‘Puzzle’ parking garage to be built in Ottawa

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Ottawa will soon be home to one of the first sliding puzzle parking systems in Canada when the system is installed in the Eddy, a six-storey condo development set to be built in Hintonburg, according to the developer behind the project.

The parking garage allows users to drive into a bay and exit their vehicle, which is then lowered in an elevator and shuffled into a system where cars fit together like puzzle pieces underground.

“You don’t see it at all,” said Rodney Wilts, development manager of the Ottawa-based Windmill Development Group, which is building the Eddy and previously constructed The Currents condo tower atop the Great Canadian Theatre Co. at the corner of Holland Avenue and Wellington Street West.

The parking system uses 60 per cent less space and requires less ventilation and lighting than a traditional garage. It’s a concept that has been used in Europe for the past two decades because of space constraints, but it’s a green innovation that Canada should make use of, Mr. Wilts said.

As tenants prepare to leave the building, they can use their smartphone, tablet or a button within the elevator to summon their vehicle so it is ready for them upon their departure.

The garage will be monitored remotely, Mr. Wilts said, with no guard on duty to oversee the process.

Similar parking structures have popped up in major American cities, but the Eddy will be the second of its kind in Canada, the first being in Vancouver.

“Somebody has to be the first,” Mr. Wilts said, adding that he predicts it will become a popular model in the near future.

The Eddy, which will have only 57 condos, says it plans to sell units at a lower price point than some of its earlier projects to counter an expected slowdown in the housing market.

“Canada’s larger urban centres are embracing intensification to address population growth, optimize existing infrastructure and costs, and reduce traffic,” Mr. Wilts stated in a company release. “Our experience is that intensification doesn’t have to come at the expense of the community.”

Other green initiatives for the Eddy include a rooftop park, a geothermal heating system, smaller energy-efficient kitchen appliances and interior bike parking spots.

Windmill is one of only two condo developers to have obtained LEED Platinum ratings in Canada. It is also working on the Cathedral Hill development in Ottawa, which are luxury condos at Queen Street and Bronson Avenue.

The Eddy is anticipating a spring 2014 occupancy, according to the developer.

The six-storey building will be at 1000 Wellington St., halfway between Parkdale Avenue and Preston Street, which used to be a car dealership called Ideal Motors.