Bayshore owner plans two apartment towers as high as 30 storeys next to west-end mall

The owner of Bayshore Shopping Centre says it wants to build two new apartment highrises next to the west-end mall, a proposal that would add 500 more units to the city’s growing inventory of rental housing located near existing or future light-rail stations.

In a development application recently filed at City Hall, Bayshore owner Ivanhoe Cambridge says it’s partnering with Toronto-based investment fund KingSett Capital on a plan to construct a 27-storey tower with 234 rental suites and a 30-storey highrise with 266 units. Located just west of the 47-year-old shopping centre, the two buildings would be linked by a three-storey podium that would include 210 parking spaces for residents and 50 spots for visitors as well as room for 272 bicycles.

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A rendering of Ivanhoe Cambridge and KingSett Capital's proposed new apartment towers next to Bayshore Shopping Centre.

The site plan provides few other details about the development. According to the application, the proposal calls for “an amenity pavilion” located on the fourth floor between the two towers and a rooftop terrace above the podium that will feature trees and other greenery, seating and “flexible social spaces” for tenants. A pedestrian walkway will link the highrises with the future LRT station to the south.

The developers also say they will consider setting aside some of the units for affordable housing, a proposal that “will be looked at further in the development process.”

Currently Ottawa’s second-largest shopping mall, Bayshore attracts nearly eight million visitors a year. The retail hub will become home to an LRT stop as part of phase two of the Confederation Line, a project currently slated for completion in 2025.

“The subject site is ideally located to capitalize on the existing and future infrastructure of the transit network,” the development application says.

An Ivanhoe Cambridge spokesperson told OBJ in an email Wednesday the company will provide more details about the proposal “in the coming months” and plans to host a public open house later in the application process. The developers are seeking amendments to current zoning bylaws that limit buildings on the site to 12 storeys.

The proposed apartment towers are just the latest in a wave of new residential development aimed at diversifying land use near suburban shopping centres and light-rail stations.

Toronto-based RioCan got the ball rolling last year with the first phase of its multi-highrise Frontier apartment development near Blair Station and the Gloucester Centre, a partnership with Halifax-based Killam Apartment REIT.

RioCan is now tearing down the aging Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre on Carling Avenue and replacing it with a mix of retail and commercial buildings near a future light-rail stop, with plans to add residential space in the future. 

The firm is also looking at redeveloping a number of its other local retail properties, including Westgate and Elmvale Acres shopping centres, with new retail space and apartment buildings in a bid to find new sources of revenue as more and more consumers abandon local malls in favour of shopping online.

“I think we’re doing a number of things to ensure that we have relevant retail,” RioCan chief operating officer Jonathan Gitlin told OBJ last year. “One of those is changing the types of tenants that we have in our buildings. Part of it is building mixed-use (developments), where we urbanize, modernize and bring residential (units) to our retail sites.”

Meanwhile, Ottawa-based Trinity Development Group has a number of mixed-use projects located near LRT hubs in its project pipeline, including plans for a trio of highrises with more than 1,000 rental apartment suites near the junction of the Confederation and Trillium Lines at Bayview Station.