Trinity Developments is bringing forth proposals for 900 Albert St, the site right across the street from Bayview Station. They proposing 3 to 4 residential towers, each 55 stories high. And as much retail space as the Rideau Centre has. They suggest the first two towers might be completed by 2021, just five years from now. It will be integrated with the Bayview Station, where the north-south OTrain Trillium Line (the “green line”) intersects with the east-west OTrain Confederation line (the “red line”).
Trinity is one of the proponents for the LeBreton Flats redevelopment scheme, in partnership with the Ottawa Senators. They were also a lead player in the Lansdowne Park redevelopment. They know their way around City Hall.
Most people, if they know the 900 Albert spot at all, think of it as a hole, as the land is between the elevated Albert Street overpass approaches and the ramp to the second level of the City Centre Building.
In years just-recently past and from which we have now “moved-on from”, developers envisioned 30 storey buildings in high rise zones. These are common heights in plans for the Champagne-Preston-Carling area, or the Bayview Yards-Bayview Station CDP.
The previous owner of the site, Phoenix, proposed three office towers (30,30, and 8 stories) on a retail podium, seen here by a pigeon flying over the LRT tracks near Bayview Station:
But alas, the Feds didn’t rush to rent the space, despite its unbeatable transit access. Here’s the former approved site plan, looking south to north, ie the opposite direction of the previous pic:
The proposal also suffered from contortions to fit the towers around a number of large water mains and sewers that pass by and through the site. Trinity is proposing to relocate those pipes around the site, at its own expense, to create a clear development footprint.
Trinity is proposing roughly the same amount of tower floorspace, but in swapping out the typical 26,000 sq ft office space per floor footprint for the 8000 sq ft per floor residential floorplate, they end up with three 55 storey towers:
Because the three towers share a common retail podium and parking structure, it is difficult to do this in phases. So they are not likely to be condominium towers as the time to market them is lengthy. Instead, they will probably be a bought deal whereby someone buys one or more whole towers and operates them as rental buildings. Think CPP, or a REIT as the most likely long term owner. The vacancy rate in Ottawa is very low, there are few new apartments coming on stream in the next few years, so the demand (ie renters) are out there.
Note that the drawings shown above and below are deliberately being kept “generic”, with just enough features to be recognizable as to their use. But what will be built has yet to be designed. So save your breath complaining about the style or look of the buildings. It’s too early for that.
Here’s what the project might be in terms of shape and massing, as seen from Albert Street and Champagne:
And here’s the pigeon’s view from the main driveway entrance to the complex, from Albert Street, located where the pedestrian crossing from the Bayview Station used to be:
The City tried to paper over the unseemly land rush at the Carling – Preston intersection, near the Carling OTrain Station, by giving it a grand name: the new southern gateway to the downtown. And declaring that 55 stories was wonderful right at the Station (ie the former Dow Honda site) and heights would go down a bit further away. Most notably, Claridge has a 45 storey tower underway at 505 Preston at Carling, the “Icon” condo. (And lets not forget that one of the likelier new Civic Hospital sites is the south side of Carling between Preston – Sherwood – Maple Dr).
The 900 Albert site may be conveniently considered an western gateway to the downtown, culminating the long row of 30 storey towers already approved along the Otrain Trillium corridor with a cluster of 3-4 towers 55 stories tall right at Bayview Station.
Next: detailed look at the site plan, the south side of the complex, tom brown arena, and a possible phase two using air rights over the Otrain tracks.