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waterloowarrior
Feb 28, 2008, 10:44 PM
http://www.mattrichling.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/tribeca-outdoor-sign.jpg


City, developer race to approve Portrait Gallery project
Jake Rupert The Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Ottawa developer and the city are racing against the clock to approve a project that includes a stand alone Portrait Gallery of Canada.

Claridge Homes has filed an application with the city for two 26-storey residential towers and a gallery designed by a leading architect to be built in a current parking lot between Lisgar, Nepean and Metcalfe streets in the heart of the downtown core.

The application and rezoning process usually take up to a year, but with the federal government's April 16 deadline for bids to host the gallery looming, the process is being crunched into to a matter of weeks.

"We have to be ready by that deadline, so things are moving quickly," said Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes, whose ward the project is in. "I think it's a great location for the portrait gallery, and it would be in its own building, not in the bottom floors of some office building or something like that.

"I think the towers are a little tall :rolleyes:, but I think it's a good plan for the gallery, and it would be a great asset for that area and the city."

Preliminary plans by the company would see the two towers fronting on to Nepean Street opposite a multi-storey parking garage and kitty corner to the 27-storey Place Bell Canada building.

The two-storey gallery would front on to Metcalfe Street and wrap around onto Lisgar Street.

The company will be revealing more details of the project at a public meeting set up by Ms. Holmes at city hall next Wednesday night. This will be followed by a month of refinement and adjustment. The final version of the project is to be put before the planning committee April 8, and city council the next day.

Ms. Holmes said she believes the process will be completed in time to meet the federal deadline, and that it stands a good chance of winning.

Neil Malhotra, of Claridge, said company officials are excited about the opportunity to host the gallery and contribute to the city and country.

He said when the government announced a competition between private developers in nine cities to bid for the right to host the gallery, company officials realized they had an opportunity to do something of importance to the city and its citizens.

"We realized having the gallery in Ottawa is something people in this community care about, that it should happen, and that we had a piece of land that is in a perfect location for it," he said. "It's a rare opportunity to do something like this, and I think we will have a very good chance of winning the competition if we can get everything done on time."

He said he found it hard to believe any other city will find a more appropriate place to put the gallery than on a street which is anchored by Parliament Hill and the Museum of Nature.

"This is probably the best spot in the country for it," he said.

When the federal government announced the competition last fall, three local developers privately expressed interest in making a bid for the gallery.


However, city spokesman Michael Fitzpatrick said Thursday that the Claridge proposal is the only one that has come forward.

He said the city staff will work with the developer on the plan in accordance with a city council motion passed in January designed to assist local bids for the gallery.

Council committed to give developers bidding on the gallery a $431,000 break on development charges, have the city help to prepare the bids, lobby for the bids, and look at helping with advertising and drumming up public support.

The gallery was originally supposed to go into the former United States embassy building on Wellington Street across from the hill, but the Harper government cancelled that project last year, citing escalating costs, then announced the competition.

Ottawa is competing with Vancouver, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary for the right to have the gallery, which is part of Library and Archives Canada.

The move to have a bidding war amongst cities and developers to host the gallery sparked outrage from people who feel it should be in Ottawa along with the rest of the Canada's national institutions. Others feel having a national collection housed in a privately owned building is distasteful and makes the country look bad on the international scene.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008
http://wwuploads.googlepages.com/portraitgalleryproposal.jpg

Claridge may not be the most popular builder, but hopefully this proposal does well, as it will be great to fill up a parking lot and increase the density of the core!

update: artist's conception
http://media.canada.com/b022d713-b6c1-4e60-9e30-86fa9d3dd7f8/elevation%204.jpg
Artist's conception of a proposed high-rise at the corner of Metcalfe and Nepean streets, with a possible site for the National Portrait Gallery at the bottom. Handout from Claridge.

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/b022d713-b6c1-4e60-9e30-86fa9d3dd7f8/aerial.jpg
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=933f84d6-a7c5-4675-9fc7-e6eacf40d44d&k=65329




edit: Here's the Proposal as of October 2009
Discussion starts at p. 14 (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=146738&page=14)

There's been an awful lot of talk and speculation about this site, including a former proposal to include the new National Portrait Gallery, and now we have some more concrete information to work with.

Claridge is proposing to develop the site with a mixed-use building with frontage on Metcalfe, Lisgar and Nepean Streets. The development include two 27-story residential towers along Nepean Street, with commercial/public uses in the lower levels, and townhouses located along Lisgar Street.


The planning rationale, renderings and floorplans are posted here:

http://app01.ottawa.ca/postingplans/appDetails.jsf?lang=en&appId=__7S9MFN


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2725/4060413615_0e4d863140_o_d.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2486/4060413677_f955e6a960_o_d.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2446/4060413769_24dd4e2416_o_d.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2460/4060413853_3f9d2764fd_o_d.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3551/4061156964_2091964391_o_d.jpg

Aylmer
Feb 28, 2008, 10:55 PM
No! not Claridge!

AuxTown
Feb 28, 2008, 11:13 PM
I hope they have renderings soon! Would be nice if they were a bit taller than the Place Bell Canada building just to add some diversity though. When faced with a high-profile project (like 700 Sussex) Claridge has done some pretty nice stuff. Should be an interesting proposal....

Cre47
Feb 28, 2008, 11:24 PM
As long as we keep the Portrait Gallery, there's no problem with having Claridge being the developer. Their buildings are not that bad downtown, albeit definitely not perfect.

Deez
Feb 29, 2008, 1:07 AM
This would be a great parking lot to hit the dust. The whole twin tower scheme is starting to get a little old though. Can't wait to see what they come up with.

harls
Feb 29, 2008, 1:30 AM
Interesting... can't wait to see further details.

ElChancho
Feb 29, 2008, 2:22 AM
this is big news

cityguy
Feb 29, 2008, 2:59 AM
Hopefully this"leading architect"will build a new landmark building.

Kitchissippi
Feb 29, 2008, 3:20 AM
So that's the kind of carrot it takes to catch Diane Holmes. I wonder how she'll react if the Portrait Gallery bid fails and Claridge decides to go ahead with the towers?

If this comes true, I hope they turn Metcalfe back into a two-way street.

Mille Sabords
Feb 29, 2008, 4:03 AM
Let's see what Claridge proposes. The concept is a very good one.

SFUVancouver
Feb 29, 2008, 8:41 AM
So I take it the exhaustive search by the Feds to find a home for the National Portrait Gallery has ended?

[edit] just answered my own question with a re-read of the article.

When does Ottawa decide on the winner of the competition?

ajldub
Feb 29, 2008, 9:48 AM
Don't worry everybody, if it looks like shit the NCC will chip in to make it look nicer... that's the way things get done around here! But I agree, let's see what they are proposing first. The location is great anyway; another major attraction on Metcalfe would make that street much more attractive.

clynnog
Feb 29, 2008, 1:20 PM
So that's the kind of carrot it takes to catch Diane Holmes. I wonder how she'll react if the Portrait Gallery bid fails and Claridge decides to go ahead with the towers?

If this comes true, I hope they turn Metcalfe back into a two-way street.

