Taggart Group downsizes proposed Kent Street residential highrise

Taggart Kent Street proposal
Taggart Group's previous submission for its project at 359 Kent St. called for a 30-storey tower (left) as opposed to the current 27-storey design (right).

An Ottawa developer has downsized a proposed residential tower on Kent Street that would have exceeded the city’s height limit for “landmark buildings” in Centretown.

Taggart Group says its revised plan for 359 Kent St. now calls for a 27-storey highrise rather than the 30-storey tower it proposed earlier this year. That plan was itself a rejigged version of the developer’s original 2021 proposal that envisioned a 34-storey highrise on the property, which is now home to a historic office building.

In its latest planning application filed with the city, Taggart says the height of the proposed development has been reduced to “reflect the feedback from the public and the city staff.”

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Earlier this year, Taggart chief operating officer Derek Howe told OBJ the plan is still in its early stages. Howe said the company does not intend to redevelop the property, which it purchased about a dozen years ago, for at least another decade.

Other changes to the proposal include a reduction in the height of the tower’s podium from five storeys to four. 

In addition, the company says the building’s design has been “simplified” based on feedback from an international panel of architects that reviewed the project. 

A “curtain wall” feature on the building’s southwest corner has been scrapped, while the tower’s framing has been “streamlined” and vertical members have been removed to “lighten up the tower,” Taggart said in planning documents.

The proposal has also been revamped to add more community space, which is required for a development proposal to qualify for “landmark” status. 

The original submission included 2,000 square feet of “civic use space” at one of three locations: a nearby heritage home at 436 MacLaren St. or two potential spaces in the new tower. 

The revised plan calls for more than 11,000 square feet of civic space, including 3,300 square feet in the MacLaren Street building, 2,000 square feet in the new highrise and another 5,700 square feet in a privately owned space linking the two other areas.

The revisions are Taggart’s latest attempt to ensure the project gains the approval of the city and nearby residents.

The developer scaled back its original design after residents complained the building would not fit the character of the neighbourhood, which is dominated by two- and three-storey homes, many of which are more than a century old.

The highrise would replace Legion House, which currently occupies the Kent Street property. The six-storey office building constructed in the early 1950s once served as the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Legion.

After consulting last year with community representatives, city heritage staff and groups such as Heritage Ottawa, Taggart decided it would save the limestone cladding from the Legion House’s south and west facades and use it to build the podium on the proposed highrise.

Although Legion House is not a provincially designated heritage site, Taggart says city heritage officials feel the structure has “local significance” because it once served as the Legion’s head office.

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