Windmill

Greening Our Urban Environments

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cottage Chores… We have staff for those! Family Fun… You have time for that! Fractional Ownership… Everyone can afford this!

WHITEWATER VILLAGE Luxury Cottage Club, ON – Windmill Developments GroupLtd., one of Canadaʼs leading green developers is proud to announce their WhitewaterVillage Luxury Cottage Club development as a finalist in Ottawaʼs Tourism PartnershipAwards. Windmill Developments partnered with Wilderness Tours Rafting to develop a34 acre peninsula of land to host 34 eco-friendly, luxury cottages with unbelievablewaterfront.

“We are changing the way people think of cottage life in Ontario, fractional ownership of a vacation property makes so much sense.” Stated, Jonathon Westeinde – Managing Partner of Windmill Developments. ”Maintenance free contemporary cottages, with a goal to be greenhouse gas neutral is turning heads with its savvy appeal and luxurious living.”

Interested families can enjoy the opportunity of investment in a recreational 4-season cottage on the beautiful Rocher-Fendu Lake with a gorgeous south facing sandy beach and a long list of amenities.

“Fractional business is new to Ottawans, although already a popular trend in the Muskokas”, stated Susan Finlay, Director of Marketing for WHITEWATER VILLAGE. “We offer so much to our fractional owners including: fully furnished luxury log homes, a Club House, new docks, sauna, golf carts, kayaks, canoes and a childrenʼs play structure to make each vacation a spectacular experience!”

Toronto has enjoyed the benefits of fractional vacation properties for years and it is finally a lifestyle available just one hour west of Ottawa. With waterfront property prices sky-rocketting and travel oppurtunities diversifying, fractional ownership is the smart solution. Whitewater Village is affiliated with RCI (Resort Condominiums International), making every owner a member of the worlds largest vacation exchange organization. Weʼve made all vacationersʼ dreams come true – cottaging and travel.

The strong sense of community and great locality makes Whitewater Village a smart investment for all vacation seekers. Owners enjoy every minute of their cottage time without ever having to maintain, replace or even clean their cottage! Stroll along the graceful boardwalk promenade, taking in wide-open views of water and sky. Discreetly out of sight, youʼll find the cottages that make up this vacation community. The ease of a fabulous family cottage and the social horizons of a resort community are woven into the design of Whitewater Village so seamlessly that everyone, no matter how social or
private, will enjoy themselves.

Meet friends at the beachside village clubhouse, or cocoon with a book on your private deck. Take the kids for a swim at the expansive beach, or get active canoeing, biking the trails, putting your kayak skills to the test. If you happen to visit during the winter months, pull out your skates or skis and explore the wilderness.

Whitewater Village is at the heart of one of North Americaʼs most celebrated natural playgrounds and Canadaʼs best whitewater rafting and kayaking. Yet some days you may want to relax and let the world go by. “Its like that here, a world of comfort and choice for people of all ages, breathe clean air, swim in fresh water, and be with those you love, creating fond memories for generations to come” states Jonathan Westeinde.

Whitewater Village was created as one of the only sustainable cottage clubs in the world and the many details that warrant this make the devlopment 40-50% more energy and water efficient.

Open for tours every weekend from 10am – 4pm – directions available at www.whitewatervillage.ca

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By Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen

After decades of trying to develop its lands on Cathedral Hill, the Anglican diocese finally received approval to go ahead with a project that will see, among other things, a condominium tower on the southwest portion of the site that will be 21-storeys high -or more than three times the height that’s currently allowed.

Council’s planning committee Tuesday unanimously approved the proposal to construct a 21-storey condominium tower, a row of four townhouses and a 12-storey office building around Christ Church Cathedral at the west end of Sparks Street. The plan was also approved last week by the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee.

However, the plan did not sit well with the half-dozen or so residents who came to argue that the development was too dense and that heights will block important views.

For the spot where the condo building will be built, the existing zoning allows for heights of 20 metres. Tuesday’s decision, which will go to council today, allows a maximum height of 73.6 metres.

The new towers will be slightly higher than the cathedral spires and “considerably higher than the other existing heritage buildings” nearby, according to a city report. “Do not foist this development on us,” said James McGraw, whose wife owns a condo on Bronson Avenue. “This is going to overwhelm the cathedral and its attendant buildings.”

Hugh Finsten, who lives on Bay Street on the eastern edge of the site, told councillors he was worried the views of the Ottawa River from his condo will be blocked, and could affect the value of his home. But more importantly, he said later, the development “is a real detriment to downtown Ottawa.”

“I thought that this proposal doesn’t fit at all in the neighbourhood,” said Finsten. “The cathedral is going to be walled in. Yes, it’s true, you’re going to be able to see it from the parkway, but the rest of the view is all blocked up.”

The site is bounded by Bronson Avenue to the west, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to the east, Sparks Street to the north and Queen Street to the south. Christ Church owns all the property except St. Peter’s and three Queen Anne revival houses on Queen Street.

The Anglican diocese wants to develop the land surrounding the 138-year-old building to generate income for its ministries and to pay for the ongoing restoration of the heritage building, which costs at least $100,000 a year, Rev. Shane Parker, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and rector of Christ Church, told the committee Tuesday.

