revival of previous styles. I don’t think we have a distinct style…we are in a revival period even if some of what is being revived is not so old. Anyway, I know you are not a fan of a lot of what is being thrown up these days and we all seem to agree that this is an attractive and needed apartment building. That is what really matters.

  13. One would certainly hope that we leave the 70s far, far behind. White linen suits, disco balls, and billion dollar concrete toilet in Montreal hardly make for a memorable decade.

  14. I think what Ottawa (the planners and developers, at least) is trying to do now is distance itself from the 70s – architecturally, I mean. There’s so much 70s in Ottawa, and the lack of urban development in the 80s and 90s means most of it still dominates the city, wherever you go. Grey brutalism and rectangles-laid-on-their-sides apartment buildings. This is why I get angry when a downtown building that looks great is fought tooth and nail because it is 3 or 4 storeys too tall, according to residents. My argument: 3 or 4 more stories of newness to block the ugliness!
    On an unrelated note, Chrysler should resurrect the Cordoba.

  15. I believe the apartment building will be a nice addition to the neighborhood. While I can see the point about overwhelming an area with faux heritage buildings, as folks have already noted this is not the case for this area. My only suggestion is that the builder seemed to do a nice job with the design of the first apartment building on bell st., it would be nice to see if they could come up with a different yet equally creative design. As a person who recently moved in to the neighborhood and looks forward to its evolution, I get worried when I see “new apartment building” going up. I recognize the need for affordable housing but we already have multiple large apartment complexes in a very small area, none of which are very attractive. I would rather see smaller creative apartment buildings like this then monstrous plain brick filing cabinets.

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