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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2018, 8:32 PM
AndyMEng AndyMEng is offline
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
They filled up the hole (with tons of stone) behind left-over carcass. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. I'm going to say not, because it probably means they are just stabilizing the hole while they do nothing for another few years.
Maybe the owner's just waiting for an earthquake or other type of disaster that will result in full collapse? A La "The Gilmour" parts I and II?

'THE GILMOUR' is furnished and fitted up in the most modern style. Electric cars pass the Hotel to all parts of the city. Rate $2.00 per day.'

http://urbsite.blogspot.com/2009/12/...n-and-now.html

The Gilmour suffered a disastrous fire in 1905, with some loss of life. The tragedy was compounded when the ruins of the hotel's walls blew over onto Bank Street three weeks later, crushing a passing streetcar and killing the motorman.

After the fire, The Gilmour was rebuilt in 1906-07 as The Alexandra Hotel which was open until the late 1970s. During a community debate over whether it should be spared demolition, the empty hotel was destroyed by yet another fire rendering the preservation controversy moot.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2018, 2:54 AM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
They filled up the hole (with tons of stone) behind left-over carcass. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. I'm going to say not, because it probably means they are just stabilizing the hole while they do nothing for another few years.
I saw that. I puke in my mouth a little bit when I walk/drive by this disaster EVERY SINGLE DAY!
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  #83  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 11:40 AM
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City doesn't think Somerset House owner will carry through with redevelopment

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
Updated: September 13, 2018




The city is taking the “most aggressive action” yet on the stagnant renovation to the historic Somerset House in Centretown, the city’s heritage boss says.

Court Curry, the manager who oversees the city’s heritage program, said on Thursday that based on a meeting with the property owner last week, he doesn’t believe the restoration plan will happen for the property on Somerset and Bank streets. According to Curry, the owner has decided to pursue “other development opportunities” for the property over the next two to five years, but those plans fit into the heritage restrictions only “to a degree.”

Curry told the subcommittee that the city is about to take “the most aggressive actions the city has undertaken” against the property owner when it comes to property standards and heritage protection.

Somerset House dates back to 1899 and is protected by heritage designation, which means any alterations must be approved by city council.

Curry, who provided the built-heritage subcommittee an update on Somerset House during a meeting, declined to discuss the other development opportunities the property owner is pursuing.

Tony Shahrasebi, the property owner, said he’s still working toward achieving the council-approved scheme.

“Of course we have plans,” Shahrasebi said in phone interview.

However, there have been no bites from the retail sector to lease space in the building, he said.

Council on May 10, 2017 approved the rehabilitation plan for the building and the issuance of a heritage permit, which has a two-year expiry. There has been little work done since then.



Shahrasebi hired a contractor to fill a pit on the property after the city raised concerns about a potential safety hazard.

That’s about the extent of the work over the past year.

The city has been receiving monthly engineering reports on the building. Staff inspected the building this week.

If the city needs to do work on the building to protect the public, it will undertake the work and bill the owner’s property taxes, Curry said.

Until now, the city hasn’t clamped down on the protection of heritage attributes since there was a redevelopment plan that took into account the heritage restoration. Now, the city will order the property owner to protect the heritage elements, Curry said.

Shahrasebi said he would take the city to court if the city charged construction expenses to his property taxes. He has plans to protect the building against the winter weather, including heating the inside.

Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney continues to call for the city to expropriate the property. With no confidence that Shahrasebi will redevelop the building, McKenney wants the city to buy the property and potentially use it for a public purpose, such as creating a library branch.

“This is at one of key intersections of our downtown,” McKenney said. “The fact that we have essentially a dead corner and a dead corner that is also a heritage building is quite egregious. We have to take very serious and strong action on this matter and with this owner.”

The city has only once expropriated a heritage property when it took over 503-507 King Edward Ave. in 1985.

Shahrasebi declined to comment on the possibility of the city expropriating his property.

Curry said the city would exhaust all options before considering expropriation.

The city is working on a financial incentive program to help heritage property owners complete renovations.

Shahrasebi said the idea of financial assistance has come up in discussions with the city, but instead of the $500,000 incentive that was floated during those talks, he asked for $1 million.

According to Curry, staff did talk about the development of a city-wide financial assistance program for heritage redevelopment that would require council approval. However, at no point did staff talk about the availability of or attempt to negotiate a specific amount for Somerset House, Curry said.

Somerset House was once home to the Duke of Somerset pub. A partial collapse in 2007 resulted in a legal fight between Shahrasebi and city hall. After they resolved the dispute, a series of redevelopment plans gave the city hope that the appearance of this busy downtown intersection would be restored.

As time wore on, part of the wall along Somerset Street became so deteriorated, the city had to approve a partial demolition.

