Monday, October 21, 2013

Huge Redevelopment proposed for VANIER

OTTAWA — The owner of Eastview Plaza by the Rideau River in Vanier wants to turn it into an office and condo development of nearly a million square feet.

The redevelopment application from Osgoode Properties lines up with the new vision for the east-side district that city council’s planning committee approved earlier this week: it’s a high-profile “gateway” into Vanier at the foot of the Cummings Bridge that deserves something ambitious with striking architecture.

Osgoode’s exact designs are still being worked out, though its application calls for “decidedly modern” buildings. It wants to construct condo towers of 27 and 24 storeys, an 11-storey building that could be either condominiums or offices, and include spiffed-up stores at ground level to replace the big parking lot that defines the kite-shaped piece of property now. Its proposal goes to some trouble to scorn the buildings it wants to replace: they “struggle to address the geometry of the streets,” some are “isolated,” they’re bad for Montreal Road as a traditional main street, nearby government offices “loom,” landscaping is “pinched off.”

The proposal will fix all that, Osgoode promises, by pulling in enough new residents to support local retailers and creating an attractive enough place that bigger-scale stores that appeal beyond their own neighbourhoods will want to move in. It’ll need some surface parking for impulse shoppers but most of the current plaza’s parking spots will be moved underground. A new public street cutting across the lot will break up the lot and be built for walkability, as the city desires, Osgoode promises.

The rezoning request is less formed than many, but the new Vanier plan calls for a lot of negotiation among developers, existing property owners and the city on sites like this one, and that can get started now that a formal application is in. There’s no date set for the planning committee to take a vote.

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