Claridge Homes is proposing a new 19-storey structure at its Andaz hotel property in the ByWard Market that would include 136 additional units and a 3,600-square-foot ballroom that would boost the facility’s capacity to host bigger meetings, the developer says.
Claridge vice-president Neil Malhotra told OBJ an analysis after the hotel’s first year in operation concluded the Andaz needed more space to host gatherings of 200 people or more as well as more rooms to accommodate guests attending events at the swanky downtown property.
“Demand has been good,” he said Wednesday. “I think the property of the Andaz itself has sort of established itself as its own destination. But we felt there was a real strong demand to have larger events also take place at the hotel, which required more rooms but also more and different types of conference spaces than what we were offering.”
A site plan filed with the city says the proposed building at the corner of York and Dalhousie streets would be connected to the existing 200-room hotel by a ground-level podium. The two-storey structure currently on the site that houses a nightclub would be demolished to make way for the new hotel tower.
The developer is requesting a zoning amendment because the building’s proposed height of 59.75 metres exceeds the 50-metre limit for the property. Claridge is also seeking an exemption from bylaws requiring new developments that replace heritage structures to be rebuilt with the same character and at the same scale, saying the existing building that dates to about 1950 “does not have any meaningful heritage features that merit conservation.”
The proposed addition is designed by Montreal’s Neuf Architects, the same firm behind the original Andaz building. The planning application says the new structure “will blend seamlessly with the existing tower so that it appears as one building.”
Malhotra said Claridge has no target date yet to begin the project, which must be approved by city council. He would not divulge the price tag of the proposal.
Malhotra also said Claridge is still planning to build a 22-storey tower with 282 condo units on adjacent property at 137 and 141 George St. that now contains a parking lot, but wouldn’t put a timeline on the project. According to the development application, the two buildings would share an underground parking facility with space for 136 vehicles.
If the plan is approved, it would further boost Ottawa’s downtown hotel inventory following a spate of new openings and planned developments that’s expected to add hundreds of new rooms to the market.
The 17-storey Andaz Ottawa Byward Market opened in August 2016 on the site of the former Union of Canada building, becoming the luxury boutique hotel chain’s first Canadian location. Last month, Quebec-based Group Germain Hotels opened its 115-room Le Germain Hotel Ottawa as part of the Arts Court redevelopment near the Rideau Centre, two years after the chain’s Alt Hotel made its debut on Slater Street.
Other new lodgings in the works for the city’s downtown core include Morguard’s two Hilton properties at 361 Queen St., which are slated to open this fall and will feature a total of 346 rooms, and Manor Park Management’s 180-unit Holiday Inn Express on King Edward Avenue and St. Patrick Street, which is now under construction and expected to be ready next year.