18-storey towers proposed for site of Vanier motel

The owner of one of Ottawa’s least-loved accommodations wants to demolish a Vanier motel and replace it with a cluster of rental residential low- and high-rises.

On Tuesday, the city’s planning committee is scheduled to debate a rezoning request to raise the height restrictions for buildings on the property at the corner of Montreal Road and the Vanier Parkway, behind an Esso gas station.

The site is currently zoned for buildings of up to 14 storeys. The property is occupied by the Ottawa Plaza Inn Downtown, a motel-style lodging with the lowest rating on Booking.com among more than 80 area hotels.

An application prepared by planning consulting firm Fotenn said the plan for site consists of a half-dozen buildings, ranging in height from six storeys to 18 storeys, that include 607 residential dwelling units as well as 300 square metres of retail area.

A numbered Ontario company with a Brampton address is listed as the property owner on planning documents filed with the city. Ottawa-based developer DCR Phoenix is acting as project manager, says the company’s planning manager, Michael Boucher.

“It’s going to be an impressive change to the neighbourhood,” Mr. Boucher told OBJ.

He says the entire project could cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” and take between five and 10 years to fully build out.

The first phase is expected to include an underground garage, a six-storey mixed-use building on Montreal Road and an 18-storey structure near the corner of Montreal Road and the Vanier Parkway.

Mr. Boucher said the project would help the city move closer to its intensification goals of having more residents live in central neighbourhoods that are already connected to city services, reducing the need to extend Ottawa’s suburbs farther afield.

Mark Kaluski, the chairperson of the Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Area, said the organization is “intrigued” by the proposal.

“We support and encourage and anything that brings population density, urban renewal and sorely needed capital investment in the area,” he said. “(Vanier) is the last underdeveloped market in the urban core.”