By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, August 2018)
In July, Canada Lands Company (CLC) and the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) held a series of Public Open House Drop-in Sessions showcasing three preliminary development concepts for the site at 291 Carling Ave. The property consists of an approximately 3.4-acre parcel of vacant land on Carling Ave, bordered by Bell St. South to the east and Lebreton St. South to the west. The area is currently used as a parking lot for approximately 300 vehicles for nearby federal office buildings. The site was acquired by CLC in February 2017 and will be developed as part of a joint venture with the AOO.
The drop-in sessions showed three proposed preliminary development concepts in order to gather input and feedback from the community and stakeholders. Each plan outlined various land use options and features that include the following:
Development Concept #1
This option proposes to retain the striking, sheer rock wall as a feature on the south-eastern side of the lot (along Bell St. South). The rock wall, which includes the small triangular outcropping of vacant land on the top of the site on Bell St. South, would be surrounded by a landscaped area. This concept proposes development that is concentrated on the southern portion of the site, away from existing homes on Henry St. and Lebreton St. South.
While the concept shows a podium and a residential building of up to 30 storeys, this could potentially include more than one building – something which is true of all options. Regardless of the built form, the building(s) on the site will not have a height of more than what is shown.
This option is unique in that open space is proposed for the northern portion of the site, to be defined for future parking needs, which could include surface parking, a parking garage, etc.
Development Concept #2
This option also proposes to retain the natural rock feature and would integrate a landscaped area. The residential building(s) at the southern portion would still be up to a maximum of 30 storeys, but the land use area would be smaller. The building(s) would also be situated closer to Carling Ave., with a larger set back from Lebreton St. South.
The northern portion of the site will include residential building(s) – to a maximum height of 6-10 storeys, with associated underground parking. It has yet to be determined what types of residential units (condo, apartment, townhouse, etc.) would be developed.
Development Concept #3
This concept proposes a larger landscaped area than the other two options. The building(s) at the southern portion of the site could be up to 24 storeys, with the set back at Carling Ave. and Lebreton St. South the smallest of all the options.
The maximum height of the residential building(s) within the northern portion of the site is proposed to be 10-18 storeys. One unique feature of this concept is that the entire site could be serviced by one underground parking lot.
There are a number of commonalities within the concepts. Each proposes pedestrian connections from Carling Ave. and Bell St. South to Lebreton St. South, with common open shared area in the centre of the site to enable pedestrian connections and to allow for views across the site. Each envisages vehicular access from Lebreton St. South. Finally, in all options, the podium(s) could be used for a mix of retail, office and commercial purposes, and would be serviced by underground parking.
CLC and the AOO want to ensure that the community continues to have an opportunity to provide their input through an online survey. For more information on each of the preliminary development concept plans, visit www.291ruecarlingave.ca and fill out the survey posted online. Comments will be accepted until September 15th.
Based on feedback received, CLC and the AOO, together with their planning and architecture consultants, will further refine the plans and will present a preferred concept to the public in late fall. As the site is a virtual carte blanche, with no heritage designation or other buildings to work around, CLC and the AOO plan to submit zoning amendment applications to the city early in 2019. Upon CLC’s submission of zoning applications for the site, CLC will develop architectural design guidelines for the site that developers would adhere to when they submit a site plan application with the City of Ottawa.
Before construction can commence, there are a number of steps which need to be completed, including the aforementioned zoning amendment approval, remediation, marketing to developers, and applications from the developer(s) themselves. It is hoped that construction could begin the early to mid-2020s.
(Now that we have looked to the future of this site, stay tuned for a piece on its past…)