She did say it was a little too tall. Personally, I'd be amazed if all of the City Dep'ts and outside technical agencies can all review the plans in time and meet this tight timeline. I don't mean to sound like a naysayer but the timeline has disaster written all over it.

harls
Feb 29, 2008, 2:05 PM
Did anyone see Brigil's proposal for the Portrait Gallery in Hull? 12 storeys, glass.. pic is in Le Droit, I'll try to dig it up.

harls
Feb 29, 2008, 2:16 PM
There's a better picture in the paper than this one.. it's been cut off.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3107/2300348394_b5b06c3e5a_o.jpg

AuxTown
Feb 29, 2008, 3:57 PM
I really think we should make a statement with this tower(s) and its museum podium. Here are some interesting designs I found on the web that I think would be great for this spot.

http://www.empirepropertyventure.com/img/floor_plan/State-Tower.jpg
KL, Malaysia

http://realestate.theemiratesnetwork.com/developments/dubai/business_bay/images/one_business_bay.jpg
Dubai

http://www.estatesdubai.com/uploaded_images/the-plaza-aldua-770311.gif
Dubai

http://www.dezeen.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/timeres_exterior-2.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2397/2035368682_ebd9dbba5e_o.jpg
Bangkok

bradnixon
Feb 29, 2008, 4:33 PM
I lived right across this parking lot on Lisgar for a couple years.

This idea is a good one- it would be great to see something go on that lot which is such a waste.

However, I hope that they'll follow the Downtown Urban Design Strategy that recommended that a small park be created at the southwest corner of this lot (right at Metcalfe & Lisgar). You can see it on this picture: http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/planning/community_plans/completed/urban_design/images/ottawa_map_lg.jpg. It's a bit small, but it's just below and to the left of the #31. I'm thinking something like what they did at the Hudson, but a little bigger- maybe a fountain with some benches around it.

100% lot coverage at that location would be a bit much and that part of downtown is really lacking in open space.

rodionx
Feb 29, 2008, 4:36 PM
So I take it the exhaustive search by the Feds to find a home for the National Portrait Gallery has ended?

[edit] just answered my own question with a re-read of the article.

When does Ottawa decide on the winner of the competition?

Perhaps it's because I'm an exiled British Columbian myself, but this pretty much illustrates why I'm skeptical that Ottawa will ever win the competition for a Portrait Gallery. Ottawa is perceived in most of Canada, especially the West, as part and parcel of the federal government. That's why federal office buildings have to be built on the cheap. If the Conservatives rejected Vancouver, Quebec City, Halifax, and so forth in favour of Ottawa, it would look really, really bad. As I stated last year in a different thread, they will probably grant the Portrait Gallery to a city that will yield them some political payback, as with any other large federal contract.

Which is not to say that it isn't good news that Claridge wants to build condos downtown.

bradnixon
Feb 29, 2008, 4:42 PM
When does Ottawa decide on the winner of the competition?

I have a real problem with the federal government being called "Ottawa" when the City is NOT the federal government and most of the politicians making these decisions are not even from here.

In fact, lately, it seems all the feds do is crap on the City of Ottawa. Even the minister representing Ottawa (Baird) seems to enjoy screwing us over.

movebyleap
Feb 29, 2008, 5:24 PM
Ha Ha!

I actually came here to see how much of an outcry there would be about CLARIDGE being the lone firm wanting to build the gallery! (Not that much, as it seems!

Personally I am very skeptical about ANYTHING by Claridge. And, pray tell, who is this "leading architect"? Someone from the Claridge staff, perchance?

Finally, to O-Town Hockey: DREAM ON!! (I know I do!)

bradnixon
Feb 29, 2008, 5:49 PM
Ha Ha!
Personally I am very skeptical about ANYTHING by Claridge. And, pray tell, who is this "leading architect"? Someone from the Claridge staff, perchance?


Claridge seems to be using DCYSA (http://www.dcysa.ca/) for a lot of their recent projects.... they are a very good firm IMHO.

waterloowarrior
Mar 1, 2008, 5:45 AM
A portrait gallery with 'a certain panache'
Maria Cook
Ottawa Citizen
Friday, February 29, 2008

The architects for a proposed portrait gallery in Ottawa aim to create an "iconic and highly visible" gallery that at this early stage looks like a piece of sculpture or origami.

The gallery would be located at the base of two slender 27-storey condo towers that have "a certain panache," says Nathan Godlovitch, senior architect with Dan S. Hanganu Architects of Montreal.

"We're trying to do a project that's world-class," he says.
Claridge Homes, an Ottawa developer, has filed an application with the City of Ottawa for the project to be built in what is now a parking lot bounded by Lisgar, Nepean and Metcalfe streets in the heart of downtown.

The city is fast-tracking the application and rezoning in order for the proposal to meet the federal government's April 16 deadline for bids to host the Portrait Gallery of Canada.

While recognizing that the design is at a conceptual stage, two leaders of Canada's architecture community are critical.

"What can be said of the tie-dyed, two-dimensional folded planes beneath what is essentially a developer-driven concept?" says Ian Chodikoff, editor of Canadian Architect magazine and an Ottawa native.

"Appearing to mimic the facile geometries of (American architect) Daniel Libeskind, this ill-conceived and under-scaled massing for our new portrait gallery adds little more public life to the corner of Metcalfe and Nepean than a government-commissioned public sculpture by a third-rate artist living in an under-represented region of the country."

A portrait gallery is too important a national cultural institution to be housed in an "anonymous condominium tower," he adds.

Marco Frascari, director of the Carleton University architecture school, says problems include building height, "cacaphonous rhythms" of the windows and greenery on terraces that suggest a "pseudo-sustainability."

In addition, the imagery misleads the real dimensions of the building.

"Nothing there captures the genius of the place nor does it say 'gallery,'" he adds. "The bottom piece is just a filler."

Mr. Godlovitch says a successful example of a commercial development combined with a public gallery is the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

"It's not a new idea to combine these functions, but it's a new idea in Canada."

He says the architects are working to make the gallery something special and to differentiate it from the commercial building. They hope to make the building fit well in its context.

Preliminary plans would see the two towers fronting onto Nepean Street opposite a multi-storey parking garage, kitty-corner to the 27-storey Place Bell Canada building. The two-storey gallery would front onto Metcalfe Street and wrap around onto Lisgar Street.

Although it is one building, the gallery and the towers are to have their own lobbies and parking entrances and function independently.

The 55,000-square-foot gallery is designed with two six-metre (20-foot) storeys and would be entered through a triangular public plaza.

The high-rise towers are designed to float on top of the gallery and form a portal that hangs over the plaza, creating a protected space about 23 metres (75 feet) high. The towers feature a large roof garden at the fourth storey and their mass is divided so they are "not monolithic," says Mr. Godlovitch.

The intended materials are "lots of glass," steel and masonry as well as green roofs.

The building is intended to provide a transition between the low-rise neighbourhood to the south and the high-rise commercial district to the north.

"We tried to develop a project that picks up the height of the north and then steps down to relate more to the south," he says.

Dan Hanganu is a highly respected architect known for tough modern buildings that suit the denser fabric of Montreal, but have not yet proved popular in Ottawa.

He is the architect of 700 Sussex Dr., the controversial condominium building at the intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive that replaced the Daly Building, as well as future housing at LeBreton Flats.

The current project is unusually high for Ottawa and will require a zoning change. Most of the area has a maximum permitted height of around 12 stories.

The preliminary scheme looks as though it borrows ideas from 700 Sussex and Mr. Hanganu's submission for the human-rights museum in Winnipeg, which was among the finalists for that project. Mr. Godlovitch denies any connection.

Claridge will be revealing more details of the project at a public meeting at City Hall next Wednesday night.

The final version of the plan is to be put before city council's planning committee April 8, and before city council the next day.

