The Centretown Citizens Community Association is opposing a proposal to build a 21-storey apartment building across the street from the Museum of Nature.
Developer Colonnade Bridgeport has applied to build a residential tower at 100 Argyle Ave., a site wedged between the museum and the Ottawa Police Service headquarters. The community association's president, Shawn Barber says the group supports further intensification in Centertown, but this particular proposal violates current zoning regulations.
"It's an ordinary building in the wrong place," said Barber.
If approved by the city, the proposal would include 62 underground parking spaces for residents and 12 surface spots for visitors. Developers also plan to preserve the facade of the 2.5-storey heritage office building that currently sits in the location.
But in order to build the tower, developers would need amendments to both zoning bylaws and the city's official plan, which restrict buildings in the location to nine storeys.
Barber said the proposal also violates guidelines in the existing community design plan, which has a number of conditions outlined for buildings next to the museum. The plan holds that infill directly adjacent to the museum should be treated as "background" and should have "exemplary architecture."
"Well this is a beast sitting right in front of one of the jewels of Ottawa's architectural landscape," Barber said. "I don't think anyone could agree that it could be classified or characterized as a background building."
Barber said the community association has not heard from the developers yet, but the association would be happy to meet with them to help redesign the building so that it fits within existing zoning requirements.
He stressed that the community association welcomes efforts to bring additional rental units downtown, but this is simply not the right location for such a building. Barber suggested the tower should be built just one block further south on Catherine Street.
"We don't want to be fighting developers. We don't want to be fighting with city hall," he said. "We want to sit down and develop a process where we're not forced into reacting to these kinds of things when a sign goes up. We think that developers should be calling community associations well before these proposals are submitted to the city."
Colonnade Bridgport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.