“It’s a Victorian Gothic building in the middle of one of the coldest climates on earth and the wear and tear is significant,” he later said.

Although the financial details of the diocese’s deal with Windmill Development Group of Ottawa to undertake the project were not made public, Parker said the complex leasing deal will provide the church with revenue “in perpetuity,” and that will free up money for the church to invest “in things related to people, as opposed to the structure itself.”

The church is also in discussions with Habitat for Humanity to provide some affordable housing units in the 136-unit residential development.

Cathedral Hill is a designated heritage district, and new buildings are supposed to be sensitive and complementary. The design has morphed from a boxy, 15-storey residential building into a skinnier 21-storey residential tower, which the city’s design review panel prefers because the more slender tower will be less dominating. The tower has also been moved farther from the cathedral, to provide a better view of the church from the north side.

Somerset Councillor Diane Holmes represents the ward where Cathedral Hill is located. She supports most of the project, as well as the church’s requirement for revenue, but said “the height is a real problem.” “It’s either fat and squat or tall and thin,” said Holmes, who in not on the planning committee and hence could not vote on the issue. “We don’t ever seem to be able to have a less-tall-and-thin discussion, it’s always an extremely-talland-thin discussion.”

The plan calls for demolishing the 1950s Cathedral Hall facing Sparks Street and constructing a new hall in the centre of the site. That allows the designers to build a narrow tower behind Roper House -a heritage-designated site -and put lower-scaled townhouses where the church hall was on Sparks.

 

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Proposal now goes to city planning

By Meghan Hurley, Ottawa Citizen

A proposal to build a 21-storey condominium tower, a row of townhouses and a 12-storey office building around the Christ Church Cathedral will move ahead to the city’s planning committee after it was approved by the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee on Thursday night.

The committee voted in favour of the proposal going to the City of Ottawa planning committee May 9 and then to council on May 11 for approval.

The Anglican cathedral plans to develop the land surrounding the 138-year-old building to generate income for its ministries.

The design aims to transform a patchwork of parking lots and historic structures into a coherent urban block that integrates contemporary buildings with the cathedral.

The diocese and cathedral have a deal with Windmill Development Group of Ottawa for a 220,000-square foot development on 35,000 square feet of leased land.

The site is bounded by Bronson Street to the west, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to the east, Sparks Street to the south and Queen Street to the north.

The backdrop to the church is a wall of residential highrises.

Cathedral Hill is a designated heritage district, and new buildings are supposed to be sensitive and complementary.

An earlier design showed a boxier, 15-storey residential building. Now it is 21 storeys plus a mechanical floor. The top two storeys are penthouse units set back from the rest of the tower to shape the top and to respect protected sightlines related to Parliament Hill.

The designers suggest that a taller, more slender tower can better address urban design issues on the site, compared with a shorter building of the same interior size.

However, community associations have expressed concern about the size of the proposed development.

“Normally, a neighbourhood would end tapering down, and this would do the opposite. It tapers up,” said Charles Akben-Marchand, president of the Centretown Citizens Community Association.

“You can see how the office building really crowds the steeple of the church.”

The keys to unlocking the potential of the site while keeping the houses are the removal of the 1950s Cathedral Hall facing Sparks Street and the construction of a new parish hall in the centre of the site.

That allows the designers to slip a narrow tower behind Roper House and put lower -scaled townhouses where the church hall was.

The townhouses are key elements in the urban design strategy. They provide a lower building along Sparks Street to make a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape and use stone to relate to the older buildings. The townhouses match Roper House in scale at its west end while deferring to the cathedral to the east.

The cathedral will be framed by new buildings and have a new plaza in front. There will be new pedestrian routes between Sparks and Queen.

The townhouses are set back more than the present church hall so the cathedral is more visible.

The office building is pushed back further than in an earlier scheme to allow a clear view from St. Peter’s to the cathedral.

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While there are concerns a highrise may dwarf a century-old cathedral, the designers are working hard to respect the heritage of the spectacular site, writes Maria Cook

By Maria Cook., Ottawa Citizen

Christ Church Cathedral occupies a spectacular and visible site on the escarpment west of Parliament Hill, overlooking the Ottawa River. The distinctive stone building, flanked by its soaring bell tower, is seen in dramatic silhouette above the Garden of the Provinces.

The Anglican cathedral plans to develop the land surrounding the 138-year-old building to generate income for its ministries.

A proposal for a 21-storey condominium tower, a row of townhouses and a 12-storey office building goes to the City of Ottawa planning committee May 9 and council on May 11 for approval. There are about 130 residential units.

The design aims to transform a patchwork of parking lots and historic structures into a coherent urban block that integrates contemporary buildings with the cathedral.

“We see the cathedral as being the really unique element,” says architect Gordon Stratford, of HOK Toronto. “We didn’t want anything that would fight with the building. We wanted to respect and work with the heritage on the site.”

Images of the project show muted colours, pedestrian spaces, and lots of trees and plants. The forms are simple and the contemporary materials are intended to be in harmony with the old brick and stone buildings.