© Ottawa Citizen


http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/b022d713-b6c1-4e60-9e30-86fa9d3dd7f8/aerial.jpg

http://media.canada.com/b022d713-b6c1-4e60-9e30-86fa9d3dd7f8/elevation%204.jpg
CREDIT: Artist's conception of a proposed high-rise at the corner of Metcalfe and Nepean streets, with a possible site for the National Portrait Gallery at the bottom. Handout from Claridge.

CREDIT: Site plan for Ottawa's bid for the new national portrait gallery. Courtesy of Claridge Homes.Its architects refer to a 'world-class project,' but critics dismiss it as ill-conceived and under-scaled. Portrait hangings are a long way off. Maria Cook reports.

SFUVancouver
Mar 1, 2008, 8:45 AM
I have a real problem with the federal government being called "Ottawa" when the City is NOT the federal government and most of the politicians making these decisions are not even from here.

In fact, lately, it seems all the feds do is crap on the City of Ottawa. Even the minister representing Ottawa (Baird) seems to enjoy screwing us over.

You know I have never stopped to think about how it would feel to fail to make that differentiation. "Ottawa" and "The Federal Government of Canada" are synonyms in the local vernacular and really no different than using "Washington" in place of "The Federal Government of the United States", or "Victoria" for the "Provincial Government of BC".

But at the same time you are also not wrong. I really do assume that Ottawa is a company town for the Federal Government and that it is a foregone conclusion that anything of national significance will be located there, and I really don't have a problem with that either. It is interesting to hear that because people like me inherently assume that the game is rigged and the Federal Government will select the City of Ottawa (see, learning) for the prize, that actually weakens the likelihood that the Ottawa bids will be considered fairly.

It is always interesting how a bit of local insight can change your own preconceptions. Thank you and I meant no offense.

ajldub
Mar 1, 2008, 9:15 AM
SFU if this thing is rigged in anyone's favour it is the city of Calgary...

eemy
Mar 1, 2008, 6:43 PM
SFU if this thing is rigged in anyone's favour it is the city of Calgary...

Although, the government might be reluctant to play into everyone's expectation that the game is rigged in Calgary's favour.

ajldub
Mar 1, 2008, 11:35 PM
I think it's too small potatoes to be really scandalous porkbarrelling, and every PM does something for his riding, it's tradtion almost... I'd love to see this in Ottawa though, don't get me wrong. I thought it would be a great way to rehabilitate some of the old mill buildings around Chaudiere falls. Especially those stone ones on the Quebec side that are being held up by exterior I-beams. But I'll take a Claridge mess on Metcalfe if it means we get another nice tourist attraction and the collection stays in Ottawa...

sgera
Mar 4, 2008, 5:16 AM
the portrait gallery belongs here in Ottawa....i like the height of the Claridge proposal....not sure about the white facade.....considering that the average Claridge building looks 30% worse then the rendering....I guess it would look half decent....i'm just glad that a developer stepped up to make this a reality...we need to fight as a city to protect our right to host national museums.....we are often too conservative in Ottawa; almost too educated at times...there is a dramatic change occuring in the architecture of new buildings in ottawa....look at the byward market! I love the new look of Ottawa....it may not be as modern as Vancouver, Toronto, or Calgary...but its a step in the right direction. I'm staying at the Westin as I write this. I'm looking at 90 George from my window...and its growing on me. I love the tailored pinnacle....very New York....I love the UOttawa building...with its curve...I love 160 Laurier...apartment complex....and even the Claridge Plaza building with its aqua glass facade is adding to the view (especially the height)...things are looking up for us ottawa....from an architectural perspective and the livelyhood of the market with all the condos going up...love that people want to live downtown...can't wait to walk the streets 10 years from now!

Aylmer
Mar 4, 2008, 12:23 PM
That was touching and inspiring like no post has everbeen (no joke).

:):):):):):):)

hughpetrie
Mar 16, 2008, 7:34 PM
to:forum2@skyscraperpage.com & others (city hall: Diane Hughes, Mayor Larry O’Brien)

This may not be appreciated for being too much truth and I won't be surprised if it's deleted by the moderator. So be it if that's the case.
--------------------------
Regarding the proposed new 27 story condo with space for the would-be Canadian federal Portrait Gallery, in Ottawa on the block bounded by Lisgar, Metcalfe, and Nepean streets.

I grew up in the block that is about to be trashed for this standard junk building. The block was a beautiful and relatively quiet place with huge trees
in the 1931-44 era in which I knew it. Some of the old buildings are quiet by construction quality, but few if any of the new buildings that have been built have been built with any consideration of real quiet, peaceful, housing - at any price. Just good looking. Luxury has become a meaningless word of no reliability. No real progression to better.

And now another Godless noisy condo, trash tenement will be built to Canada's garbage building code.(Just Google 'noisy condo' to see the thousands of complaints - up to 1.8 million pages at one point last year - now cut by Google for whatever reason.)

More hell on earth junk. A waste of money.

And a 'Portrait Gallery' as an excuse to get the building height restriction changed on a location after 40 years of holding tight for a maximum of 12
stories.

While I agree that the height restriction has been
bizarrely backwards for the purpose of keeping a view open to the parliament buildings, what a Godless crock this whole affair has become.

Start building decent housing and end the fraud of needing 'Peace Officers' to beat people into quiet submission.

Enough crap 'affordable housing' has been built. It's time to build quality, quiet, private units and not
this horrid waste. Every year millions of litres of fuel are wasted as 20% of renters move - looking for a decent quiet place to live no doubt, but this cheap trash society refuses to build better, with stupid reasoning.

And the owners of old noisy places have been moving to convert to condos to get rid of the hard to manage noisy junk and put it on the backs of individuals who have no idea how they are being ripped off - until it's too late. Caveat Emptor.

And you wonder why so many are using drugs - with alcohol one of the worst? Idiots!
:yuck:

Aylmer
Mar 16, 2008, 9:32 PM
WELCOME TO SSP!

:):):banana: :cheers: :notacrook: :banaride: :blush: :happypunk: :grouphug: :eeekk: :5: :bowtie: :drunk: :hi: :hug: :upload_71700:



This comment may be deleted for having too much truth:


NIMBY COMMENT (Nimbyius commentĩ): ·Nnĩ-mb-ĩi · Cā'u(mm) 'nt'· : A comment without constructive comments, remarks.


Be (Aylmer)Optimistic.

:)

rodionx
Mar 16, 2008, 10:29 PM
As for 'standard junk building,' well, it's Claridge. The thing is, though, that the place is a parking lot right now. No old houses, no trees, just empty concrete. Crappy architecture or not, the project will get people living on that block again.

That being said, I'd have to agree that the proposed building is crazy big for Metcalfe and Lisgar, especially when you consider that it's highly unlikely ever to include a Portrait Gallery. If they want to build something on that scale, let them put it up by the Glue Pot. A Hudson Park-type project, however, would be perfect for that corner.

Aylmer
Mar 16, 2008, 10:53 PM
I agree that the design is (If you are no old enough, this word will be invisible)
but I think that the height is not bad.

A art-Deco style building would really fit nicely...

Why must you torment us Claridge?

:)

ajldub
Mar 17, 2008, 10:38 AM
Does Claridge own the Glue Pot parking lot?

rodionx
Mar 17, 2008, 3:45 PM
Dunno who owns that lot. Just wishful thinking. Maybe I've played too much SimCity, but I just want to pick up that whole proposal, add a few more stories, and drop it right next to the Glue Pot. Claridge could put the biggest, ugliest building it wanted there, and it would still improve the area.

harls
Mar 17, 2008, 4:34 PM
I don't think any developer owns that lot next to the Glue Pot... not yet, anyway.

ajldub
Mar 17, 2008, 6:01 PM
Probably Tony Sarashebi.

