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Windmill Developments Win Greenline Ideas Competition

The Green Line Ideas Competition is a global competition that called on architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, artists and community members to formulate design proposals to improve the functionality of a 5km long hydro corridor in midtown Toronto. The competition aimed to use this particular hydro corridor as a template for potential ways to improve the public uses of these derelict spaces in cities all across North America.

Alex Speigel, Managing Partner of Windmill Development Group’s Toronto office, partnered with Susan Speigel Architect Inc. to create a visionary design focused on green energy production as a way to fund other public realm improvements along the corridor. Windmill’s submission placed 2nd out of a total 77 competition entrants. We proposed a scheme based on retrofitting existing infrastructure to generate clean, renewable energy using vertical wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, and geothermal loops below grade.

See Windmills’ Green Line Ideas Competition Submission  >

Whereas most other competition entrants focused on single issues, Windmill Development’s approach was more holistic and comprehensive. The energy harnessed through these infrastructure improvements would serve as a source of revenue to fund a variety of the public realm enhancements put forth by other competition entrants. The proposal has received support from city councilors, the local community, and was featured in this week’s NRU. Whether or not any of the winning designs will actually be implemented remains to be seen but the ideas competition has certainly stimulated positive community discussion and helped to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

NRU May 10th Edition >

 

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Learn what makes Windmill unique in the development world, what values drive our team and why our partners and clients choose Canada’s Greenest Developer. Beyond our green initiatives, this video explores the company’s world-class reputation for being a rigorous and holistic driving force in sustainable real estate.

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Costs of maintaining heritage buildings driving owners to search for alternative revenues

Elizabeth Howell, Ottawa Business Journal

As it secures the necessary permits to construct condo and office buildings on the Christ Church Cathedral property on Sparks Street, Windmill Developments says it is eyeing similar agreements with other local faith-based landowners.

“It’s going to become more of a common element: churches and non-profits are running out of money and there’s a lot of money to be gained in leasing the land,” said Jonathan Westeinde, Windmill’s owner.

Working with a church is a first, he added, but the firm – which specializes in eco-friendly developments and constructed the Great Canadian Theatre Co. building in Hintonburg – commonly pursues projects with municipalities and not-for-profits.

Recent examples include The Bridges, a new “urban village” intended to bring 2,000 to 2,500 residents into the centre of Calgary, and Dockside Green, a waterfront community in Victoria. Each of those developments included heavy participation from the respective cities.

The experience “is why we landed where we did in the church,” he added.

Christ Church representative David Caulfeild said he’s of heard at least one local Presbyterian church considering the same model.

“A lot of churches are looking at this approach because it’s the only avenue left to allow a church to continue without going into serious deficit,” said Mr. Caulfeild, chair of the church’s joint venture development committee, and an engineer whose past projects include the Ottawa International Airport’s redevelopment.

“Heritage properties are expensive to maintain, and with 80 per cent of your annual collection going into bricks and mortar, there is not much left to carry out the mission of the church.”

Windmill is planning to put up a 21-storey residential condominium tower and a 12-storey office building on the 35,000-square-foot complex on Sparks Street, west of Bay Street, that it is leasing from Christ Church.

The office tower was recently endorsed by the city’s planning committee and is slated to go before council later in August.

Precise details of the commercial lease are confidential, but Mr. Westeinde said his firm will make a fixed payment to the church from its lease revenues.

Windmill plans to pre-lease the building prior to starting construction, which Mr. Westeinde said he hopes will commence next year.

The condos, dubbed Cathedral Hill, will go on sale in September with prices ranging between $240,000 and just over $2 million. Construction should be finished next year.

Christ Church will make a prepayment on its 200-year residential lease, but the rest of the revenues will not kick in until the condominium reaches the end of its lifetime. Possible options then would include selling the building or starting a new redevelopment.

The development process began three years ago, when the Anglican diocese and the church – which own different parcels of land in the area – decided the lease approach was the best way to raise money for the 178-year-old building.

“With respect to the office building, there is a tripwire in the lease agreement that says that every 10 years, the rental agreement will be reviewed and compared with current market value for the office space,” Mr. Caulfeild added.

“(If there’s an) escalation in market value, we will receive our proportionate share of that revenue.”

HOLY LAND

Residential
Height: 21 storeys
Size: About 160,000 sq. ft.
Sales price: Between $240,000 and $2 million
Other details: 145 condo units, eight townhomes on Sparks Street, two townhomes on Queen Street

Office

Height: 12 storeys
Size: About 125,000 sq. ft.
Lease value: Undetermined
Other details: Building will be pre-leased before starting construction

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Anita Murray, Ottawa Citizen

Buyers will soon be calling Sparks Street home with the release of the first street-level townhouses. Part of a development called Cathedral Hill, the eight town-homes will be integrated with a 21-storey condo tower on an escarpment overlooking the Garden of the Provinces at Sparks Street and Bronson Avenue.