The diocese and cathedral have a deal with Windmill Development Group of Ottawa for a 220,000-squarefoot development on 35,000 square feet of leased land.

The site is bounded by Bronson Street to the west, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to the east, Sparks Street to the south and Queen Street to the north. The backdrop to the church is a wall of residential high-rises.

The developer is asking for a zoning amendment for a height increase. The current zoning is for seven to eight storeys. If approved, the condo tower would be the highest building on the block, but not in the area.

Cathedral Hill is a designated heritage district; new buildings are supposed to be sensitive and complementary.

An earlier design showed a boxier 15-storey residential building. Now it is 21 storeys plus a mechanical floor. The top two storeys are penthouse units set back from the rest of the tower to shape the top and respect protected sightlines related to Parliament Hill.

The designers suggest that a taller, more slender tower can better address urban design issues on the site, compared with a shorter building of the same interior size.

It means that the footprint of the tower at ground level is smaller, permitting courtyards and pedestrian passages. It also reduces the amount of view blocked for neighbours across the street.

Roper House, a former lumber baron’s mansion that serves as the bishop’s office, is preserved. So is Lauder Hall, built in 1902 and housing church offices and choir space. The plan includes partial retention of two semidetached houses on Queen Street built in the 1800s.

The key to unlocking the potential of the site while keeping the houses is removal of the 1950s Cathedral Hall facing Sparks Street, and construction of a new parish hall in the centre of the site.

This permits the designers to slip a narrow tower behind Roper House and put lowerscaled townhouses where the church hall used to be.

The townhouses are a key element in the urban design strategy. They provide a lower building along Sparks Street to make a more pedestrianfriendly streetscape and use stone to relate to the older buildings. The townhouses match Roper House in scale at its west end while deferring to the cathedral to the east.

The condo tower rises from behind the townhouses. Designed with a curve, it will feature opaque and transparent glass.

“This will be a very wellmannered building,” says Stratford. “We want to make sure it’s interesting but subtle enough to serve as a quiet backdrop to the cathedral.”

Stratford said the scheme will allow people to appreciate the site’s history. “You will all of a sudden take notice of the cathedral again,” he said.

“You will come into closer contact with the cathedral than you do now.”

The cathedral will be framed by new buildings and have a new plaza in front. There will be new pedestrian routes between Sparks and Queen. The townhouses are set back more than the present church hall so the cathedral is more visible.

The office building is pushed back further than in an earlier scheme to allow a clear view from St. Peter’s to the cathedral.

A new entrance designed as a glass pavilion “gives the cathedral some much-needed breathing space, and allows it to be more fully appreciated as a significant landmark,” says Stratford. “Glass has been purposely selected to provide an understated backdrop to the beautiful detailing and rusticated stone.”

The proponents worked closely with the city’s new urban design review panel, a volunteer advisory group of architects, urban designers and landscape architects.

Windmill’s chief executive Jonathan Westeinde praised them for “valuable insight” and said they helped make the case with city planners for a taller building.

The panel shifted the discussion from compliance with setbacks and height limits to design, pedestrian experience and continuity of streetscape.

“It was a real factor in getting the same amount of density in a more esthetically pleasing form,” says Westeinde. “The planning department had always stipulated not going higher than 15 storeys. The design review panel was able to provide the influence to get past the height barriers.”

Otherwise, he says, they would have had no choice but to build a rectangular box. The pair of semidetached houses are being preserved in exchange.

“Because the site is so significant we felt there really needed to be some serious critiquing of any proposal,” said panel chair David Leinster, a Toronto landscape architect.

“The new architecture should recede,” he said. “We wanted to keep the footprint as small as we could. We wanted to make sure the spire was maintained as a dominant vertical element. We wanted the places where the public can wander to be very special.”

The panel supports the cathedral’s efforts to keep going. “In Toronto, we’ve seen magnificent churches and cathedrals being turned into condos,” he said. “We didn’t want to see something like that happen.”

Still, community associations express concern about size.

“While I appreciate that the condo building has got thinner it has also got taller, and it now dwarfs the cathedral spire,” says Eric Darwin, president of the Dalhousie Community Association. “The new condo, taller than the rest of the block, will set a new precedent for the next condo.”

Adds Charles Akben-Marchand, president of the Centretown Citizens Community Association: “The office building is still very close to the spire of the church. One of our concerns was the addition of office development west of Lyon, which was supposed to remain residential.”

Both towers are to be built to stateof-the art environmental standards, at least LEED platinum. The original idea for the office building was to be a hub for environmental organizations.

“We’re not giving up on that concept, but most of the organizations we started with are in deep financial trouble,” says Westeinde.

Meanwhile, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church is in talks with the developer.

“Our issues include building setback from the east side adjacent to our church to protect our views as much as possible, and the potential loss of our parking spaces adjacent to the west side of our church,” said spokesman Bruce Wolfgram. “We are hopeful that we will all come to an agreeable solution.”

Windmill expects to start marketing the condos in June and start construction next winter to open in spring 2013.

Units are expected to start at about $270,000 with no prices yet on the penthouses.

 

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