Kitchissippi
Mar 17, 2008, 6:07 PM
Well, Claridge did put up the Pinnacle not too far from there and it's ugly enough:
http://www.claridgehomes.com/s/ottawa/condos/pinnacle/images/welcome/welcome1_11.jpg

Mille Sabords
Mar 18, 2008, 1:21 AM
Then again, Hanganu is no shabby name as far as architects go. He said in an interview that he was hurt by people's reaction and that the sketches were conceptual and far from the finished product. I've had dreams of projects for that same parking lot for years now but as far as height it's not an inappropriate location for tall buildings (even Diane Holmes says so!)

If we win the Gallery, I'm willing to bet that there will be considerably more work on the design. After all, it will help Claridge sell at higher prices if the project can pack the double punch of being atop a national cultural institution (how's that for mixed use), plus, be a striking design landmark. Sure, Claridge has popped out some banal buildings - Pinnacle being one of them. Those can be understood by their target clientele too - Pinnacle is not a luxury building, it's a middle-of-the-road condo. This would be their next 700 Sussex.

hughpetrie
Mar 18, 2008, 11:42 PM
Well I'm pleased I seem to have stirred some reflection and no real outrage at my views of lack of quality in regard to soundproofing.

Having spent the first 13 years of life walking, peddling my peddle car, and generally enjoying the then beauty of the block I don't really have any objection to a couple of 27 story buildings on the block. It certainly can't outdo the Bell building for bulk and presence and the reality that it has sat so-called empty as a parking lot for most of 40 years it is well past time for action.

But remember that all those cars that park there will continue to need a parking garage right there, along with all the new tenants. It will take a big hole in the ground to fulfill that need, though I don't see that as a problem.

But I doubt Mr. Hanganu has ever lived in one of the buildings built to our deficient building code and experienced the high degree of noise in any of the modern buildings - especially where steel studs are used - a horrid noise transferring microphone quality. I've lived in 59 places by the time I was 67 (now 76) at which point I left the city for the country and better quiet and privacy. My last address in Ottawa in 1998 was 257 Lisgar and a bad experience. My first address ever was 179 Lisgar at the South East corner of that building lot. In my 20's I lived a short time at 225 Lisgar, the Algonquin Apartment Hotel - one of the quietest of all the 59 places I've lived.

Unfortunately there seems to be a world wide conspiracy to build soundproof deficient buildings. This society ain't got no couth, to put it in street terms.

But I'm not likely to be around to ever experience whatever happens on that block now. I'd like to think it will be one of the first to improve the quality of quiet, peaceful, and private condo buildings. I sure wouldn't put a penny in any of what have been built by anyone in the world without first having the unit tested for those qualities. And I doubt any builder/seller would allow it. They know they are lousy or they're stupid beyond belief.

Aylmer
Mar 19, 2008, 12:20 AM
Welcome to Ottawa mate!

:)

waterloowarrior
Apr 1, 2008, 4:33 AM
staff report zone change

http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2008/04-08/ACS2008-PTE-PLA-0069.htm

note that they are recommending approval of a slightly shorter height than the original proposal

http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2008/04-08/ACS2008-PTE-PLA-0069_files/image004.jpg

clynnog
Apr 1, 2008, 11:43 AM
staff report zone change

http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2008/04-08/ACS2008-PTE-PLA-0069.htm

note that they are recommending approval of a slightly shorter height than the original proposal

http://ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/pec/2008/04-08/ACS2008-PTE-PLA-0069_files/image004.jpg

Likely the 'slightly shorter height' is courtesy of Councillor Holmes.she is notorious for that sort of thing...I remember she had some rather vague comments like that on the James Street Feed Company apartment buliding redevelopment project.

FFX-ME
Apr 1, 2008, 12:11 PM
Ah man!! reduced height, stop acting like pricks Ottawa.

m0nkyman
Apr 1, 2008, 11:04 PM
Councillors comments:

On the issue of the requested increase in maximum building height - I believe that the 27 stories proposed is extreme. The underlying high-profile residential designation in the Centretown Plan calls for a maximum height of 12 stories. I believe that a maximum height of 15-17 stories would provide a transition from the Central Area to the Centretown Heritage Conservation District to the south, while not overwhelming the Metcalfe Street frontage. It should be noted that while Place Bell Canada is a very tall building, this height is all on the Elgin Street side of the property. On the Metcalfe Street side, the current height is only 7 stories, in the parking structure.

27 stories is not extreme. 127 is extreme. 27 is just pushing it a bit. ;)

p_xavier
Apr 6, 2008, 6:40 PM
Proposed portrait-gallery complex too tall, city planners say
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, April 06, 2008
OTTAWA - A project to build two highrise condominium towers along with a National Portrait Gallery in downtown Ottawa should be scaled back because the proposed buildings are too tall for the neighbourhood, City of Ottawa planners say.

On Tuesday, the rushed gallery project approval - on a tight timeline to meet the federal government's inter-city competition for the right to get the gallery - will be at council's planning committee. The next day it will go to city council.

Claridge Homes has hired Montreal architect Dan Hanganu to design the development for a half city block bounded by Metcalfe, Nepean and Lisgar streets. A 55,000-square-foot gallery is designed with two large storeys fronting on Metcalfe Street and wrapping around to Lisgar Street. The gallery would be entered through a triangular public plaza. The condominium towers would be next to Nepean Street, across from the 27-storey Place Bell Canada building.

The city's planners argue in their report that the two 27-storey towers proposed by Claridge Homes and its architect wouldn't properly fit into the neighbourhood and respect the city's official plan. They instead tell city councillors to approve a 20-storey tower behind the gallery and a 24-storey tower farther back.

City planners are also recommending that this zoning approval - allowing higher buildings than the existing 12-storey permitted height - be withdrawn if the Portrait Gallery is not approved and a part of the development. If Ottawa didn't win the right to have the Portrait Gallery, Claridge would have to make a new zoning application at City Hall for any building higher than 12 storeys.

That is a "conditional zoning" approach that may not go over well with the city's developers.

At a recent public meeting on the project, citizens expressed opposition to the height of the project. Mr. Hanganu, whose preliminary sketches of the project have been criticized by some architects, has said people have simplistic negative reactions to tall buildings when they should instead be concerned about whether the architecture of the building is of high quality.

The councillor for the area, Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes, is very keen on the project. She calls it "an exciting opportunity to fill a void which has long blighted the Metcalfe Street landscape." But she argues the 27 storeys proposed is "extreme," and that 15 to 17 storeys would be a better fit.

The city's official plan calls for more residential development in the central parts of Ottawa, and developers are keen to build. But they like to build highrises to get the great views many buyers want.

The city is under intense pressure to get the approvals through for the Claridge project because the federal government allowed only a few months for bids for the National Portrait Gallery. Ottawa is competing with Vancouver, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary for the right to have the gallery, which is part of Library and Archives Canada.

Normal approvals for such a rezoning could take up to a year but, in this case, the process has been condensed to weeks. The city is also contributing a $431,000 break on development charges for the project.

The federal government's deadline for the bids is April 16.


Unbelievable, what's wrong with these people and highrises? It's like they think nobody likes them. The builder even mentioned that height is what is selling.

