Updated: Sep 1, 2020
I first noticed the site about 10 years ago when a friend of mine moved into a new development nearby. I was always surprised with how quickly you can access the best parts of Ottawa using various routes and felt the area was going to see significant investment from developers in the near future. At the time, I was a commercial real estate agent and felt that the site was an exceptional development opportunity to provide quality housing so close to the downtown core. Long story short - the school had no interest in selling the property at that time. When the Ahlul-Bayt Islamic School listed the property, my partner Pierre and I quickly started doing research on the area and the site itself. Collectively, we felt that we could help improve the neighbourhood by adding an exciting new development on a large parcel of land without reducing the supply of affordable housing in the area, which seemed like a win-win. We felt that the appropriate use would be a high density low-rise townhome development that would complement the recently developed property to the north. We took a collaborative approach with the vendor to ensure that we could provide flexibility in closing, to avoid the school having to transition to a new facility in the middle of a school year. This provided us with time to conduct some preliminary due diligence in terms of project design and consultation with City of Ottawa officials and the community association to solicit feedback on the initial concept. The concept for the project is to deliver a range of freehold townhomes that appeal to different segments of the market, be it single professionals, couples, young families, or downsizers. A combination of back-to-back townhomes, rear-lane townhomes and traditional townhomes provide future residents with options that may best suit their needs. Those looking for the most affordable and low maintenance options may be attracted to the back-to-back townhomes, while those looking for some extra exterior space may be attracted to the traditional townhomes. We are working with Hobin Architecture to ensure that all of these layouts are practical and make the best use of the space. One of the major drivers of the design was to respect the integration of the building into the existing properties surrounding the site. The traditional townhomes were design to ensure that rear yards from the new townhomes backed onto the rear yards for any adjacent property, providing a well designed transition. Equally as important was to create the most attractive streetscape possible along Baribeau Street and Landry Street. The architect suggested having parking accessed from the rear of the properties fronting onto these streets. This provides uninterrupted sidewalks along these two important streets connecting the project to the surrounding community. Upon seeing the design concepts, we quickly agreed that this was the correct approach.
Types of Townhomes
With the school vacating the property at the end of July, the development team is working hard to ensure the safety and security of the building. The doors and windows have been secured and we are actively monitoring the site to ensure the safety of the Vanier community. We have expedited our plan to remediate the property with work starting early September. Following the abatement process, we will be applying for a demolition permit to remove the building. Once the building is removed, we will ensure that the site is properly secured and monitored moving forward.