Colonnade BridgePort files plan for five-tower residential complex near Blair Station

City Park rendering
Colonnade BridgePort has filed plans to build five residential highrises at City Park Drive in Gloucester.

Colonnade BridgePort says it plans to build five residential highrises with upwards of 1,200 units on property near the Blair LRT station it purchased earlier this year.

The Ottawa-based real estate firm has filed an application to develop the four-acre parcel of land at 2000 City Park Dr., about 450 metres west of Blair Station and the nearby Gloucester Centre mall.

The company is proposing to create a “planned community” with more than a million square feet of residential space in five buildings of between 20 and 30 storeys that would be arranged around a central park. 

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Under current zoning rules, the height limit for most of the property is 20 storeys.

Colonnade BridgePort, the city’s largest privately owned commercial property manager, partnered with an unnamed institutional investor to buy the land and an adjacent five-storey office tower at 1900 City Park Dr. from QuadReal Property Group in March.

The 2000 City Park Dr. property is already zoned for about 1.3 million square feet of residential and commercial development, Colonnade BridgePort CEO Hugh Gorman told OBJ earlier this year. 

The firm is seeking Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments that would also allow residential towers to be built on the site of the office building. 

Planning documents say the long-term conceptual plan for 1900 City Park Dr. calls for the office building to be demolished and replaced with three highrises with about 1,000 additional residential suites, but Colonnade BridgePort executives said Tuesday those plans are not set in stone and the company is focused on developing the property next door.

“That office building has some great tenants in there already that are occupying the space that can continue to operate, so we’ll evaluate that when the time comes,” development manager Bonnie Martell said.

Rental apartments

The five towers at 2000 City Park will be built in phases, with construction based on market demand, Martell added. The units will be rental apartments in a variety of sizes, but the company has yet to determine the exact mix and price range.

“We do intend on including a component of (affordable housing), just like we do on all of our other projects, but what that number looks like and what that rent looks like, it’s just all sort of up in the air,” Martell said. 

Other aspects of the project, including the number of parking spaces, types of amenities and a potential ground-floor retail component, have yet to be decided, she said. 

“These are all things we look into. We’ll be doing a lot more research to refine what that looks like,” Martell explained. “We have a ton of commercial, retail, restaurants, office and even residential around this neighbourhood. We’re fortunate that we’re building in a fabric that already exists.

“The more we can get away from auto-dependent communities, the closer we will get to decarbonizing the city. Certainly, that’s the intent, especially when we have space that’s in (such) close proximity to the LRT.”

Martell said the company is hoping the Official Plan and zoning amendments will be approved before the end of 2023. The firm is aiming to file a site plan for the initial five-building project next year and will begin construction as soon as it gets the green light from the city, she added.

When the City Park acquisition closed, Gorman said Colonnade BridgePort was looking at subdividing the property into several parcels and selling them to other partners, similar to the approach it’s taking to develop a site at 25 Pickering Pl. near the Ottawa train station.

On Tuesday, Martell said that approach remains a possibility.

“We don’t know who might be part of this whole buildout just yet,” she said. 

The deal was the first for Colonnade BridgePort’s new private equity real estate fund that launched early this year. Martell said the firm is excited about the City Park project’s potential.

“It’s such a great development site,” she said. “You don’t get many of these in the city. We’re hoping that everything else is smooth sailing from here.”

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