Sunday, April 09, 2006

Manitonna Site Project Moves Ahead

An Ottawa company planning to build a retirement complex on the former Manitonna site is now a step closer to starting construction in the summer.

As city councillors approved a zoning bylaw amendment paving the way for the ambitious project Tuesday, planning director Maureen Pascoe Merkley said they may see a site plan application for the work submitted to city hall within the next two months.

"Things have been moving quite quickly on this project," she said.

Themis Hospitality Management Services wants to build a seven-storey, 109-unit retirement home on the former Manitonna Hotel site on Market Street East. The lot next to city hall remains the downtown core's most significant empty space.

A company representative told council's economic development and planning committee last week the owners hope to begin construction by June or July.

The seven-storey building would be the first phase of the project, with commercial space on the ground floor along King Street East and 109 retirement suites above. Phase Two would be an eight-storey building and would include a restaurant along Water Street.

The plan calls for only 22 parking spaces for the first phase, but Pascoe Merkley accepted the developer's contention that few of the residents will own cars.

"We're comfortable moving that recommendation forward."

Commercial space in the first phase will be limited, so it will likely not have a detrimental effect on downtown parking, said Pascoe Merkley.

Councillor Bob Huskinson credited the city's "community improvement plan," which offers tax incentives for downtown development, for making developments such as this one possible.

Meanwhile, councillors also paved the way for another residential development aimed at retired seniors.

They gave site plan control approval to Kemptville developer Rob Thompson to build an 11-unit townhouse development near the old Phillips Cables site on King Street West.

Developers plan to begin construction next month, with the homes ready for occupation this fall.

Thompson also plans to build residential units northward on Centre Street, a project that requires improvements to the street including the elimination of a hill near Baxter Drive.

This initial 11-unit block at the corner of King West and Centre can proceed without the improvements to Centre Street, said Pascoe Merkley.

A "swift uptake" of these first units will allow Thompson to proceed with the Centre Street improvements and the further units "shortly thereafter," Pascoe Merkley told council.

The developer hopes to build the next set of units this year, but their timing depends on the market, she said.

Councillor Stu Williams, who brought up the matter of the Centre Street homes, said he hopes Thompson will get around to them, since they represent a more significant investment than the 11-unit block.


Post a Comment

<< Home