On Tuesday Sept. 29th, 2020 a Public Consultation Meeting was held to discuss the proposed development at 1335-1345 Bank St. in the neighbourhood of Billings Bridge. The meeting, moderated by Councillor Cloutier, discussed the site plan and zoning process for the 391 unit rental apartment development situated on the corner of Bank and Riverside.
The public and local community associations provided their feedback and questions at the end of the meeting. Since then, we have reviewed the feedback, responded to further email questions, and had several proactive phone calls with local community members. We've now compiled all the information below to provide additional feedback to the community. If you didn’t get a chance to submit your question at the meeting, please fill out our Survey here. We appreciate any and all feedback.
Park River Properties
Aesthetics and Height
Our vision was to create a transition zone from the Arterial Mainstreet to more of a Traditional Mainstreet feel found in Old Ottawa South.
While developing within the existing zoning would have yielded a more cost-effective building with lower costs related to the site plan process, we felt it was important to create a landmark building that will enhance the streetscape and complement the future development across the street.
The existing situation is a harsh environment with multiple driveways and under-utilized activities in this node. The proposed landmark building and street-facing activities, along with the landscaping and other improvements to the Bank Street corridor, support aesthetic improvements along this Capital Arrival route.
We believe animating the streetscape with active uses (coffee shop and fitness - pending COVID impacts) and providing a building design that is attractive and interesting will help us improve the community experience.
We believe the tower portion will help to attract pedestrians across the bridge, which should help to create a more sustainable retail node.
We are currently working through the business model and do not have the full operating plan in place yet. This will be operated by our group internally, so there are a lot of details to be worked out over the next few years. We wanted to include the hotel units in our proposal to provide full transparency to the community.
There are many potential use cases including:
o Those visiting the city for work
o People in the community going through renovations
o Short term employment contracts
o People looking for a carefree lifestyle
o Those undergoing treatment at the nearby hospital
The space is designed that the hotel units will be completely separated from the rest of the units with a separate lobby entrance and separation in the hallway corridors.
These units are planned to be rented fully furnished on a short and long-term basis. The majority of booking will be done online through our internal website and various booking sites.
Outside of these designated units, all residential units will be for tenants on traditional leases.
We believe there are limited options for hotels in the area and that we will be able to offer something that is attractive for visitors to stay in the surrounding area and support local businesses. This will also give residents in the area an option for guests that are visiting from out of town.
Bike Use and Traffic
There are 269 planned bicycle parking spaces proposed.
Bikes will be able to use the dedicated pathway along Bank Street to access a lobby at the south end of the podium.
There will be a bike elevator and stairwell that leads to the mezzanine level where the majority of bikes will be stored. This requires no interaction with areas that are accessible by cars on site.
For people using the limited bike storage in the parking garage area, they will access the underground using the one-way drive-through area under the building.
We will ensure that wayfinding in this area is safe for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
The area is wide enough for two-way traffic but has been designed as one-way traffic to provide additional space for safety and loading.
We acquired the adjacent parcel of land to improve the options we had to provide the safest possible scenario for parking on the site.
While the intersection is an extremely busy intersection, the designed vehicle entrance from Riverside Drive westbound accesses the property with limited friction due to an open-air access point crossing over a sidewalk that has minimum volumes on it (limited to those walking from Bank Street to the Pebb Building).
Vehicles exit at the south end onto Riverside Drive eastbound where there is currently no sidewalk. Both streets are one-way and make the left-in and left-out a lot more attractive than having to cross any lanes of traffic.
We are removing high traffic uses that were previously on site. The drive-thru nature of Harvey's business drove significant traffic that entered and exited the site in short periods of time, whereas residents are not expected to come and go as frequently.
During the presentation, we presented traffic estimates based on the Harveys operation. It’s worth noting that a change in use to a higher traffic drive thru restaurant would greatly exceed the traffic flow entering and exiting the site in comparison to the proposed development (ie. Tim Horton’s) and this traffic would interrupt the Bank Street frontage.
We have among the lowest parking ratio in all new projects (0.33 compared to the City required 0.5 per unit). We believe the area can be an attractive location for people to live without requiring ownership of a vehicle. Residents will be able to accomplish all of their daily errands without the use of a car.
We will be looking to provide a car sharing program for residents that opt to get rid of their vehicles and will also have various other transportation sharing options including bikes and scooters.
We have gone through great lengths to provide un-interrupted frontage along Bank Street to improve the experience and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
It was made clear that the majority of traffic concerns stem from the high speeds of Riverside Drive. We are taking an active approach to being involved in a solution that enhances this area for long-term community benefit. Our intent is to manage this building for the long-term and addressing these shared concerns will help to make the property more attractive and safer for our residents.
We are currently working through our construction staging plans but will be working hard to mitigate impacts on Bank Street and Riverside Drive. Options may include a small parcel of land adjacent to our property owned by the NCC, renting a portion of the adjacent parking lot, and reviewing options across the street.
We will be communicating our plans for construction on our community engagement website that will include staging plans, update photos, and notices of important information.
Temporary Parking Lay-By
Including in the proposal is a Lay-By to promote easy drop-off and pick-up for passengers, taxis, Uber, etc.
Given that the building has a Bank Street address, it is inevitable that anyone visiting (guests, pick up/drop off, deliveries) the building would expect to access the building from Bank Street.
One of the benefits of acquiring the Harveys site was the ability to enter and exit the property along the eastern property line, freeing up Bank Street to have pedestrian friendly uses. This avoids the risk of cars crossing busy Bank Street sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes.
By removing the layby and maintaining the existing plans for uninterrupted sidewalk and cycle track from car traffic would pose significant safety risks for pedestrians and motorists, as people will inevitably load and unload from Bank Street by stopping in the active lane of traffic. This will result in traffic issues and potential risk to pedestrians.
Placing the sidewalk and cycle track inset from lay-by prevents issues with having cars cross over these important connections.
We have a very specific foundation plan for the property that would prevent pooling of water from occurring on site. We have limited the parking to two levels of underground parking to ensure that we can meet the technical requirements to do this.
Breakdown of Units
It is our intent to provide a range of units from studio units to 3-bedroom units, with the majority of units likely being studio and 1-bedroom. These units provide attractive options for those looking to live car free in an exceptional neighbourhood. However, we feel it’s important to have a range of options, which will include 3-bedroom units.
We believe the vast majority of our units will meet the requirements for CMHC's definition of affordability. We are focused on delivering quality apartments at affordable rates.
The amenities within the building will provide significant cost savings for tenants. Some of the planned amenities include proper co-working space, car sharing, a pool, and a proper gym that can replace a gym membership. We expect to have nearly double the amount of amenity space that we are required to provide.
We will be looking to explore energy efficiency measures to the design where applicable. We are focused on providing tangible benefits from an environmental perspective.
We will provide further details as they become available through our website.
Electric Car Charging
We will be including several electric car charging stations on site. We will also be "future proofing" the design of the building to meet future demand, as it undoubtedly grows.
We are looking to implement an internal car sharing platform for residents specific to the site and have recently acquired the first electric car for this platform. Testing will be completed over the next few years to ensure the program runs efficiently.
In addition to the car sharing program, we anticipate having internal bike sharing and scooter sharing available for our residents and guests.