The project is being built on Anglican Church land that is the home to Christ Church Cathedral. Although there was some opposition, developer Windmill Developments worked with the church and the city to make sure the project, which includes an office tower, defers to the cathedral.

Cathedral Hill launched last fall with brisk sales of the condo units. The final release, which includes 10 townhomes (there are two others that incorporate the facades of two semi-detached homes facing Queen Street), came last weekend. The townhomes range from 1,389 square feet for a Queen Street unit to 2,223 square feet with a 600-square-foot rooftop terrace and elevator for one of the Sparks Street homes. Prices range from $675,000 to $1.5 million. Units range from two bedrooms to three bedrooms plus den, and some plans allow for the ground floor to be easily used as a business space. The townhouses will also have access to the amenities available in the condo tower, which include rooftop garden plots, a fitness centre, a movie theatre, wine storage, a dog washing room, an electric car charging station and a concierge.

Also released last weekend were eight penthouses, six terraces and the last of the 139 condo units.

The development has aimed to transform a patchwork of parking lots and historic structures into a block that integrates contemporary buildings with the cathedral. Roper House, which serves as the bishop’s office and sales centre for the project, is preserved, along with Lauder Hall, a century-old building housing church offices and choir space. What makes the project work is the demolition of Cathedral Hall, a 1950s building on Sparks Street that will be replaced by the townhomes. Demolition could start as early as next week, and Windmill is building a new parish hall.

Cathedral Hill is the seventh multi-residential project for Windmill Developments, an Ottawa-based, eco-logically minded company founded in 2003. An industry leader in green building, all of Windmill’s residential projects, most of which are in Western Canada, have been built to at least LEED platinum standards, the highest level for green building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Windmill is aiming for a LEED platinum designation with Cathedral Hill as well.

The company is aiming for a February 2014 occupancy.

For details, visit the sales centre at Roper House (entrance off Queen, near Bronson) Monday to Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; weekends noon to 5 p.m.; or by appointment. Or call 613-566-7010 or visit cathedralhill.ca.

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By Paul Barker

Rising energy costs and concern for the environment are the catalysts behind a deluge of devices and breakthroughs designed to reduce electricity consumption in homes, schools, office buildings and factories across Canada.

Constantine Eliadis, vice president of business development with home energy audit organization GreenSaver, says that with the daytime cost of electricity virtually doubling overnight in Ontario, for example, it is “hitting a lot of folks hard.”

Adopting a more energy-conscious lifestyle, he says, requires more than new technology, however; he notes it’s important to change the way you think and act where energy use is concerned.

“There are great technologies out there, particularly on electricity displays in the home that tell you the real-time cost of electricity and consumption and train you to look out for waste,” says Eliadis. “That is a big opportunity. You can install all the compact fluorescent light bulbs you want, but if you leave them on you are wasting electricity.

“If you are sitting in your living room reading the paper and the tap in the kitchen is gushing water, you don’t ignore it and keep reading. It is kind of obvious, but electricity is invisible and you can easily sit in your same living room chair, while the lights are on in the basement and the television is on in the bedroom.”

Businesses face the same need to save energy and reduce costs as individual consumers, but finding solutions can be complicated. Speaking at the Construct Canada conference in Toronto, Dan Wendl, a vice president with the Trane, Hussmann business sectors of Ingersoll Rand, summed up the situation on the commercial side by noting while energy conservation is about turning the lights off, it’s hard to work in a dark room.

Wendl says even many of the world’s best companies do not have effective business processes to align facility infrastructure needs with their business plan.

“As a result, facilities engineers who are responsible for the comfort, health effects, operating specifications and utilities management often get trapped in a deferred maintenance/catch-up loop,” he says.

But linking building performance to business objectives, he says, benefits owners, facility engineers and occupants; successful strategic energy plans combine the latest climate control technology with consistent monitoring and personal decision.

“The proxy for behaviour control in the commercial and industrial sectors is automation,” says Eliadis. “There are products that have sensors that can detect when people are there or not, and bring up lights. One of the wonderful things about electricity display is that you can see real-time costs. They can reduce electricity consumption by 20 per cent.”

Rodney Wilts, a partner with BuildGreen Solutions, highlighted at the conference products, systems and technologies he says are becoming more accessible and affordable.

