Central is a three-phase, LEED Gold mixed-use infill development containing 544 residential units arranged in five to eight storeys above street-related retail space and townhouses.
The aim of the project was to (i) redevelop the surface parking lots that occupied much of the sites, re-stitching the urban fabric in this important location between downtown and the Glebe; (ii) bring new retail and a significant number of new residents to this central location, supporting the city’s urban intensification efforts while offering affordable, high-design living options; and (iii) develop a series of clean, modern design yet contextual buildings that reinterpret the heritage streetscape in a way that is both contemporary and respectful.
Central Phase 1 includes the retention of the front portion of the former Metropolitan Bible Church, built c.1934, thus giving prominence to this heritage resource. Taking all three phases together, the development of 27,000 square feet of double-height, grade-related retail space – housing important local amenities such as an LCBO, drugstore and coffee shop – has contributed to the commercial rejuvenation of the area, while the addition of 544 residential units has brought lots of new life to the neighbourhood.
Central has substantially improved the streetscape, landscaping and public realm on the three streets – Bank, Gladstone and McLeod – abutting the site. The surface parking lots that previously existed at this location have been replaced with articulated frontages of new and preserved buildings, with increased setbacks and a more comfortable pedestrian streetscape that encourages interaction between residents and the public. In addition, overhead utility wires on all three streets were buried below grade, at substantial cost to the project, significantly improving the aesthetic of the surrounding public realm.
Built Form Guidelines for this location reference integration of moderate heights and protection of historic buildings to maintain the desirable qualities of the street. The Central buildings have been massed and a portion of the Metropolitan Bible Church retained and integrated in response to this. The mid-rise, stepped proﬁle of the buildings allow for intensification while at the same time transitioning appropriately from the street, maintaining the proportion and rhythm of the existing streetscape, and presenting a facade that is articulated into several distinct sections rather than cast as one homogeneous frontage.
One priority identified as part of the city’s Beautiﬁcation Strategy is the de-cluttering of sidewalks and building frontages along Bank Street. This project clearly meets this goal by creating broader pedestrian areas through balanced building setbacks that continue to frame the street while creating more room for movement, as well as by the burying of unsightly utility wires.
Central has also made a notable contribution to the Bank Street Corridor Intensification Program as a prioritized area of residential intensification (south of Cooper Street). Central contributes to this program through the addition of 544 residential units and the integration of heritage resources into the new design.
Particular design attention has been devoted to the distribution of uses fronting the streetscape. At-grade commercial uses are concentrated along Bank Street, with Phase 1 taking a whole city block and Phase 2 forming half the block immediately to the south. In contrast, condominium entrances and two storey townhomes are located at grade on east-west running Gladstone Avenue and McLeod Street.
The design of Central is intended to enhance the walkable, liveable Centretown neighborhood, providing environmentally-sustainable well-located places to live, allowing for the preservation of a well-known Ottawa landmark building, and reinforcing the character, pattern, vibrancy and design of the streets and blocks in this area.