The redevelopment of the Soeurs de la Visitation site on Richmond Road is a great opportunity for infill development and intensification. The City had the chance to buy the site for a park, and passed on it. An eight to twelve storey building along Richmond and 4-6 storey buildings behind it is appropriate. Some aspects of the current design are not my first choice, but then I am not building it.
Previous posts featured the Rowe’s Wharf project in Boston. See http://westsideaction.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/our-lady-of-the-condos-archly/ I thought it was a good inspiration for the Richmond facade of the project here in Ottawa. I like the idea of keeping the convent “cloistered”, ie not on a shiny pedestal to be glanced at from automobiles speeding by, but tucked away, a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of daily traffic. The first plans from the developer included an arch to “see through” the building. I remembered a similar arch being in Toronto, but could not find it back then. On the weekend, I stumbled upon it. Built by Minto, the ten storey condo has shops on street level, a beautiful garden behind it, and the arch frames the view very nicely.
The Arch is at the head of a T-shaped intersection of Yorkville and Avenue Road. There is a pleasant pedestrian walkway arcade on both sides of the driveway. The far end of the driveway, a turning circle, was undergoing repairs when I took the picture.
The city has a policy of urban intensification. Our new mayor signalled consistently through his election campaign that he favoured intensification and infill. This project comes up before Planning and Environment Committee in the next few weeks (with the “old” councillors). I have no doubt it will be passed.