Montreal developer files five-building plan for former Iranian Cultural Centre site in Sandy Hill

Place Doree Robinson plan
Montreal developer Place Dor​ée Real Estate Holdings has filed a proposal to build about 1,600 residential units on the site of the former Iranian Cultural Centre in Sandy Hill.

A Montreal company wants to build more than 1,600 residential units as part of a five-tower development at the former site of the Iranian Cultural Centre in Sandy Hill.

Place Dor​ée Real Estate Holdings has filed an application with the city for a plan that would see four highrises of 30 storeys each as well as a nine-storey building at 2 Robinson Ave.  

Located near the intersection of Nicholas Street and the Queensway, the wedge-shaped, 5.7-acre plot of land used to be the home of the Iranian Cultural Centre. The facility closed in 2012 after the federal government under then-prime minister Stephen Harper expelled Iranian diplomats from Canada. 

Squatters later occupied the boarded-up building, which was damaged by two fires and eventually torn down.

Now, Place Dor​ée is seeking to redevelop the property with two pairs of 30-storey buildings on the south side of the site, each connected by a six-storey mixed-use podium. The four highrises would contain a total of 1,380 suites, while an L-shaped nine-storey building at the north end of the property would feature 243 units.

The proposal also calls for 934 underground parking spaces, 823 of which would be reserved for residents. The developer is also planning to create a half-acre public park on the southwest corner of the site along Lees Avenue.

Robinson Avenue park
Place Dor​ée's proposal includes a half-acre public park along Lees Avenue.

The application doesn’t specify whether the units would be rental apartments or condos.

However, the property is located less than half a kilometre from the University of Ottawa’s main campus, and development plans for other nearby properties have proposed rental projects aimed at students. 

In its application, Place Dor​ée notes that the university’s master plan includes a potential student housing highrise next door at 1 Robinson Ave. that could accommodate up to 1,180 units with more than 4,000 beds as well as ground-floor commercial and retail space.

The builder is requesting an amendment to the current secondary plan, which limits buildings to 20 storeys on the southern portion of the site and six storeys on the north side. The current zoning rules would also need to be amended to accommodate various changes to setback requirements and a slight reduction in the minimum separation between towers.

Noting that the property is within 400 metres of the Lees LRT station, the application says the plan offers “a significant opportunity for redevelopment of an underutilized property” near the downtown core. 

“Providing high-density residential uses, the development will promote the use of transit and increase housing options,” the builder adds. “The proposed development has been designed in a manner that will further support increased pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the area.”

Place Dor​ée did not immediately respond to requests for comment.