As the city continues to push for more intensification inside the Greenbelt, one of Ottawa’s largest developers is launching a plan to build up to 2,000 housing units on the site of a former dairy plant near the corner of Carling and Clyde avenues.
Claridge Homes is set to file a proposal with the city this week calling for six towers as tall as 30 storeys at 861 Clyde Ave., between Carling Avenue and the Queensway. The 6.65-acre property is now home to an abandoned industrial building previously owned by dairy giant Saputo that closed in late 2017.
A new residential community would dramatically alter the landscape of the area, which is currently dominated by a Canadian Tire store – set to relocate to Carlingwood Mall in the coming years – as well as low-density industrial properties on both sides of Highway 417. Claridge’s development land is also adjacent to the Churchill Office Park and just north of Carlington Park.
Claridge’s proposal also includes several other midrise buildings of four to eight storeys along with a park, bicycle pathways and other amenities. The company said there could also be a “small community retail” component, depending on demand.
Vice-president Neil Malhotra said Monday the project will likely take up to 20 years to complete. He said the units would be a mix of rental apartments, condos and townhomes, adding the exact breakdown of housing will evolve over time depending on factors such as market conditions and the area’s demographics.
“There’s a variety of scenarios,” Malhotra told OBJ.
“There would definitely be a variety of incomes represented. It’s a full generation to do the project. Things really change as you do a project over that time, so it’s tough to say everything is going to be this or that.”
Claridge bought the property from Saputo earlier this year. Malhotra said the site’s location near major arterial roads, retail hubs such as the Carlingwood and Westgate shopping centres and several schools make it a prime target for a major residential development.
'A unique opportunity'
“This is an area where there’s a lot of the typical amenities people would want,” he said. “We sort of found a unique opportunity to do a larger-format project that can really develop a new community over the fullness of time.”
The veteran homebuilder said he’s had his eye on the property for a while.
“It's tough not to notice that particular building and its position (near) the highway,” Malhotra said with a chuckle. “It’s a good opportunity to meet the future of what the city wants to look like.”
The land is currently zoned arterial mainstreet, meaning it’s cleared for a wide range of commercial, retail and residential uses. Claridge will likely need council to green-light zoning amendments to build the tallest highrises in the plan.
The first online public consultation about the project is slated for Monday night at 7 p.m.
Malhotra said the plan has garnered generally positive reviews so far, noting it’s still in a “very preliminary stage.”
He said he’s excited about the opportunities the site presents.
“There's a whole bunch of things you can do as a community-based development at this scale, which is kind of intriguing to us,” Malhotra said.
The Clyde Avenue proposal is just one of a number of major multi-unit housing developments Malhotra’s company has on the go. The developer told OBJ earlier this year the capital’s solid employment base of civil servants and tech workers should help it rebound fairly quickly from the COVID-19 crisis, adding he believed the Ottawa market was poised for strong long-term growth.
“I think we’re reasonably insulated here,” he said. “It’s important to remember that prior to this our housing market was a little overwhelmed with demand. There’s no reason to suspect that won’t be the case as we come back to normal.”