Planning committee approves height for two soaring downtown tower projects

Two separate downtown tower projects received height approval at planning committee on Tuesday, reflecting Chair Jan Harder’s comments that 2016 will be a big year for downtown development.

Both projects aim to revitalize forgotten areas in the downtown core, one at Rideau Street and Chapel and the other at Sparks Street and Bay Street.

It was not the first time the committee had seen FoTenn Consultant’s two-tower condo project on Rideau Street and Chapel Street but several major changes were made to the project.

After feedback from city staff and the public, the developer reduced the height of both towers from the original 32-storeys and 27-storeys. The proposal now has both towers sitting at 25-storeys.

The revised project also includes a park, above-ground parking has been moved underground and a reduction in the number of units.

The city’s plan for Rideau Street, approved last December, caps the maximum building height for the area at nine stories but councillors voted to allow an exception.

A second project at 350 Sparks Street and 137 Bay Street that includes one condo tower and one hotel tower also received approval from the committee.

Morguard plans to demolish the existing hotel and three-story apartment building and construct a new 27-storey hotel and 23-storey apparent building with retail at the base.

 “This is a part of the downtown that needs rejuvenation and it’s getting it,” said Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenny, while acknowledging that there are still concerns around parking and lack of grocery stores in the area.    

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on Jan. 26.