The building has become a capital eyesore with an unknown future, even making the National Trust for Canada’s top-10 list of “endangered” heritage landmarks. The city created an internal task force in 2016 to monitor vacant heritage properties, partially in response to the debacle over Somerset House.

jwilling@postmedia.com
twitter.com/JonathanWilling

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...-redevelopment
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  #84  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 12:01 PM
acottawa acottawa is offline
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The city should expropriate it.
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  #85  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 1:26 PM
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FutureWickedCity FutureWickedCity is offline
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Just in time for the election, lol. Slick ; )

Anyways just get 'er done already.
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  #86  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 3:50 PM
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Quote:
“Of course we have plans,” Shahrasebi said in phone interview.

However, there have been no bites from the retail sector to lease space in the building, he said.
Well no shit dingbat!!

If you drag your feet for 12 years, potential tenants will have no confidence in your ability to get this shit done. It's like a condo project sitting dormant for a couple years. No one will buy in because they don't know if it will ever get built.

This for me should be the final straw. The guy clearly stated he has no plans to fix it. Pursuing "other development opportunities" that will only fit into heritage restrictions "to a degree" means he's waiting for he place to fall down. On top of that, he's threatening legal action if the City bills him for any work on the building.

The City needs to step up and expropriate. It is the only option left at this point. And as soon as they own the place, they need to start work immediately, and not drag on consultations for years on end.
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  #87  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 3:57 PM
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Originally Posted by J.OT13 View Post
Well no shit dingbat!!

If you drag your feet for 12 years, potential tenants will have no confidence in your ability to get this shit done. It's like a condo project sitting dormant for a couple years. No one will buy in because they don't know if it will ever get built.

This for me should be the final straw. The guy clearly stated he has no plans to fix it. Pursuing "other development opportunities" that will only fit into heritage restrictions "to a degree" means he's waiting for he place to fall down. On top of that, he's threatening legal action if the City bills him for any work on the building.

The City needs to step up and expropriate. It is the only option left at this point. And as soon as they own the place, they need to start work immediately, and not drag on consultations for years on end.
Our office looked at this location for a potential re-locate in the next 3-5 years. Not one of my partners or I were willing to take a risk on land being developed by this clown. Way past time now for the city to take things into their own hands!
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  #88  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 5:10 PM
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“Of course we have plans” Shahrasebi said in phone interview.
'We plan to let it all fall down' Shahrasebi thought to himself during the phone interview.
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  #89  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 6:56 PM
bradnixon bradnixon is offline
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The City needs to step up and expropriate. It is the only option left at this point. And as soon as they own the place, they need to start work immediately, and not drag on consultations for years on end.
I didn't agree before, but I do now. This has gone on long enough.
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  #90  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2018, 7:56 PM
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https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-...-house-1072725

Quote:
I am pleased to report that City orders have been issued to make much needed repairs and restorations to Somerset House. My thanks to City Heritage Staff and our conservation architect who have been working hard to save this important heritage building in our city.
https://twitter.com/JimWatsonOttawa/...87161778737152
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  #91  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2018, 10:12 PM
Uhuniau Uhuniau is offline
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It's amazing how so many things are happening at once on so many long-standing (or long-falling) urban annoyances.

Change the municipal election cycle back to three years!
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Enjoy my taxes, Orleans (and Kanata?).
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  #92  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 12:23 AM
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City orders Somerset House owner to make repairs
Has until December to weatherproof historic downtown building

Laura Osman · CBC News
Posted: Oct 04, 2018 5:51 PM ET | Last Updated: 2 hours ago




The city has ordered the owner of the historic and long-vacant Somerset House to make crucial repairs to the building in hopes of preventing it from deteriorating once winter sets in.

The owner, Tony Shahrasebi, must secure and weatherproof the building by December. He must also repair some of the heritage features like the bricks, the cornices, and the wood patterns along the side of the building by April 2019.

Assuming the owner doesn't appeal, missing the deadline will mean the city can move in and do the work — and charge the cost back to Shahrasebi.

It's the most aggressive action the city has taken against the owner in the long and turbulent history of the building. But Coun. Catherine McKenney, who is running for re-election in Somerset ward, is concerned it's not aggressive enough.

"What I'm worried about is a lot of foot-dragging," McKenney said at Thursday's meeting of the built heritage subcommittee.

"That's what's been happening at Somerset House. And I think the city is tired of it. I know I am."

She wants to make sure the city takes over repairs very quickly if it appears the owner isn't going to meet the deadline.

"We have to put some muscle behind that," she said.

Somerset House's original corner building was built in 1899 and has served as a dry goods store, a hotel, and more recently the Duke of Somerset pub.

It partially collapsed in 2007.

Heritage manager Court Curry urged the committee to wait and see what the owner does during the appeal period. The building is somewhat weatherproofed, Curry said, but not to the extent the city feels is necessary.

"A lot will depend on the approach the owner takes in the next 30 days," he said.

The committee will get another update once the appeal period expires in November, after the municipal election.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottaw...rder-1.4850737
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  #93  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 9:03 AM
passwordisnt123 passwordisnt123 is offline
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Conflicting reports on Somerset House.

