Real Estate Updates (cont’d)

The Trinity Developers acquisition of the lands adjacent LeBreton Flats and their drawings – shown in the previous story — of 50 storey buildings with large above ground parking garages — is a product and a harbinger of Ottawa’s latest downtown development thinking.

I am not optimistic about a city core with large above ground garages, no matter how pretty.

This downtown core has glittery buildings, including one that took the “temple of commerce” idea literally:



Look closer:


that’s the base or podium of the temple of mammon on the right, and while glad in nice granite and shiney gothic windows, its all parking garage for the soaring tower above.  And that 15 storey office building on the centre left … that’s ALL parking garage. It actually did away completely with the office or residential functions. Makes for a lively downtown.

And my bet is that Mayor Watson worships at the congregation of development.

Much more staid are a couple of downtown developments coming down the pipe right now.

Here’s the view of the shuttered downtown hotel, once proudly the Delta, for short while the National, and now the Empty. This  1970’s Teron project had a hotel, an office tower, and across the street to the south, a underground parking lot with the 151 Bay condos above. A good mixed use development with superior architectural interest.

queen at bay 1


The hotel wings are soon for the demolishers, as is the little three storey apartment building orphaned at the corner. They will be replaced by two 23 storey towers, one a hotel, the other apartments. The office tower may also be enlarged.

I hope the 151 Bay condo owners scoop up a dozen pallets of brick for future use repairing their building.

A bit further south, the CS Coop building is about to be emptied, the employees moving to the President’s Choice office park on McRae Avenue between Bushtukah and Trailhead. In its place, the developer is seeking approval for a 20ish storey apartment tower. It will be a slab building facing the CentreTown Place building of a previous generation on the opposite side of Slater.

slater at bay 1


That still leaves lots of undeveloped land in the core, a lot of it on the west side of Lyon Street.

slater at lyon 1

And of considerable public interest, where might a new Library go.
More on that next.


5 thoughts on “Real Estate Updates (cont’d)

  1. Are you serious about above ground parking structures?
    That is a sure activity killer and so unsafe at night.
    Is Mayor Watson really a proponent of such a car oriented down-town still?
    What about the planning committee chair, has she no influence?

    1. Ben – as I pointed out in previous stories, the city has suddenly warmed up to above ground parking garages, at the last minute changing the Preston-Gladstone CDP (currently stalled in final draft) to permit above ground garages with very few conditions. And Minto’s west project along the Parkway fronts the waterfront land with a 5 floor above ground garage. And Trinity’s Bayview project of 50ish storey towers has at least nine floors of above ground parking. These projects didn’t just slip thru a crack or an oversight of a junior planner. These are major changes going unheralded and unreported by MSM and undebated by council. I see a major policy evolution / change in permitting large above ground garages. Note that neither of the proposed projects along Bay Street in today’s story has above ground parking garages.

    2. Is Watson a proponent? I think so. It is a major policy shift he could not be unaware of. Recall he was a late and reluctant convert to LRT, and the chosen system is cheaper than express buses with fewer, tighter seats, wa-a-a-a-ay more standees to Kanata, and the value engineering exercises continually compromise good transit planning, and I think during his two terms of office he will have delivered way more additional, new car-commuter capacity than the shifting-the-mode transit capacity exercise. The fact is we already have a car-dominated city, and it is getting more so every year, and the city is spending billions to continue that trend, and parking garages are a necessary component to make that work. If developers want them above ground because it is cheaper, I think he’ll prove most amenable.

      1. I don’t really like defending Watson, but he wasn’t a “late and reluctant convert to LRT”, though it may have seemed that way to many in the public. What he was actually reluctant about was the tunnel aspect of it. I and a couple of others met with him in the early winter of 2010 while he was still a provincial cabinet minister during which he made clear his concern about the LRT plan on the books was the tunnel and the financial risks of tunnel construction. If somebody had come up with an LRT plan in mid-2010 for a Calgary-style surface light rail transit mall, he may well have gone for that instead.

        To some degree events have actually proved his early winter of 2010 fears correct: the tunnel portion of the plan itself was rejigged to make it shallower and run it under Queen St rather than “cross country”, an underground station at the UoO was moved up to the surface and the Rideau Station moved eastwards, the downtown station designs have been cheapened, the pedestrian connections to Rideau Station removed along with the miles of pedestrian tunnels linking to distant access points for the other downtown stations, all stations are now much shorter than the originally envisaged ability to accommodate 180 m trains (down to 120 m max is it now?), etc., etc. All of these cost-cutting measures suggest that the original c.2010 plan would be way over its then-budget.

  2. All interesting news to read. I have learned from following what is going on at City Hall, that City Staff have their own agenda and they do not care much for the centre of the city. Barrhaven and Kanata is the flavour of the Season now. So they simply present plans they know will fly at City Council as long as they are cheap. The fiasco of the Water Park at Lansdowne and all the dead trees planted above a concrete garage is a good example. Also not mentioned here, developers can now promise Art Work to be included in their project and this way get easier approval and derogation to rules. This is part of the new revamped Public Art Policy of Ottawa.

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