275 Carling: The Next ‘Big Thing’ in the Glebe Annex

By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, March 2021)

Nearly a decade after a project was first proposed for 275 Carling Ave, construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks. The initial project came forward in 2012, then under the Taggart Group, as part of its 265 Carling Ave property. It was the first of the large parking lots in the Glebe Annex to be considered for development, but far from the last.

Initially, Taggart floated the idea of a 24-storey condominium building, then 20, and its actual proposal came in at 18 stories.  Considering that the existing zoning for the site (which was split) was 4 and 9 stories, the neighbourhood was taken aback at the proposal. It was in fact the spectre of this development that spurred residents in the Glebe Annex, led by Sylvia Milne from the Lakelander Condominium, to band together, increasing our voice and impact, and creating the Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) in February 2013.

Since then, a number of changes have occurred. The site was rezoned in early 2017 to 18 stories. Later that year, GACA took the City of Ottawa and the Taggart Group to the Ontario Municipal Board (now the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) to challenge the zoning. This resulted in an agreement between GACA and the Taggart Group to decrease the height to 16 stories and provide larger building setbacks, to plant more trees, and push most vehicular access to Bronson, moving pedestrian access to Cambridge S. In 2018, the lot was severed, creating its current civic address of 275 Carling, and in 2019, the Katasa Group purchased the lot from Taggart.

Last fall, Katasa received site plan approval for its vision to build a 16-storey, 168-unit retirement residence on the site. Unlike a long-term care home or nursing home, which provides 24-hour nursing and personal care for seniors who need help with day-to-day activities, this will be a retirement residence. The project will provide independent supported living, which means that residents will have some supports in place, such as personal hygiene or meal preparation, but will be able to live independently.

There will be a variety of units in the building, from studio to two-bedroom, with many units having their own balconies. The ground floor will include services such as pharmacy and hair and nail salon, which will also be available to the community, as well as a doctor’s and nurse’s office, kitchen and dining room. The following two floors, which are also located in the building podium, will have mostly studio, but some one-bedroom units. The floors include a nursing station, communal dining area (some of these units aren’t equipped with full kitchens), as well as a bathing area in addition to the in-unit private bathrooms. The fourth floor is where the majority of the building amenities will be. These include a pool, gym, yoga studio, theatre, chapel, party room and café, as well as an outdoor terrace. The tower contains traditional apartment-style units. A mix of one and two bedroom, they include full kitchens and private balconies – with the exception of some of the units on the 16th floor, which do not have balconies.

While most of the existing trees on the site will be removed, including a large number of maple trees along Clemow, where possible, native plants will be included in the plan, such as ironwood, hackberry, honey locust and service berry.

As per the agreement with Taggart, the primary vehicular access will remain on Bronson, including for service, loading and delivery vehicles. Secondary vehicular access will be on Clemow, and the main pedestrian access on Cambridge S. The building will include five levels of underground parking to accommodate 181 vehicle and 49 bike parking spaces, with the underground lot connecting to the neighbouring property at 265 Carling to allow for vehicular access from Bronson.

The construction itself is expected to last for 32 months – about two and a half years. The first phase will take approximately six months and will include remediation as well as excavation for the underground parking. This will commence with the demolition of the existing undergound garage on the 265 Carling site and will likely involve blasting operations. Another six months will be required to finish the underground parking structure before commencing with the rest of the build.

Change is definitely afoot in the Glebe Annex.