New EDC office tower plans filed
By Peter Kovessy, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Mon, Sep 15, 2008 12:00 AM EST
LEED Gold building could connect to future underground LRT station
Detailed site plans for Export Development Canada's new 19-storey headquarters at the corner of O'Connor and Slater streets have been filed with the city, as the Crown corporation finalizes its agreement with the build team led by Broccolini Construction and Canderel.
The new tower would contain 403,000 square feet of office space along with 14,000 square feet of other commercial space, according to background studies accompanying the site plan.
Beneath the building will be three floors of underground parking with 216 parking spaces. There will also be 150 indoor bicycle parking stations, contributing to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
And while insiders maintain a deal isn't done just yet, many in the development community add they expect one within the next several weeks.
A conceptual drawing of the tower shows a glass-plated surface rising from roughly the fourth floor of the building. Below, an overhang extends from the structure, separating the upper glass exterior from a mixed-window and solid-wall surface on the second and third floor.
The well-defined "podium" blends the lower section of the building with the streetscape, observed Rick MacEwen, a partner at Watson MacEwen Architects.
After viewing the site plans, Mr. MacEwen also observed the building's upper part is slightly pulled back from the lower podium and "articulated," containing small irregular setbacks in the floorplates.
"It reduces the apparent mass and bulk of the building and gives a little bit more breathing room to the street, so it's not a big box that simply comes crashing down into the sidewalk," he said.
"At first glance, this has a lot of admirable qualities to it ... This development for EDC looks to be a very promising addition to the city."
The development could also accommodate an underground pedestrian tunnel connecting the building to a future LRT system, according to a transportation impact study prepared by Novatech Engineering Consultants Ltd.
The site was previously identified as a potential station location by the Downtown Coalition, a transit lobby group of major city centre landowners who expressed interest earlier this year in entering a series of public-private partnerships with the city to develop downtown stations.
The proposed building will replace a 100-vehicle surface parking lot, three single-storey brick buildings, a two-storey brick building and a three-storey brick building.
Preparations are underway to demolish these existing low-rise structures. While city staff can issue demolition permits for four of the buildings, councillors on the city's planning and environment committee will have to approve the demolition of 115-119 O'Connor St. because it contains dwelling units, said city planner Julie Sarazin.
She said she expects a staff report will be brought to committee next month.
Broccolini Construction Ltd. project manager Anthony Broccolini said the site plans were submitted to the city in advance of a contract being signed as "part of our due diligence on the site." Ms. Sarazin said the site plan could be approved as early as next month, before the city and the developer enter into a site plan control agreement.
David Brouse, of Brouse Holdings, which owns the property, would not comment on the project's status.
EDC currently occupies 394,000 square feet in two neighbouring buildings at O'Connor and Gloucester streets, and has been looking to consolidate its operations in a single downtown location.
In addition to the site at O'Connor and Slater streets, sources told OBJ earlier this year that EDC's options included Great West Life's property, currently a parking garage next to the Bank of Montreal building on Laurier Avenue between O'Connor and Bank streets, a Brookfield site on the southeast corner of Kent and Queen streets, or the status quo.
Occupancy for the building is expected in 2011, according to background studies. With a final agreement imminent, an official announcement regarding EDC's new building is expected by the end of the month, said spokesperson Phil Taylor.
- Broccolini Construction Ltd.
Architect: Beique, Legault, Thuot Architects
Civil: Novatech Engineering Consultants Ltd.
Structural: Halsall Engineers Consultants
Mechanical/electrical/civil: Pageau Morel and Associates
LEED: Jacques Whitford
Landscaping architect: Gino J. Aiello