Regional Group to confirm Oblates land sale

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Company plans to build withing community design plan limits

Oblate lands redevelopment
This demonstration plan shows the built form that's possible on the largely vacant institutional lands occupied by religious orders and Saint Paul University. Regional Group confirmed it plans to buy the land owned by the Oblate fathers, mostly east of and including the 'grande allée'.

By Laura Mueller, Ottawa Community News

Nine hundred new homes are set to become a reality in the downtown community of Old Ottawa East as an Ottawa developer agrees to buy the Oblate lands.

Regional Group has drafted plans for how it would build the 10.5 hectares of mostly-vacant prime land, the development of which will nearly double the population of the community. The mostly-vacant institutional lands next to St. Paul University are currently occupied by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate religious order and provide likely the largest redevelopment opportunity in the city's core.

The land sale will be finalized in June, said Regional vice president of development, David Kardish.

Kardish said he sees no need to redraw a concept for the area because he likes the community design plan that was a “labour of love” for local residents.

“If you look at our stuff, we realize the community invested a lot of time and effort,” Kardish said. “There is no good reason for us to deviate from that.

“We wanted to respect their issues to the extent possible,” Kardish said. “We didn’t see the need to go with high rises. We want to develop a very intimate community.”

Main Street Renewal: Public Art Opportunity

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City of Ottawa

The City of Ottawa invites artists to submit proposals to develop, design and install exterior public artwork on Main Street in the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa East. This call to artists is open to professional artists who are Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status. Artists may submit a proposal individually or as a team.
 
The total budget for this commission is $220,000 plus HST. The commission budget must include all costs required to design, fabricate, store, transport and install the public art, as well as any travel expenses incurred by the artist or artist team.Installation of the artwork will take place between Fall 2016 and Summer 2017, depending on the site of the work and coordination with the larger construction project.
 
The complete call to artists (including eligibility, design requirements, supporting documents, and selection criteria) is available on our website at www.ottawa.ca
 
Proposals must be received by mail or by hand no later than Monday March 24, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
 
An information meeting will be held at the Old Town Hall Community Centre, 61 Main Street, Ottawa, Thursday, January 30, from 5:45 pm to 7:00 pm. Community representatives will give an introduction to the neighbourhood of Old Ottawa East, and members of the project team will present plans and drawings and answer questions. If you cannot attend this meeting but would like to receive any new information available on this project, please contact Lynda Hall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 613-244-4261.

Oblate land sale rumour swirls in Old Ottawa East; Firm admits interest in Ottawa market, but won't confirm specific deal

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By Laura Mueller, EMC News

Old Ottawa East residents were atwitter about the future of their community as they celebrated the successes of 2013 at their annual general meeting.

Two years after the community design plan envisioned new residents in the institutional lands beside St. Paul University, doubling the neighbourhood's population, the community association received word that the property had finally been sold.

At the association's annual general meeting, held Nov. 12, members were told of a partnership between Monarch Homes and Walton Development and Management, a large North American landholding company.

That's not quite true, said Walton president, Jason Child in an interview. No transaction has been completed.

"Yes we've been involved in the process," he said. "Yes, we're a natural candidate to buy it," but any involvement in that procurement process has to remain confidential, Child said.

"At this point, the official word is: we can't talk about it."

But Child said Walton, which has extensive undeveloped holdings in southwest Ottawa, is "very bullish on the Ottawa market."

"We're eager to bring new ideas and new developments with the city," he said.

Old Ottawa East Community Association president John Dance emphasized during the annual general meeting that the community was looking forward to seeing the institutional Oblate lands developed in the context of the recently adopted community design plan and secondary plan.

Child said not all of Walton's projects are developed in the context of such a plan.

"That's part of the city's process and we'll embrace that," he said. "Ultimately, whatever the document is called, it comes down to what the community is excited to see."

Child said Walton's main objective is to "do what's right for the local community."

"Ultimately, our experience and our success in other market starts with a blank slate and being able to provide, whether it's more integrated communities, different densities, different transit options, different infrastructure options ... What we like to do is get involved on Day 1 and work our way through that."

The way Walton works is by "master planning" large parcels of land and then working with a group of local builders to develop and construct the area.

Dance said the community association hasn't been contacted by any company interested in purchasing the land, but the group looks forward to a dialog with any developers.

2013 SUCCESSES

Potential movement toward redeveloping the Oblate lands would build on a great deal of activity in the neighbourhood over the last year.

Dance outlined a number of wins - not the least of which was successfully lobbying the city to rebuild Main Street as a "complete street," with wider sidewalks, cycling tracks and fewer lanes for cars. Construction on the street and the McIlraith Bridge will begin next year and there are still many opportunities for the community to participate, particularly when it comes to ongoing maintenance of newly greened corners and parkettes that will be built.

The neighbourhood also celebrated success in making its voice heard to protect the green space near the Lees apartment towers, which the city had proposed to pave over to provide alternate parking for the University of Ottawa to make up for a lot being taken over by LRT construction.

The city's decision to push the second phase of the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor over the Rideau River into Old Ottawa East was pushed down the list in the transportation master plan and the project won't begin until at least 18 years into the future at the earliest - a major success for the community, Dance said.

The community is also receiving a lot of attention through a transit-oriented design plan for the Lees Station area.

The footbridge over the canal from Clegg Street to Fifth Avenue was designed and won a city design award... although its construction was pushed down the schedule to be built between 2020-25.

Completing and improving the Rideau River nature trail is also underway.

Ottawa’s Main Street gets makeover

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By Alex Boutilier, Metro

Ottawa city council approved a "complete street" makeover for Main Street in Old Ottawa East Wednesday, albeit not without some dissent from suburban and rural councillors.

Main Street from Echo Drive to McIlraith Bridge will get a redesign as the city undertakes an integrated road, sewer and water renewal project. The arterial road will be reduced to two and three lanes along certain sections, providing cycling lanes and wider sidewalks.

"Main Street has degraded as a place to live, a place to walk, a place to own a business and a place to develop because it has become a fast-moving, noisy, scary corridor to be on any time other than when there's congestion," said area Coun. David Chernushenko Wednesday.

"This is a chance to renew Main Street in every way."

Unsurprisingly, not every councillor is on the same page with the city's move to "complete streets" — streets that accommodate all forms of transportation, not simply vehicles. Votes like this at Ottawa City Hall often break along the old urban/suburban/rural lines.

Wednesday's vote was no different, with councillors Alan Hubley, Stephen Blais, Steve Desroches, Jan Harder, Scott Moffatt, and Diane Deans voting against the renewal project.

"All of us folks, everything that we do, is driven by the growth that you all hate," said Harder, speaking directly to the urban councillors. "Isn't that something? Our growth is what builds our roads, builds our rec centres. But every single taxpayer in this city puts their hand in their pocket and pay for all of these complete streets and everything else."

In the end, the Main Street renewal project passed with a vote of 18-6. Construction is expected to start in late 2014 and be completed in 2016.