'Playful' Marriott hotel brand to open first Ottawa location at historic ByWard Market site

Major Building

A Marriott brand that says it offers a “playful hotel experience for the young at heart” plans to make its Ottawa debut in a historic ByWard Market building.

Rimap Hospitality, the Montreal-based firm that owns the property at 126 York St., said this week it has signed a deal with Marriott International to open a 222-room Moxy hotel in the Major Building. 

The 58,800-square-foot former warehouse ​– which was built in 1913 and is now protected under the Ontario Heritage Act – is perhaps best-known for being Shopify’s headquarters back when the e-commerce powerhouse was still a fledgling startup.

Rimap bought the Beaux-Arts-style building two years ago. The five-storey structure will be preserved and integrated into a new 22-storey mixed-use tower that’s slated to be constructed on adjacent land at 151 George St. The highrise is also expected to include about 280 rental apartment units. 

The Moxy Ottawa hotel will occupy the first five floors of the combined structure. Rimap said the proposal calls for “eclectic public spaces” as well as a street-side restaurant.

“ByWard Market’s bustling streetscape and liveliness will align seamlessly with the vibrancy of the Moxy brand,” Rimap president Marc Varadi said in a statement.

Moxy is one of 30 brands operated by Maryland-based Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain by number of rooms.

Marriott now runs more than 100 hotels under the Moxy banner in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The brand says it offers a “non-traditional” experience that includes allowing guests to check in at the hotel bar.

Slated to open in 2024, the new Moxy Ottawa hotel will be just a few blocks from another Marriott-branded Rimap project that’s currently under construction, the 25-storey, 208-room AC Hotels by Marriott lodging that’s being built on the site of a former Beer Store at 201 Rideau St.

In addition, Rimap Hospitality’s sister company, Rimap Development, said last month it’s proposing a 35-storey tower at 395 Slater St. that would include about 270 rental units and 230 hotel rooms.

Varadi told OBJ the firm hopes to start construction on that project by the end of this year. He said the company has a branding affiliation in place for the hotel but isn’t ready to reveal it yet, adding it will be a higher-end property catering to government and business clients.