Feds eye 4.9M square feet of new office space for Tunney’s Pasture

Public Works officials provided the first in-depth glimpse of its redevelopment plans for Tunney’s Pasture on Monday evening, offering two options that would both add millions of square feet of office space to the sprawling government campus.

Both plans envision retaining the existing three million square feet of office space. At an open house, an official with the private-sector design team acknowledged the deteriorating physical condition of some of the buildings on the Tunney’s Pasture campus, but said they could be rehabilitated and that there were no imminent demolition plans.

(Representatives from HOK Architects, which received a $664,000 government contract to prepare a master plan for the campus in 2009, planning and engineering firm Delcan, and Public Works were all present at the open house, but would only speak to the media on the condition they not be directly quoted.)

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The first option would see an additional 4.88 million square feet of new office space constructed. That’s roughly ten times as much space as is contained inside the new Export Development Canada headquarters at the corner of O’Connor and Slater streets.

To put the number in further context, if all that space was constructed overnight, it would increase the federal government’s overall inventory of leased and Crown-owned property by approximately 12.9 per cent, according to government documents.

The more intensive “option one” – characterized by buildings constructed close to roadways reminiscent of a downtown city block – would also include an additional 172,000 square feet of laboratory space, 800 residential units and nearly 560,000 square feet of commercial space.

Officials were vague on the nature of the space, saying that it would be both oriented towards serving the thousands of civil servants working at Tunney’s Pasture, as well as the surrounding community.

The second option features more green space and only 3.96 million square feet of new office space. There’s slightly less commercial space than in the first option, but the number of residential units – which would be built along Parkdale Avenue on the east side of the campus – increases to 1,000.

Some of the existing parking would be buried underground, but officials say bedrock on the site would limit it to roughly two storeys. Even though the number of people working on the site is expected to roughly double to 20,000, planners anticipate many of those will take transit, negating the need for increasing the amount of on-site parking. (An official said he did not have the exact number of parking spots on hand.)

Officials have so far spent three years drafting the 25-year Tunney’s Pasture master plan, which is intended to guide future redevelopment.

After gathering feedback on the two proposals, Public Works and its consultants intend to prepare a report, circulate it to other organizations such as the City of Ottawa, and then present it to the National Capital Commission for approval by mid-2013.

A senior Public Works official said no budget has been established for any redevelopment and said it would be premature to discuss the extent of the private sector’s role in constructing any new buildings.

“We will look at all the options available and pick the one with the most innovation and the least cost,” he said.

Option 1:

Office: 7.81 million square feet of gross floor area (2.94 million square feet of existing space plus 4.88 million square feet of new space.)

Labs: 452,084 square feet (279,862 square feet of new space plus 172,223 square feet of new space.)

Commercial: 559,723 square feet (527,432 square feet of “hub service” space plus 32,291 square feet of other commercial space.)

Residential: 800 units

Future development parcels: 1.18 million square feet (office or residential)

Total: 10 million square feet and 800 units


Option 2:

Office: 6.9 million square feet (2.94 million square feet of existing space plus 3.96 million square feet of new space)

Labs: 452,084 square feet (279,862 square feet of existing space plus 172,223 square feet of new space)

Commercial: 527,432 square feet (409,029 square feet of “hub service” space plus 118,403 square feet of other commercial space.)

Residential: 1,000 units

Future development parcels: 1.08 square feet (office or residential).

Total: 8.96 million square feet.

Note: All figures converted from square metres to square feet. Totals may not perfectly add up due to rounding.

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