Broccolini buying Alterna land

A coveted downtown development site, adjacent to property expropriated by the city for Ottawa’s light-rail line, is expected to be purchased by a major developer within the next year.

A spokesperson for Alterna Savings says the co-op has entered into an agreement with Broccolini Construction to sell its property at 400 Albert St., between Bay and Lyon streets, for redevelopment.

The site currently features a three-storey, 54,000-square-foot office building that was built in 1960. The T-shaped property also contains a 53,000-square-foot development site fronting Slater Street, according to data published by commercial real estate services firm Altus InSite.

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“The building is past its economic life and (would) certainly require substantial investment in the coming years,” Pamela Stewart, Alterna’s vice-president and chief marketing officer, told OBJ.

“(But) the intrinsic value of the property really lies in the land, not the building.”

She said there are still “a number of conditions” that must be satisfied before the deal closes, adding that process could take up to a year.

When contacted by OBJ, Broccolini vice-president Derek Howe confirmed the details provided by Ms. Stewart but declined further comment.

The company is currently constructing two office towers in Gatineau for the federal government. Broccolini also teamed up with Canderel to construct the recently completed Export Development Canada tower at the corner of Slater and O’Connor streets.

The company had been marketing office space in a proposed tower at 199 Slater St., between Bank and O’Connor streets, for several years but appears to have recently replaced that plan with a proposal to build a 250,000-square-foot, 21-storey tower with private condominium residences and a boutique hotel.

Back on the west side of downtown, Alterna says it has owned the Hyde Clarke Building since 1966. In the 1970s the space was expanded to connect to the Lampman Building, according to Ms. Stewart.

The city attempted to acquire the land in 2009-10 to construct a new 345,000-square-foot library atop a light-rail station. The vision for the new library fell apart in 2010 after the city and Alterna failed to agree on a price for the property.

Last November, city council approved the expropriation of two parcels of land at the corner of Albert and Lyon streets totalling roughly 10,225 square feet, from Benjamin Feinstein for its light-rail project.

The property currently contains Alterna’s head office as well as a retail banking branch. A downtown location has been selected for a new branch and will open in 2013, says Ms. Stewart, adding a public announcement would be made once the lease is finalized.

A request for proposals was published earlier this year for Alterna’s new head office, but Ms. Stewart says no firm decisions have been made.

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