Aylmer
Apr 6, 2008, 10:46 PM
Yay bungalows!

:)

eemy
Apr 6, 2008, 11:59 PM
Honestly, after a certain point, whether it's 24 or 27 stories makes absolutely no difference at all.

Mille Sabords
Apr 7, 2008, 12:44 AM
Honestly, after a certain point, whether it's 24 or 27 stories makes absolutely no difference at all.

I suspect some politicians, including Holmes, still feel imbued with a righteous mission to punish any temerous developer who dares propose a tall building with a shame tax in the form of asinine and meaningless 3-storey reductions on a 27-storey building. Those people anger me. I mean, who are THEY? Just like that other bright light, Doucet, making aesthetic judgements that are entirely his own about Central as justification of his vote on Council. Like, who are you dude?

Cre47
Apr 7, 2008, 12:47 AM
"The councillor for the area, Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes, is very keen on the project. She calls it "an exciting opportunity to fill a void which has long blighted the Metcalfe Street landscape." But she argues the 27 storeys proposed is "extreme," and that 15 to 17 storeys would be a better fit."

I hope that this promising project will not turn out into the usual uninspiring cube box midrise garbage. Aren't we have enough of this type of junk architecture. Why not throw it at Lebreton Flats then?

rodionx
Apr 7, 2008, 1:57 AM
I agree with Hanganu on the point that the quality of the building is more important than the height. I'm sort of with Holmes, though, on the fact that tall buildings need to be justified. If a building is going to be tall enough to dominate the skyline for a hundred years, then it ought to be good. I say this as someone who has to walk past the Queen Elizabeth Towers every day.

The trade-off with the city should be this: the more you want to exceed the height limit, the higher the quality of your building should be. Remember how quickly opposition to the height of Hudson Park evaporated when they showed the revised design? Even Diane Holmes changed her mind.

The problem is that the proposed design is just not that impressive. I know he's a famous architect and all, but it looks like an overgrown hospital. If it comes down to 27-storey hospitalminium vs. parking lot, I'll take the hospitalminium, but in the meantime, I don't think the city is out of line in making demands of Claridge. Claridge would put a garbage dump in there if they thought they could get away with it. The city should focus on the design, though, not just the height.

c_speed3108
Apr 7, 2008, 3:37 PM
I can understand some objections to height were it is going to compromise the look and feel of a neighbourhood. For example I would not want to own an individual home ( 2 or 3 stories), particularly if it is something I have owned and enjoyed for years and then some developer comes along and want to put up some 10 or 20 story building next door.

The thing with this is you are right beside Place Bell...a HUGE structure. Going high...even really high here will certainly work with the neighbourhood.

AuxTown
Apr 7, 2008, 8:34 PM
:previous:
Exactly! I don't know if Place Bell Canada was a very good decision at the time (in fact, it probably wasn't), but it's huge and it's there so we can't pretend it isn't. For people to show up and talk as if we are putting the Empire State Building in Barhaven is ridiculous! If anything, I think a 20+ storey building at that location will fill in the skyline from a couple of vantage points (both East and South) and it will make Place Bell look much less isolated and awkward. I know one forumer, in particular, has spoken their mind about high rise residential and why they don't like them (i.e. drugs, crime, noise), but I would have to say that the majority of their arguments are false and based on broad (and misplaced) assumptions. If you go to the site where this building is proposed you will see that there is nothing around it but highrises and surface parking lots. For someone to say that it will ruin their neighbourhood dynamic is utter nonsense. What it will do is bring more people to live downtown (taking some cars off the roads) and hopefully it will situate another world-class museum in the heart of the nation's capital.

clynnog
Apr 7, 2008, 9:07 PM
I suspect some politicians, including Holmes, still feel imbued with a righteous mission to punish any temerous developer who dares propose a tall building with a shame tax in the form of asinine and meaningless 3-storey reductions on a 27-storey building. Those people anger me. I mean, who are THEY? Just like that other bright light, Doucet, making aesthetic judgements that are entirely his own about Central as justification of his vote on Council. Like, who are you dude?

Many of these last minute cutbacks in terms of height/setbacks have long ranging ramifications such as having to spec smaller HVAC systems, reconfigure parking/landscaping/grading in areas previously set out for the building. Being on City Council is a real ego boost as these people really think they are 'planning' the City. Going from 27 to 24 storeys will not change the impact of the building at grade level or shadowing etc....its just a way for Holmes et al to meddle in this.....they are good at being back seat drivers.

I'm with you on this one Mille...the sooner municipal councillors get out of urban design and aesthetics issues and concentrate on something that they are able to comprehend (i.e seeing to pothole complaints) the better, AFAIAC.

Aylmer
Apr 7, 2008, 10:39 PM
I think Holmes needs to take that gun out of her buttocks!

:)

movebyleap
Apr 8, 2008, 2:45 AM
Never mind the whole height brouhaha. The bottom line is that this project is butt ugly!! For this reason alone it should not be entered into this farce of a competition!!

eemy
Apr 8, 2008, 3:40 AM
I've kind of got to agree with movebyleap here. The podium hints at the possibilities, and then the tower utterly disappoints.

Bucolic Urbanity
Apr 8, 2008, 5:08 PM
I think Holmes needs to take that gun out of her buttocks!

:)

Another scratch your head comment from AylmerOptimist....where do you come up with this stuff.

Seriously, did the Portrait Gallery project pass as is, with amendments/motions/counter motions, or turned down or some crazy 'only in Ottawa' middle ground that suits nobodies needs.

Aylmer
Apr 8, 2008, 10:17 PM
The design is hiiiidious and we can all agree with that but I think that Holmes(Homes) is rather uptight about height, hence the expression "gun up your ass"...

:)

Jamaican-Phoenix
Apr 9, 2008, 3:37 PM
"gun up your ass"...

Actually, the expression is more along the lines of " Holmes needs to take that stick out of her ass". There's never been anything about a gun... :sly:

c_speed3108
Apr 9, 2008, 3:46 PM
Claridge bites back at city council...


Ottawa's chance for portrait gallery at risk as developer threatens to pull bid
Jake Rupert, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The drive to have the Portrait Gallery of Canada located in Ottawa is in "jeopardy."

After a city committee rejected his wishes last night, an area developer says if council doesn't approve a development to host the gallery on his terms, he will not even bid to have the national institution in the city.

Bill Malhotra is president of Claridge Homes, the only area company bidding to have the gallery in Ottawa, and after yesterday's committee decisions, he says the project is hanging by a thread and council better realize quickly that he is serious.

"This is not a joke. If council does not accept our buildings and our plans, we are out of it, we won't be bidding," he said.

Mr. Malhotra said to make the project work financially, the city must double current residential density limits on the site on Metcalfe Street between Lisgar and Nepean streets, where he wants to build two, 27-storey residential towers and the gallery.

The matter will go to council for a final decision later this month. However, last night, councillors on the city's planning committee rejected the request.

By a vote of six to two, the committee voted to keep the current density rules for the site, meaning the maximum height of the residential towers would be less than half of what the company says it needs.

The committee also voted to make approval of the development contingent on the company winning the right to host the gallery. The company was asking for unconditional approval.

Mr. Malhotra said if that's council's final decision, "we are out of it."

Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes led the charge to reject the company's demands, even though there is public support to have the gallery in Ottawa. She said she was not about to be held hostage and be forced to support a project that might not include the gallery.

She said the company's unconditional demands are "totally inappropriate," and to grant them would mean turning the area "into a totally shaded wind tunnel that would not be a friendly place."

