Booth St Complex update to GACA residents – June 2017

Please find below a summary of both the common elements and different options presented at the public meeting held by Canada Lands Company in its early proposal for the redeveloped Booth St Complex. At the moment, there are no specific proposes uses or tenants for the buildings, but rather there are plans for the size and distribution of proposed structures. Details such as possible tenants, size of commercial spaces, etc. will come later. Here is a link to the presentation from May 31st,  which includes preliminary concepts and the information boards available at the meeting:

CLC asked those who attended which option they preferred, or which combination of options. Members were also asked what elements of which option they liked the best, and whether they had any other suggestions to share. They are still accepting comments. Feel free to write to them at with your vote or recommendations. If you write by mid June, they will be able to incorporate your comments into a report they are preparing for the architects. Comments can be received, however, all the way up to mid-July – they are just more likely to be included in the CLC report to the architect if received quickly.


Summer 2017 CLC will continue refining the plan. The plan will include zoning (to include commercial/residential designations and height), heritage designation information and architectural design guidelines.

October 2017

CLC will present its final plan to the public

Early 2018

CLC will begin the approvals process with the City of Ottawa. As part of this, they will present the plan to the Urban Design Review Panel (an independent advisory panel of volunteer professionals who provide an objective peer review of both capital and private sector development projects throughout the City’s Design Priority Areas. )   This panel’s feedback will be used as guidance for city planning staff

Mid-late 2018 (TBC)

CLC will begin its marketing plan. This will include outreach to possible tenants in order to see what kind of businesses may be interested in being in this space. Possible zoning approvals, delivery dates and occupancy dates will not be clear enough for retailers to make informed decisions prior to this point.  (For those asking ‘when will we know if we’ll get a grocery store?’ – this will be the beginning of that conversation.)

One thing to note is that this is not like the Lebreton or Lansdowne developments, where proposals were spearheaded by the private sector. Those came in with proposals of companies, uses (hockey arena, etc.) to shape the zoning request. Those proposals dictated the size of buildings and their uses. This is being built from the ground up, so the opposite will occur – zoning will set the stage for possible tenancy and land uses. This is also more complicated because the heritage buildings may limit some of the sizes of the potential spaces, unlike Lansdowne and Lebreton which were nearly blank canvasses. Thus, CLC estimates that unlike Lansdowne, this site is unlikely to house national/international businesses (many of us would see that as a positive!).

Realistically, it will be about 5 years before developers start breaking ground, given all that has to happen.

Concepts common to all options

  • While not indicated, parking is included, particularly for residents of the towers. However, it is planned to put the parking underground (like the Lansdowne Park model)
  • Vehicular access will be restricted from the heart of the site – most of the paths shown are meant to be walking/biking paths.  The proposals include access for deliveries and for residents to park, etc. but try to minimize the amount of vehicular traffic through the site
  • Each option has at least one building that could function as a grocery store. (These possibilities are putty coloured ‘new building medium’ indicated underneath the towers and are expected to be 3-6 stories.) The architects and CLC feel that a smaller format grocery store (like a Metro) might fit the space better than something like a Loblaws, however.
  • The tall buildings have a range of possible heights (indicated) – a market study will be done to try to focus this somewhat, but the exact height may depend on a number of issues such as market conditions, and not be completely determined until later. This will be narrowed down however, prior to requesting zoning for the site.
  • The tall buildings are expected to be mixed use – commercial on the ground floor, but also potentially townhouses. The towers themselves are likely to be mixed residential/office space
  • The heritage buildings are likely to maintain their current exterior (ie – not become just a façade, or become the base of another building as we have seen in Centretown, for instance). The cost of retrofitting and refurbishing will probably make them  too expensive to be used for residential purposes, so that other than potential loft space, they are likely to be commercial or possibly office spaces
  • Just north of the most northerly heritage buildings, there is a public walkway that is the restoration of a historic street that used to be in that location
  • The City is supportive of city-owned park space (dark green) – the smaller green squares are more likely to be privately owned  spaces that may include seating, trees, etc. (privately owned public spaces)
  • Due to community demand, all options include keeping the smoke stack, even though it was not a designated heritage building. The design will try to maintain visual connection between the smoke stack and the neighbouring community.
  • It is likely that the site would be developed by different developers – unlike Claridge and Lebreton Flats, for instance – which is why heritage and architectural design guidelines will be important, so there’s a cohesive look (signage, lighting, pathways, etc.) across the project.
  • All options were designed with the idea to minimize shadow effect and wind tunnel effect in mind.

Option 1

  • This responds to the request to ‘top load’ the buildings of largest density closer to the Queensway, thus freeing up the southern end for things such as a fairly  large park
  • The density of the buildings near the Queensway could possibly serve as a noise buffer for the rest of the development
  • One advantage of a southerly park is that it would be in the flattest part of the land, and would also be at the lowest point, serving as drainage
  • The park is relatively unencumbered by tall buildings, making this an open, accessible site that would be in between the three communities (Little Italy, the Glebe Annex and the redeveloped Booth St Complex). It’s also the furthest from the noise of the Queensway
  • A disadvantage of the park in this location is its proximity to ‘dead spaces’ such as the NR Can parking lot to the south, and NR Can office buildings to the East. This has the largest security concerns – there are fewer ‘eyes on’ in the evenings and it’s more of an unanimated part of the development. (To gauge the size, the park would be located in footprint that’s currently mostly used as a parking lot.)
  • Because the density is at the north end of the site, the most valuable heritage buildings may have a sense of being ‘squeezed out’ by the surrounding towers – this does the least to maintain the ‘campus’ feel of the site
  • This option has 5 towers – the other two have 4

Option 2

  • This option has the park in the middle of the development, providing the option of better interaction between the key heritage buildings and the park. The park is slightly larger in this option as compared to option 1.
  • A central park space avoids the ‘dead zone’ possibility of option 1, putting it inside a more lively, active zone.
  • This option keeps a campus feel in and around the heritage buildings.
  • The tower to the north is linked to what is envisaged as stacked townhouses.
  • The west end of the park will continue over the roof of a building in order to keep it a flat plain over the width of the property. (There will be approximately a storey and a half building on Rochester St in order to line the roofline up with the park.)
  • The white square on the top represents a glass roofed building – which will serve as an architectural ‘beacon’ at night. This could be the dome of an elevator that will take people from the ground floor to the park level or something similar.
  • This option loads the majority of the density to its southern end. As this abuts parking space and work spaces, this will have relatively minor impacts on the neighbouring community (except those on Rochester St.)
  • The south end of Option 2 will have a covered archway for pedestrian access as a pedestrian gateway
  • The large amount of medium height building space permits some concentrated commercial uses potentially in the southwest quadrant.

Option 3

  • The most notable feature is that the park space will be cut in two. This may limit the creation of a larger field (such as a baseball diamond or soccer pitch), but may allow for more intimate and creative uses – one could be dedicated to landscaped sitting areas and splash pads, with the other containing play structures, for instance. This option may also be more likely to invite multigenerational uses of the park space as the ‘traditional’ large green field park space is not a viable option.
  • Because the parks are in the middle of high density, lively areas, they are likely to be safer, with more eyes on, and well-used.
  • The high density buildings are peppered through the site – so that there is no single concentration of towers.
  • As in option 2, the tower to the north is linked to what is envisaged as stacked townhouses.

About Author