First report says the city is ordering Shahrasebi to make repairs and if he doesn't do that, they'll charge him for the work.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottaw...rder-1.4850737

But this one says the city is already at the stage where it will conduct the necessary work and charge Shahrasebi.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-...-house-1072725

Any idea which one is accurate? I'm assuming the CBC piece?
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  #94  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 11:45 AM
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rocketphish rocketphish is offline
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Here's the Citizen's take on it:

Quote:
'Not an inspiring day for heritage in Ottawa' as Magee House demolition approved

David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen
Updated: October 4, 2018


<snip>

Somerset House ordered protected

The news on Somerset House is slightly better. Though it’s been deteriorating for 11 years, since a construction accident knocked out a critical basement pillar, the city gave orders this week to have it weatherproofed by December.

“We want to ensure that what is left of Somerset House is intact and protected before the onset of winter,” planning-department manager Court Curry told the committee. Wood sheets over some of the windows are rotting out and the city’s worried that a bay window facing Bank Street isn’t structurally sound any more, according to the orders.

Owner Tony Shahrasebi, who’s been through multiple rounds of approvals with different plans to fix the building and get it occupied again, will also have until April to preserve some of the features that make Somerset House distinctive, like decorative features on and around the window frames and a turret on one corner. The city wants the work done right and it might not be possible to finish it before fine work outside can’t be done in the cold, Curry said.

<snip>

dreevely@postmedia.com
twitter.com/davidreevely

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...ition-approved
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  #95  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 1:16 PM
OTownandDown OTownandDown is online now
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Originally Posted by rocketphish View Post
Here's the Citizen's take on it:
I can see how this is going to play out:

1. Review of the bay windows on Bank (due to the leakage and deterioration)
2. Windows are no longer structurally sound.
3. Immediate scaffolding and hoarding on the sidewalk, at a cost of $150/day for the permits, plus rental fees.
4. Wall starts coming apart through a contractor and consultant hired by the City (because the City will be doing the work and back-charge the owner).
5. Wall continues coming apart (because it's totally deteriorated and the masonry is no longer bonded at all)
6. Wall no longer exists on Bank.
7. Decision to remove and replace the wall on Somerset as well, for stability's sake.

Entire building is demo'd and rebuilt to match, a la Magee House, only the City is doing the work, then will be mired in legal fees with the Owner for 20 years hence, to recoup the $10-20 million required to do the work. Somerset House will have rebuilt walls on three sides and will remain empty for said 20 years.
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  #96  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 2:48 PM
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Originally Posted by OTownandDown View Post
..

Entire building is demo'd and rebuilt to match, a la Magee House, only the City is doing the work, then will be mired in legal fees with the Owner for 20 years hence, to recoup the $10-20 million required to do the work. Somerset House will have rebuilt walls on three sides and will remain empty for said 20 years.
I realize that's hypothetical, and even if the cost was significantly lower... in what universe does the city expect a developer to absorb those types of costs (to rebuild a FACADE no less) and still run a profitable business???

/rant
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  #97  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 3:18 PM
OTownandDown OTownandDown is online now
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I realize that's hypothetical, and even if the cost was significantly lower... in what universe does the city expect a developer to absorb those types of costs (to rebuild a FACADE no less) and still run a profitable business???

/rant
Also how this will play out:

1. Facade is spared (rebuilt).
2. 30 storey condo is built in the footprint, to pay for Facade rebuild.
3. Coffee shop in ground floor unit.
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  #98  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 3:19 PM
OTownandDown OTownandDown is online now
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Originally Posted by OTownandDown View Post
Also how this will play out:

1. Facade is spared (rebuilt).
2. 30 storey condo is built in the footprint, to pay for Facade rebuild.
3. Coffee shop in ground floor unit.
**Edit***

4. Plan above is proposed, NIMBY's heads literally explode.
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  #99  
Old Posted Oct 5, 2018, 6:36 PM
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Originally Posted by HighwayStar View Post
I realize that's hypothetical, and even if the cost was significantly lower... in what universe does the city expect a developer to absorb those types of costs (to rebuild a FACADE no less) and still run a profitable business???

/rant
Here's a solution: if you don't have a plan that is financially viable and you don't have deep pockets in the case of disaster then do not purchase heritage buildings in a city with clear heritage policies/guidelines. I know he could not have predicted that the building would partially collapse, but developers have to plan for these contingencies and take risks accordingly. There should be a specific timeline for heritage projects like this and penalties when you don't live up to them. This lot continues to be one of Ottawa's top 5 most embarrassing properties/projects!
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  #100  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2018, 5:17 PM
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I am pleased to report that City orders have been issued to make much needed repairs and restorations to Somerset House. My thanks to City Heritage Staff and our conservation architect who have been working hard to save this important heritage building in our city.
Typical politician; hardy handshakes and congratulations for doing absolutely nothing after 11 years. From what I understand, the city is politely asking the owner to replace plywood before winter and restoring some features in the spring. It might take a year maybe before the City steps up and does the work itself, if the building is stills standing and/or not ordered demolished for safety reasons by then.

I guarantee that within 5 years, the building will be gone. Time for another bronze plaque.
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