Immediately after the vote, Mayor Larry O'Brien's chief of staff, Eric Lamoureux, sent an e-mail to councillors calling on them to reject the committee's decision and support the city's planning staff recommendations of 20- and 24-storey residential towers on the site.

In the note, he said the committee's decision puts "the entire portrait gallery in Ottawa in jeopardy. The mayor will be advocating for the staff-recommended 20- and 24-storey height buildings. Let's turn this around."

The bid by Claridge Homes was put together and rushed through the city's planning and rezoning process in order to meet a federal government deadline of April 16. That deadline has now been extended to May 16.

The company's plans would see two 27-storey towers fronting Nepean Street, opposite a multi-storey parking garage and kitty corner to the 27-storey Place Bell Canada building. The two-storey gallery would face Metcalfe Street and wrap around onto Lisgar Street.

During the committee meeting, Jim Burghout, Claridge's development manager, said company officials are excited about the opportunity to host the gallery and contribute to the city and country. He said the company is insisting on unconditional approval and the increased density for several solid reasons and urged council to support them.

He said the project is large, so financing partners will have to be found, and lenders don't like conditional approvals due to the uncertainty. He said the company is already taking on risk by going through the bidding process.

"It's up to us to finance, and build it, and basically hand over a finished product," he said.

He said company officials are not trying to use the gallery as leverage to get the development approved.

"Our main interest is to create something special, and ideally, the gallery will be part of it, and if it isn't, we can still do something special," Mr. Burghout said. "We just want to make sure we don't get penalized for trying to do something right. We didn't do this on a lark to get something for nothing."

When the federal government announced the competition last fall, three Ottawa developers privately expressed interest. However, only one came forward, despite the city providing $431,000 in breaks on fees and development charges.

Ottawa is competing with Vancouver, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary for the right to have the gallery, which is part of Library and Archives Canada. It is not known how many other bids are being prepared.

Capital Councillor Clive Doucet said he was disgusted with the whole process. "What's going on here is really double blackmail," he said. "The federal government is blackmailing every city in Canada, and it's a national disgrace. The other blackmail is coming from a local developer who's saying give me 27 storeys in an area zoned for 12 or I won't give you a portrait gallery. It's all disgusting."


© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

Ottawade
Apr 9, 2008, 4:54 PM
I'm gonna have to go with the council. Rushing a building through from one of the most uninspired builders in the city on a prime spot isn't worth it. I have no problems with the height and can't really tell enough about the design from the tiny crappy drawings, but rushing it through under the guise of a portrait gallery and then asking for approval even if they fail the portrait bid is blackmail.

ac888yow
Apr 9, 2008, 5:13 PM
Actually, the expression is more along the lines of " Holmes needs to take that stick out of her ass".

My preferred version of the saying would make it "Holmes needs to take her head out of her ass".

eemy
Apr 9, 2008, 5:23 PM
I'm gonna have to go with the council. Rushing a building through from one of the most uninspired builders in the city on a prime spot isn't worth it. I have no problems with the height and can't really tell enough about the design from the tiny crappy drawings, but rushing it through under the guise of a portrait gallery and then asking for approval even if they fail the portrait bid is blackmail.

I concur. Good riddance to the portrait gallery, it's not worth it.

clynnog
Apr 9, 2008, 5:44 PM
I'm gonna have to go with the council. Rushing a building through from one of the most uninspired builders in the city on a prime spot isn't worth it. I have no problems with the height and can't really tell enough about the design from the tiny crappy drawings, but rushing it through under the guise of a portrait gallery and then asking for approval even if they fail the portrait bid is blackmail.

If the article in the Ottawa Citizen is correct, to give Claridge carte blanche approval on a building designed in a matter of weeks to allow them 2 X density even if they don't get the Portrait Gallery awarded to them is pretty awful. For once, Doucet may be the voice of reason (I may regret that opinion later) in this whole thing.

Was anybody at the PEC meeting that dealt with this. I'm sure Molhatra was steaming along with the Mayor (who doesn't sit on PEC).

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 7:06 PM
The trade-off with the city should be this: the more you want to exceed the height limit, the higher the quality of your building should be. Remember how quickly opposition to the height of Hudson Park evaporated when they showed the revised design? Even Diane Holmes changed her mind.

.

Not true. Holmes only changed her mind because the residents of the Everett hated the design of the Hudson at 12 stories that encompassed the whole block more than the the two towers with a park in the middle.

The city went crawling back to Charlesfort to ask them if they would revert to their original plan.

Holmes is a complete idiot and her objection to any height increase keeps Ottawa from growing into a modern city. It doesn't make any sense to approve 25 storeys in the market and ask for twelve in an area that is a ten minute walk away and already has a Bell building at 27 storeys.

gatt
Apr 9, 2008, 7:10 PM
hard to understand this city sometimes.

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 7:16 PM
hard to understand this city sometimes.

Agree with you there.

If they have a probem with the design they should ask for changes but to limit height and grant only a conditional approval is dumb.

How can you go to market with a project when you know that you could possibly lose 7-10 storeys if the Gallery doesn't go through?

Cre47
Apr 9, 2008, 7:19 PM
They really need to do some clean-up into all of those zoning differnces, obviously it doesn't sense to have all those regulation differences within only a single lot. Being radical, I would abolish all height limits downtown. I would be quite angry to see it leave Ottawa except, if it is the St-Joseph Blvd proposal in Gatineau. I would more angry if it goes to Calgary.

Maybe Claridge should consider Lebreton Flats as an alternative, being close to the War Musuem and potentially other future museums in brand new rather then rotten structures likely the CMST on St-Laurent Blvd in the east end. Maybe at Lebreton, there will be less councillors and NIMBYs complaining about height and even so, opposition would be squashed by the remaining councillors and the mayor.

gatt
Apr 9, 2008, 7:21 PM
a national musem should be in the nation capital.period.

ajldub
Apr 9, 2008, 7:24 PM
The whole thing is bogus. How can you take a national cultural institution seriously when there's a guy barbequing on his patio two floors up? The gallery should go back to the original site on Wellington.

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 7:26 PM
The whole thing is bogus. How can you take a national cultural institution seriously when there's a guy barbequing on his patio two floors up? The gallery should go back to the original site on Wellington.

That would make too much sense.

gatt
Apr 9, 2008, 7:33 PM
The whole thing is bogus. How can you take a national cultural institution seriously when there's a guy barbequing on his patio two floors up? The gallery should go back to the original site on Wellington.

i give you this one.

Ron Mexico
Apr 9, 2008, 7:33 PM
They really need to do some clean-up into all of those zoning differnces, obviously it doesn't sense to have all those regulation differences within only a single lot. Being radical, I would abolish all height limits downtown. I would be quite angry to see it leave Ottawa except, if it is the St-Joseph Blvd proposal in Gatineau. I would more angry if it goes to Calgary.

Maybe Claridge should consider Lebreton Flats as an alternative, being close to the War Musuem and potentially other future museums in brand new rather then rotten structures likely the CMST on St-Laurent Blvd in the east end. Maybe at Lebreton, there will be less councillors and NIMBYs complaining about height and even so, opposition would be squashed by the remaining councillors and the mayor.


From what I heard, there was no complaint of heihgt, at least at the PEC meeting.

If you are not going to put height next to Place Bell, where are you going to put it?

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 7:36 PM
Are you the Ron Mexico? How's your case of herpes?

harls
Apr 9, 2008, 7:38 PM
I would be quite angry to see it leave Ottawa except, if it is the St-Joseph Blvd proposal in Gatineau.

