Developers are seeking approval for two 50-storey towers in the same block where Surrey city council recently gave the greenlight for what will be its tallest building at 67 storeys.
An up-and-coming Ottawa real estate firm that recently purchased a marquee downtown office tower has unveiled plans to build its first mixed-use development.
Jennings Real Estate – which made headlines last month when it bought the 12-storey Gillin Building at 141 Laurier Ave. W. – has filed an application with the city for a 10-storey building at 18 Louisa St., just south of Gladstone Avenue near the corner of Bell Street between Centretown and Little Italy.
The site is currently home to a three-storey, 30,000-square-foot building that includes the Gladstone Sports & Health Centre and a mix of other tenants. Jennings, which purchased the building in January 2020, also has its corporate headquarters there.
The developer plans to keep the existing structure intact and retain the commercial tenants but would demolish the attached gymnasium. Jennings wants to build a new mid-rise residential building with 139 rental apartments and connect it the current structure.
The plan also calls for 88 underground parking spaces as well as amenity space and an outdoor courtyard.
Ottawa-based Westview Projects is the lead contractor on the proposed development, which was designed by Hobin Architecture.
Jenning co-owner Ken Jennings says the property is an ideal site for the firm’s first mixed-use project due to its proximity to the Queensway, major thoroughfares such as Gladstone Avenue and Preston Street and public transit.
“We really love the neighbourhood,” he said. “This is an area that is definitely developing. It kind of checked all the boxes for us.”
At 31 metres, the proposed building’s height exceeds current zoning limits of 15 metres. But Jennings said he’s spoken with city officials and ward councillor Catherine McKenney and is confident the plan will garner broad support at City Hall and in the local community.
“We think it would fit in well with the area,” he said.
Founded in 2018, Jennings Real Estate now has 11 buildings totalling more than 450,000 square feet in its management and ownership portfolio, including several industrial properties in Nepean and Kanata and office buildings on Hunt Club and Walkley roads.
More tall towers being proposed, approved and completed in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Coquitlam
There are 20 development projects with towers over 45 storeys that are selling condo units, under construction or near completion.
He added that with increased land and construction costs, developers are motivated to use all the density they can get and build taller towers. However, there is also a point where it stops making sense to push higher “because things like the cost of structural systems increase as you go higher.”
Across Metro Vancouver, there are more than 20 towers over 45 storeys that have been approved by municipal governments, according to data from Zonda Urban market analyst Justin Lee. More than half of these are in Burnaby. Five are in Coquitlam and Port Moody, while Downtown Vancouver, New Westminster and Surrey have one each.
After these, there are 40 more tall-tower projects that have been publicly presented to city councils and are in some stage of seeking approval. Most are in Burnaby and Surrey, followed by Downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam.
“We’ll see if economic conditions allow for them to be built,” said Dikeakos, whose firm is working on the new tall tower approved in Surrey and other projects.
In late 2019, Pinnacle International Development made a proposal for a site near the Lougheed SkyTrain Station. It had three towers including one that would be 80 storeys and 250 metres tall. They would be the tallest buildings in Western Canada. Some more details were presented to Burnaby city council in May 2022 for towers of 80, 76 and 73 storeys, but the project has not progressed further with the city.
Metro King by Anthem Properties is a proposal for a 66-storey tower between Kingsway and Hazel streets across from Metrotown that is nearing a final decision by the City of Burnaby.
This pipeline of potential projects is happening as cities have focused on adding density to sites near transit stations and town centres, according to Dikeakos.
“The taller buildings in these types of developments that you are going to be seeing tend to be real, mixed-use ones, meaning they have a commercial base with significant office or hotel use where the first 15 to 20 storeys are commercial even before you get to the residential portion,” he said.
“One of the interesting changes that we’re seeing is that because these developments are being done near transit sites, cities are requiring less parking,” said Dikeakos. “If we had to do the same amount of parking required a few years ago, the depth of these excavations would make them completely unfeasible. (When) we’re not required to do as much parking, it allows us to do these taller towers and still make some financial sense.”
