CBC: Committee OKs eye-catching highrises on Albert Street

By Kate Porter

The City of Ottawa's planning committee has approved highrise buildings at the Blair and Westboro transit stations, as well as a separate development that will take up most of a downtown city block.

Developer Main and Main received zoning approval to build 900 rental units in three towers of 23, 29 and 35 storeys at 400 Albert St., currently

parking lots. The prime downtown property has had several owners and seen several different tower plans dating back to the mid-1990s. 

Councillors on the committee raved about the "undulating" and "curvilinear" design, and applauded a pathway through the middle of the block that can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

"This is a rare occurrence when I get many more emails asking me to approve something than not to," agreed the ward councillor, Catherine McKenney.

Highrises near transit stations

"The architecture looks great, I'm quite jealous," said Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper. "As Scott Street evolves a bit more blandly, I'd love to see this sort of design not just in the downtown core."

One section of Scott Street near Westboro station has attracted one development application after another in recent years, and the planning committee approved yet another on Thursday for the parcel between Winona and Churchill avenues.

When the building proposed for 2070 Scott St. in Westboro went to the city's urban design panel for review, panellists questioned its height. (City of Ottawa)

Leiper said he was glad to see the 25-storey building proposed for the site has been made less "wide and blunt" than originally planned, and welcomed the $900,000 the project will generate for affordable housing and parks in his ward.

Nevertheless, he was the only committee member to vote against the rezoning, urging the city to push for even better design.

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