I would be surprised if that St-Joseph proposal were serious. Not a peep from Brigil since that one article in Le Droit over a month ago.

Kitchissippi
Apr 9, 2008, 7:55 PM
I think the perfect location for the Portrait Gallery would be on the lower floors of the Memorial Buildings on Wellington opposite the Archives (which runs the Portrait Gallery). Those buildings have been underused since Veterans Affairs was moved to PEI. It would be nice to have a public use for these buildings, and could even be a good reason to expand Sparks Street Mall westward.

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en-commons/thumb/7/7b/250px-Memorial_Buildings.jpg

The long hallway inside the memorial arch would make a cool gallery space, maybe even for portraits of war heros:
http://www.hanifworld.com/Ottawa/5-Veterans%20Memorial%20Building.jpg

ajldub
Apr 9, 2008, 8:02 PM
:previous:
Man that is a great idea Kitchissippi. It would be cheap for one thing which is always in style when the federal conservatives are spending on culture. I went in that building a few years back for something and the lobby is pretty nice too, marble and brass etc.

rodionx
Apr 9, 2008, 8:05 PM
Not true. Holmes only changed her mind because the residents of the Everett hated the design of the Hudson at 12 stories that encompassed the whole block more than the the two towers with a park in the middle.


It's still a case of design trumping height limits. A thoughtful design for a tall building beat out a bad design for a 12-storey building and got accepted by the neighbours and approved by the city. Claridge's design, conversely, is both tall and ugly. If they change one of those things, they might have a chance. I vote for changing the ugly.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Apr 9, 2008, 8:24 PM
My preferred version of the saying would make it "Holmes needs to take her head out of her ass".

That also works... :haha:

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 10:05 PM
It's still a case of design trumping height limits. A thoughtful design for a tall building beat out a bad design for a 12-storey building and got accepted by the neighbours and approved by the city. Claridge's design, conversely, is both tall and ugly. If they change one of those things, they might have a chance. I vote for changing the ugly.

My point was Holmes didn't get behind it because of design, it's because she backed the lower height and it blew up in her face when the neighbours realized she had screwed them.

She had to back down when they realized their views were going to be even worse. She doesn't give a shit about design or quality.

m0nkyman
Apr 9, 2008, 10:11 PM
Give 'em the full height, but hold out for a design review and make it contingent on getting the gallery. I have no problem with making them work for their money, so long as we make it clear that playing ball will end up making them money. The city is basically saying to them that they won't be allowed to make enough money to make it worth spending the upfront costs of getting the building designed, the museum lobbied for, and all the other up front costs that this thing is going to need.

Dumb.

Tell them that they'll get their density if they win, but demand that it be attractive and that they need to win the museum. How hard is that to negotiate?

MilesDavis
Apr 9, 2008, 11:12 PM
Give 'em the full height, but hold out for a design review and make it contingent on getting the gallery. ...

Tell them that they'll get their density if they win, but demand that it be attractive and that they need to win the museum. How hard is that to negotiate?

When will the gallery winner be announced?

If it's more than a couple of months then Claridge won't bother. You can't go to market with a condo unless you are sure of the density. It makes no sense to sell a 27 storey condo when it could all be taken away from you if the city doesn't win the competition and you lose 10 floors.

ajldub
Apr 13, 2008, 11:21 AM
There's no way Ottawa is going to win this competition, unfortunately. There's an article in the Globe today:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080411.wportrait12/BNStory/Entertainment/home

that mentions the province of Alberta will contribute $40 000 000 to whatever Albertan city wins the gallery. With the Conservatives' love of fiscal prudence trumping national vision again and again I think it's safe to say these portraits are gone and we can continue to enjoy our parking lot on Metcalfe. This REALLY bugs me. It's too bad Chretien didn't put the shovel in the ground on this one before he left office...

kwoldtimer
Apr 13, 2008, 4:27 PM
There's no way Ottawa is going to win this competition, unfortunately. There's an article in the Globe today:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080411.wportrait12/BNStory/Entertainment/home

that mentions the province of Alberta will contribute $40 000 000 to whatever Albertan city wins the gallery. With the Conservatives' love of fiscal prudence trumping national vision again and again I think it's safe to say these portraits are gone and we can continue to enjoy our parking lot on Metcalfe. This REALLY bugs me. It's too bad Chretien didn't put the shovel in the ground on this one before he left office...

I can't say I like the game, but Ottawa certainly won't win if they don't play it. There's no reason why Ontario and Ottawa can't match the Alberta offer if they are serious.

Mille Sabords
Apr 13, 2008, 6:58 PM
:previous: I agree with kwoldtimer. And there is no reason why the 20- and 24-storey height on the proposed towers should stand in the way.

And by the way, Alberta is offering $40 million to do what exactly? Has the Alberta government disclosed the terms of this contribution? Who will receive it, the developer or the gallery? For what purpose - construction, maintenance, moving costs? Who will administer it, the developer or the gallery? Who will be accountable for how that money is used? The Ottawa bid should certainly be asking those questions because this looks like a very hazy type of arrangement.

ajldub
Apr 13, 2008, 11:49 PM
I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Queen's Park would offer one penny towards a federal cultural institution to be located in Ottawa, the way we're getting along these days. The sad thing is how botched this has become, and how pathetic it makes us look as a people who want to be proud of their country and its capital city.

lrt's friend
Apr 14, 2008, 4:18 AM
Am I the only one who finds it offensive that other levels of government are using tax money to effectively bribe the federal government to locate the Portrait Gallery in one city or another. Regardless if its municipal or provincial or federal money, its all still coming from the taxpayer.

ajldub
Apr 14, 2008, 1:48 PM
Why is a provincial government paying for a federal institution? And what kind of policy is shifting costs to provincial and municipal governments when surpluses are running so high? Unbelievable...

p_xavier
Apr 14, 2008, 1:58 PM
Let's all wish that a federal government election will resolve this "issue".

ajldub
Apr 14, 2008, 5:17 PM
That would be great actually. Maybe it could go full circle and just get built where it was supposed to but ten years and way too much cash later, in typical Ottawa style;)

harls
Apr 14, 2008, 9:11 PM
Here's the article in full.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080412.wxportrait12/BNStory/International/

Race narrows to three cities

Developers in Ottawa and now Edmonton have stepped up, while Calgary has put itself in the driver's seat

KATE TAYLOR

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

E-mail Kate Taylor | Read Bio | Latest Columns

April 12, 2008 at 8:22 AM EDT

The race to build a national portrait gallery is emerging as one that reflects current political tensions in the country: In the home stretch, it's Ottawa and Calgary in the lead, but now with Edmonton in a surprise sprint coming up from behind.

The city of Ottawa will vote later this month on a proposal by a private developer to build a home for the gallery at the base of two condo towers that the company hopes to construct on a site it is buying six blocks from Parliament. Meanwhile, the city of Calgary has chosen two prime downtown sites owned by that municipality and is interviewing prospective developers with a view to launching a bid. In Edmonton, a private developer is preparing a bid to include a building for the gallery attached to an office tower that is part of the redevelopment of the downtown Station Lands.

This week, the federal government extended the deadline for bids from April 16 to May 16, after Calgary had sought an extension until June. However, it increasingly appears that only these three cities will come forward, despite some initial interest from developers in Vancouver and Halifax. The scarcity of bids - nine cities in total were invited to compete - reflects the unusual nature of the competition, which invited private developers, rather than civic governments, to take the lead and then round up local support. Ironically, Quebec City, the home of federal Heritage Minister Josée Verner, who has defended the competition as an exercise in democratic decentralization, looks unlikely to be a player. (The other cities were Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.)

