Developers file plans for Little Italy condo towers
Published on February 19th, 2010
Ottawa Business Journal
In another sign of the redevelopment of Little Italy, a condominium developer is asking to rezone a vacant lot so it can build a pair of residential towers overlooking Dow’s Lake.
Mastercraft Starwood purchased the one-acre lot on Champagne Avenue, backing onto the O-Train tracks just north of Carling Avenue, last fall for $5.6 million. The developer has filed a rezoning application to allow it to build a 24-storey tower and a 20-storey tower containing a total of 301 residential units and connected by a podium.
It’s not the first time a condominium building has been proposed for the site. In 2003, the city approved a development application for the 11-storey Acquellero at Dow’s Lake, but the project was ultimately abandoned.
Mastercraft Starwood is also building the 15-storey SoHo Parkway on Parkdale Avenue, between Scott Street and the Ottawa River Parkway, opposite Tunney’s Pasture.
The proposed Champagne Avenue condominiums would be significantly higher than the 15 and 12 storeys requested by Arnon Corp. for its property directly to the south. Fronting Carling Avenue, the site is currently a surface parking lot. Arnon’s rezoning application called for office towers, but a company official said last summer that it could potentially end up being a residential or mixed-use project.
The application is currently before the Ontario Municipal Board, with a prehearing scheduled for March.
Developers note the neighbourhood is well connected to a variety of amenities, such as the Queensway, the increasingly lively Preston Street commercial corridor and natural features like Dow’s Lake and the Experimental Farm.
The area is also poised to become a transit hub when the existing O-Train is converted into a longer north-south rail line. Officials are also considering eventually laying tracks on Carling Avenue.
Elsewhere in the neighbourhood, on the west side of Champagne Avenue, at Hickory Street, the city says an application has been filed for a 12 to 13-storey residential development.
In an interview last November, Domicile Developments president John Doran confirmed his company had a purchase agreement for the property. It currently features a single-storey commercial building that is the former home of desk pad and accessories manufacturer Hutchings & Patrick Inc.
Domicile already has a presence in the neighbourhood with its Merrion Square Norfolk development on nearby Loretta Avenue, at Carling Avenue. The development consists of six blocks of townhouses as well as an eight-storey and 10-storey condominium building.
Mr. Doran said the project has been well received by homebuyers.
"We clearly want another stake in the neighbourhood," Mr. Doran said last fall.
"Preston Street is getting better and better."