The Château Laurier’s aging parking garage may be torn down before its proposed expansion even begins, as the hotel’s engineers have deemed the unsightly structure unsound and a risk to public safety.
Larco Investments Ltd., owner of the Château Laurier, has proposed the demolition of the five-storey parkade in an application to the City of Ottawa. Nearly 50 years of Ottawa’s harsh climate and salt infiltration have led to extensive deterioration, the engineers concluded. The fourth and fifth levels of the parking garage were already closed in 2016 and 2015, respectively, due to poor conditions.
A surface-level parking lot with 90 spaces will be retained if the demolition proposal is accepted.
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City heritage staff say they support the demolition, which was planned to take place anyways with the Château’s proposed expansion. The original plans called for an underground parking structure to replace the parkade. Larco development director Art Phillips previously told OBJ he was surprised the garage was ever built, given how it blocks the heritage building’s rear sightlines.
If approved, the demolition is expected to begin in February and finish in May, with minimal interruption to the hotel’s operations.
Last May, Larco Investments said it was revising its initial design for a two-tower, 200-plus unit addition to the rear of the hotel, first proposed in 2016. The controversial application was panned by various members of the public including Mayor Jim Watson.
That proposal was scaled back slightly in subsequent designs, but a resubmission has yet to be submitted to the city and National Capital Commission. According to the city, public consultations could begin again as early as this winter.