Even though developers are motivated to deal with increasing land and construction costs by building higher, there is a turning point. It will obviously be different for each project, but Dikeakos said that for the Station Square project, it was somewhere at the 52- to 55-storey height.
Historic Muskoka Resort Hits the Market for $12M
An iconic Muskoka resort has just hit cottage country’s real estate market.
For those looking for a new business venture in the summertime hot spot, Windermere House has just been listed for $12M.
The sprawling, long-time landmark sits on Lake Rosseau — one of the “Big Three” Muskoka lakes — and is known for its quintessential Old Muskoka charm mixed with modern luxury and amenities. Beloved by both tourists and local cottagers, the picturesque resort has been synonymous with Muskoka tourism since 1870.
Known as ‘The Lady of The Lake,’ this 56-room resort hotel sits in a prime location in the Village of Windermere, overlooking the stunning lake. Offering a dose of timeless charm, its historic features include original stone architecture, a charming veranda, and classic Muskoka-style windows. The hotel features several food and beverage outlets, full-service spa capabilities, and a 3,200 sq. ft. of function space that ranges from a private boardroom to state-of-the-art conference facilities.
With quintessential cottage country recreation front and centre, the 6.62-acre resort features a heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, sand beach, marina, and golf course.
The new owner of the property will have the opportunity to take up residence in Windermere Cottage, the traditional four-bedroom private cottage with a separate entrance from Fife Avenue that can also be rented as an additional resort property. Or, as the listing highlights, there’s also the option to personalize a penthouse “cottage” suite within the hotel.
The Muskoka chair-filled property includes three detached staff houses, an older, staggered row-style 10-plex, and ample on-site parking.
While its price tag isn’t within reach of everyone, considering that most of the sprawling cottages on the lake sell for upwards of $5M — coupled with its inevitable income-generating potential — the property may be considered a steal for someone in the market for a breezy new business venture.
Find the full listing here.
Erin Nicole Davis
Erin Nicole Davis is a born and raised Toronto writer with a passion for the city and its urban affairs and culture.
Toronto building home to historic pub to be converted into new hotel
Toronto is getting a new hotel by expanding an old hotel that has spent decades not being a hotel. I know, very confusing, but I can totally explain.
A four-storey building that has stood at the southwest corner of Church Street and Richmond Street East for over 140 years could soon undergo a significant transformation.
The building at 124 Church Street was originally constructed as a hotel in the 1880s, and after 14 decades, a developer has filed plans to bring the property back to its roots with a renovation and expansion supporting a new boutique hotel.
M&G Hotels Limited has big plans for the property, filing a minor variance application that calls for a YY Architecture Studio-designed addition extending the building’s roofline and providing additional space for hotel and other hospitality uses.
This address has been home to McVeigh’s Irish Pub since 1962, and despite major changes on the horizon for the property, it looks like the bar will maintain its presence in the building, and be left practically undisturbed through the renovations.
Plans for the site show little modifications in store for the first two levels of the existing building, aside from a new elevator shaft and other small changes.
The current space occupied by McVeigh’s is listed simply as “existing bar” and “existing kitchen” in plans, a good indication that the establishment will maintain its long-term presence at the intersection.
New floors would be added above the current parapet, bringing the existing four-storey building to an increased height of six levels.
A total of 24 hotel suites are planned on levels three through six, topped by a new rooftop bar and terrace.
The rejuvenated hospitality property will reportedly operate under the branding Clover Hotel, and this will not be the first time that the site or even the current building has been home to a hotel.
The southwest corner of Church and Richmond has been home to bars and hotels since the mid-19th century, and the current 1882-built structure was originally constructed as a hotel, replacing an earlier timber hotel building dating back to the 1850s.
Opened as the Windsor Hotel and later renamed the New Windsor Hotel in the early 20th century, the building was maintained as a hotel into the 1960s.
Plans to expand the building and open a hotel are just some of the big changes happening to the property.
The existing building at 124 Church Street stands as the lone holdout against a huge condo development now under construction that will soon tower over the property’s south and west elevations.
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