These include:

  • Control4, an IP-based software interface from a Salt Lake City company of the same name. The device is described as a “control freak” that works with energy monitoring devices that allow home and commercial building owners to manage energy consumption. In the Dashboard setting, for example, the price per kilowatt hour can be tracked. The Electricity Use setting allows an individual to identify spikes in usage and adjust his settings.
  • The Modlet, a web-enabled device that Wilts says “automatically kills vampire power, informs users what power is actually being consumed and suggests strategies to reduce consumption.” Developed by ThinkEco Inc. of New York, N.Y. , the company says the modlet, short for modern outlet, rethinks how to prevent plug load waste – the power consumed by plugged-in equipment when not in use. ThinkEco claims an overall utility bill can be reduced with no change in office routine.
  • The Freewatt, a micro-sized combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) cogeneration system for homes that provides the necessary heat and can also operate as a backup power supply should a power outage occur. The system, powered by a Honda engine, has been popular in Japan, says Wilts, and is now starting to impact the North American market.
  • The Twinfire (distributed in North America by Wittus Inc.), which Wilts described as the most efficient wood stove in the world, with an efficiency rate of 93 per cent through something called down-draft dual-burning technology.
  • So-called Smart Windows, touted as a technology that could revolutionize the industry. Switch Materials Inc. of Burnaby, B.C. and its team of scientists are currently developing smart windows and lenses that the company says will darken when exposed to the sun and “rapidly bleach on command when stimulated by electricity.” Last year, the B.C. provincial government announced it would invest $2.1 million into the company as part of its Innovative Clean Energy Fund.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

 

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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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By Laura Ryckewaert

Cathedral HillThe latest version of the condominium tower to be built as part of the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral’s development plan is reaching new heights – 24 floors to be exact.

The tower, part of the Cathedral Hill development project, was slated to be 17 storeys tall but has since grown seven floors in a new effort to make the building taller and skinnier, something which project manager Scott Demark says neighbours are asking for.

“It doesn’t affect (the neighbor’s) view as it goes up in the sky, its footprint affects their view,” says Demark. “Generally, the push has been to go for a smaller footprint and taller (structure).”

Stacking the development instead of spreading it out, Demark says, will allow for the heritage aspects on the church’s property to breathe.

The church’s land – bounded by Bronson Avenue to the west, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church to the east, Sparks Street to the south and Queen Street to the north – is part of a designated heritage block that includes a number of historical buildings. In addition to the nearly 180-year-old cathedral, there are Roper House, three smaller heritage houses and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on Sparks Street.

Eric Darwin, president of the Dalhousie Community Association, supports the development but says he’s worried about the effect it will have on the heritage character of the neighbourhood.

“None of these buildings are going to be modest or unobtrusive,” says Darwin, who is concerned the proposed buildings will be so high they’ll “dwarf the Cathedral and the remaining bits of heritage.”

At 24 storeys, the condo tower would become the tallest in the neighbourhood. Darwin says he’s also worried about the kind of precedent these new heights will set for the area.

“The city always says in its planning process that granting one building an extra floor doesn’t establish a precedent. Legally it may not be…but morally it’s a precedent,” says Darwin. “We know that the next building that comes along is going to start at 24.”

As a heritage area, height zoning for the church’s land is around five to seven storeys tall, significantly lower than the new heights being proposed for the Cathedral Hill condo tower.

Windmill Development Group is currently working out a zoning application to allow for the 24-storey condo tower as well as a smaller office tower (currently 12 storeys tall) also planned for the Cathedral Hill project.

Despite community concerns, Shane Parker, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, says he thinks the proposed office and residential towers will actually enhance the cathedral by framing it. Parker says the development plan was a bit of a no-brainer solution to funding problems the church faces.

With rising maintenance and heating costs, “we found that our programs of ministry were being affected because we had to channel money into buildings instead,” says Parker.

By leasing their land to Windmill Development Group instead of selling it, Christ Church Cathedral is able to retain their ownership while receiving a continuous revenue stream.

Selling land for development is a common practice for churches in need of more revenue both in Centretown and across Canada, says Demark.

“We have a heritage building that has to be maintained forever,” says Parker. “Our land is the best asset we have to generate revenue.”

Darwin is currently drafting a letter to the city along with other members of the Dalhousie Community Association to suggest changes to the Cathedral Hill development plan. In addition to asking for a lower, 15-storey height on the condo tower the letter will also make suggestions regarding the need for affordable housing and infrastructure in the area.

Demark expects the city will have decided on the development’s zoning around late March at which point the project will begin to look at the architectural design and feel of the buildings.


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