Canada Lands proposes three-tower development for Carling Avenue

Canada Lands render
Canada Lands render

Canada Lands

A federal Crown corporation that buys surplus government land is teaming up with an Aboriginal group on a plan that would see private developers build three mixed-use towers on a prime parcel of real estate just west of the Glebe.

The Canada Lands Company and the Algonquins of Ontario, who purchased the land in a joint partnership in 2017, have launched a proposal to construct three highrises of 13, 20 and 25 storeys at 291 Carling Ave. The 1.3-hectare site on the north side of Carling between Lebreton and Bell streets is currently used as a surface parking lot.

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According to a development concept plan presented at an open house on Tuesday night, the three highrises would include retail or commercial space on the ground floor and contain up to 530 “affordable and family-oriented” residential units. 

Katherine Constantine, the Canada Lands Company’s director of real estate for the National Capital Region, said further details such as the exact amount of space that will be allotted to commercial use and whether the residential units will be condos or rental apartments have yet to be determined. About 10 per cent of the units will be designated “affordable” in accordance with the CLC’s mandate, she said.

The concept plan was conceived through feedback from public consultations held last July and will be revised based on input gathered Tuesday night, CLC officials said. The agency plans to file a rezoning application seeking increased height limits and other changes to the city next month.


CLC will then take the plan back to the public for another round of consultations and work with the Algonquins and McRobie Architects on overall design guidelines. 

Builders will be required to “buy into” CLC’s vision for the land, Constantine said. According to a presentation Tuesday night, the development’s overall design and materials “will reflect Algonquin connections to Mother Earth and community within an urban city block.”

The development is also expected to include “small, neighbourhood shops” as well as pathways and greenspaces. A natural rock outcrop on the eastern portion of the site near Bell Street will be preserved and incorporated into the design, Constantine said.

Busy ‘hood for development

Located on the southwestern edge of the Glebe Annex, the Carling Avenue property is just a few blocks from one of Ottawa’s hottest neighbourhoods.

Homebuilder Claridge is constructing a 45-storey condo tower at the corner of Preston Street and Carling Avenue, and Mastercraft Starwood has launched its long-awaited Soho Italia luxury condo project at nearby 500 Preston. In addition, the site is less than 600 metres from the Carling O-Train station on the Trillium Line, which the city is preparing to expand in the coming years. 

The Canada Lands Company is a federal Crown corporation that’s responsible for selling surplus government properties to maximize both the community value of the land as well as the financial return to taxpayers. Locally, its recent projects include the former Rockcliffe Airbase, the 6.5-acre Booth Street campus on the edge of Little Italy and a 10.4-acre property at 800 Montreal Road, across from the Montfort Hospital.

CLC officials say they expect the city to approve the rezoning by the spring of 2020. Once any necessary remediation work is complete, the CLC will then invite private developers to bid on the land either in parcels or as an entire package, likely by 2021, Constantine said.

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