The competition was launched last fall, a year after the Conservative government had stopped work on renovations to the former U.S. embassy on Wellington Street in Ottawa, where the previous Liberal government had already spent $11-million to start building a home for the gallery. (The Portrait Gallery of Canada is currently a virtual museum, with a real collection owned by Library and Archives Canada and warehoused in Gatineau, Que.) In most instances where Canadian cultural institutions are housed in mixed developments, the arts group and the city government have worked together to find a suitable private partner. The government's request for proposals turned that proposition on its head, seeking private developers in the nine cities to come forward with schemes to build the gallery that then needed to show local support. In that regard, Edmonton's bid looks like the closest match for the government's odd model: Qualico, a large western commercial and residential developer, is suggesting it will build a three-storey home for the gallery as a "podium" on the 28-storey Epcor office tower it is constructing on the vacant Station Lands at the northwest corner of the downtown core. The bid, which would locate the gallery a block and a half from the performing arts and civic facilities in Churchill Square, is politically supported by the city but has, however, no municipal financial contribution.

In Ottawa, a private developer, Claridge Homes, is also taking the lead, but it still needs city approval for its plan that would almost double the permitted density on a site it owns at the corner of Metcalfe and Lisgar streets, just six blocks from where the gallery was to have been housed originally. If city council, which will vote on the plan April 23, approves it, the developer would be permitted to build a 20-storey tower and a 24-storey tower on a site where zoning would only permit one 27-storey structure. The city, which has already voted to waive up to $430,000 in development fees for whoever builds a portrait gallery, now has to decide if it will trade a large increase in density on the site for the chance to keep a national cultural institution in the capital.

In Calgary, the city is running the show, refashioning the request for proposals as the kind of publicly driven project that is the more common way to build a public institution. It has selected two prime sites where the gallery could be located, both of them currently owned by the municipality. The first is on the west side of the Olympic Plaza, home to city hall, the central library and the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts. The second site is on the downtown side of the Bow River, at the foot of the bridge that leads over to the hip neighbourhood of Kensington. Calgary has already set aside $500,000 for its bid and, as an added boost to either Albertan city, the provincial government has set aside $40-million as a contribution to the gallery once it opens.

The free land and the provincial contribution leave Calgary with a decided edge, says one Ottawa observer. "The federal government is looking for the cheapest gallery possible... ," said Ottawa city councillor Diane Holmes, who does not support the idea of increasing density on the Metcalfe Street site that is located in her ward and expects heated debate at the Ottawa meeting April 23. "It looks like the call for proposals is designed for Calgary: Calgary is providing free land, the development charges will be waived and the government of Alberta is putting up $40-million."

The federal government expects to chose a winner in early October and wants the facility to be completed in the spring of 2012.

harls
Apr 16, 2008, 7:23 PM
I was out for a walk at noon today and I snapped a shot of the proposed site..

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3168/2419499756_42701ac8f5_b.jpg

Cre47
Apr 16, 2008, 7:27 PM
Oh and also, a good way to attract more transit ridership, is to lifted those height restrictions such as that site. A densification of the core will help to attract more ridership to answer the concerns of possible lack of riderships, concerns mentionned by some politicians

ajldub
Apr 16, 2008, 7:27 PM
Something tells me come 2012 that parking lot will look mighty similar to today's photo, Harlie...

AuxTown
Apr 16, 2008, 7:46 PM
Diane Holmes, who does not support the idea of increasing density on the Metcalfe Street site that is located in her ward and expects heated debate at the Ottawa meeting April 23.

The first thing Diane Holmes needs to figure out is that it is not "HER" ward. She only represents a select few residents of the ward who actively oppose any densification in the DT core, even on sites such as this where it is completely justified. I'd be curious to see how many people living in the area are opposed to replacing that desolate parking lot with two condo towers and a national institution. Bringing more people (and potentially ground level retail and services) to the area can only be positive for those already living there. In fact, the only people possibly hurt by this would be the suburban commuters who park their SUVs in that lot during the day before escaping to their oversized (and overserviced) lots at 4pm sharp. Get rid of that lady, she is holding back the development of the city based solely on her own backwards ideas and values.

kwoldtimer
Apr 17, 2008, 3:53 AM
The first thing Diane Holmes needs to figure out is that it is not "HER" ward. She only represents a select few residents of the ward who actively oppose any densification in the DT core, even on sites such as this where it is completely justified. I'd be curious to see how many people living in the area are opposed to replacing that desolate parking lot with two condo towers and a national institution. Bringing more people (and potentially ground level retail and services) to the area can only be positive for those already living there. In fact, the only people possibly hurt by this would be the suburban commuters who park their SUVs in that lot during the day before escaping to their oversized (and overserviced) lots at 4pm sharp. Get rid of that lady, she is holding back the development of the city based solely on her own backwards ideas and values.

Maybe when Ottawa loses the gallery to Calgary or Edmonton, she'll get over it and appreciate suggestions to waive all height restrictions downtown as a great way for Ottawa to thumb its nose at the current government (Peace Tower, what Peace Tower? Where?):yes:

eemy
Apr 17, 2008, 4:55 AM
Maybe when Ottawa loses the gallery to Calgary or Edmonton, she'll get over it and appreciate suggestions to waive all height restrictions downtown as a great way for Ottawa to thumb its nose at the current government (Peace Tower, what Peace Tower? Where?):yes:

Be careful what you wish for. The inevitable response by the federal gov't would be to get the NCC to expropriate all the land downtown and demolish all the buildings in order to turn it into a lovely urban park with leisurely parkways criss-crossing it. They could move all the bureaucrats to Calgary and Edmonton or the highest bidder.

Mille Sabords
Apr 17, 2008, 1:59 PM
Be careful what you wish for. The inevitable response by the federal gov't would be to get the NCC to expropriate all the land downtown and demolish all the buildings in order to turn it into a lovely urban park with leisurely parkways criss-crossing it. They could move all the bureaucrats to Calgary and Edmonton or the highest bidder.

:lmao: nice!

kwoldtimer
Apr 17, 2008, 8:12 PM
Be careful what you wish for. The inevitable response by the federal gov't would be to get the NCC to expropriate all the land downtown and demolish all the buildings in order to turn it into a lovely urban park with leisurely parkways criss-crossing it. They could move all the bureaucrats to Calgary and Edmonton or the highest bidder.

Hmmm... That would be one way to spruce up Centretown :yuck:

trueviking
Apr 18, 2008, 5:46 AM
Am I the only one who finds it offensive that other levels of government are using tax money to effectively bribe the federal government.

couldnt agree more....an institution like a national museum should be located where it is most appropriate, not sold to the highest bidder....i think we all know where harper will go with this though.

i just wanted to mention that winnipeg also submitted a proposal...not sure why it was left out of the article....the city is turning over a prime piece of land near where the human rights museum is being built...

winnipeg is a long shot for sure, what sets it apart is the fact that construction costs are half of what they are in the other cities and that it is proposed to be a stand alone building, not the base of condo or office development like in each other proposal....the government might not love a national museum being part of "portrait gallery manor"...but who knows.

winnipeg's site within the city seems to be more prominent than the others, but its still in winnipeg, so that is obviously a strike against.

i just dont want it to go to an alberta city.