Minto plans 16-storey highrise at northern edge of the Glebe

Isabella Street development

One of Ottawa’s largest developers wants to build a 16-storey mixed-use highrise with hundreds of residential units on vacant land near the corner of Bank and Isabella streets in the Glebe.

In planning documents recently filed with the city, Minto Communities says the building at 178-200 Isabella St. would feature about 4,000 square feet of commercial space and 251 residential suites in a mix of one- and two-bedroom units. A four-storey underground parking garage would have space for 172 vehicles.

The rectangular-shaped 0.6-acre property on the northern edge of the Glebe ​– located about half a block west of a busy shopping plaza that includes a supermarket, LCBO outlet and a bank ​– was formerly occupied by a five-storey office building and another single-storey commercial building. Both structures were torn down several years ago. Minto is also seeking to have the hydro lines along Isabella Street buried.

In site plan documents, Minto says the proposal is in line with provincial directives calling for more development of underused properties in urban areas “where appropriate infrastructure, cycling and transit service are in place.”

The developer says that with average household sizes in the city’s core expected to decline over the next decade, “much of the anticipated demand within the Greenbelt will be for new housing in the form of smaller units such as apartments.”

At 57.1 metres, the proposed building is more than double the maximum height of 23.5 metres permitted under current zoning. 

But Minto argues that although most of the buildings in the surrounding area are low-rises of four storeys or less, its plan will “enhance and complement” the neighbourhood’s “long-term renewal.” The builder also notes that a nearby office complex at 460 O’Connor St. is nearly 46 metres tall.

In addition, Minto says the highrise will be set back 7.5 metres from the rear property line, providing “comfortable separation” from nearby dwellings. 

The city is currently in the midst of redrawing its planning policy and zoning bylaws for the Glebe in an effort to better manage future growth in the neighbourhood. City recommendations last year called for maximum building heights of nine storeys on Minto’s Isabella Street property, but the developer says it believes its proposal fits with overall policy directives in the latest Official Plan review that would promote more intensification in the downtown core. 

“The proposed development represents what is, in our opinion, an appropriate transition from the Queensway in the north to the neighbourhood to the south,” Minto says.