Two months after Ottawans — including the mayor — panned a proposed design for the expansion of the Fairmont Château Laurier, the hotel's owner and the architect assigned to the project will try again, showing off their latest attempt to change the face of one of the capital's most iconic buildings.
Art Phillips, director of development for Vancouver-based Larco Investments, which owns the Château, and award-winning Toronto architect Peter Clewes will be among the project leaders who will speak about the expansion at an open house Thursday evening.
There have been modifications to the September designs, but it's unclear how extensive the changes are.
Large placards with drawings of the proposed expansion will be arrayed around the ballroom, along with a scale model of the hotel. Representatives will be on hand to answer one-on-one questions, but there will be no formal question-and-answer period during the event.
An artist's renderings of the expansion were first made public in September and almost immediately elicited an overwhelmingly negative response online. Even Mayor Jim Watson was unimpressed.
@jchianello this falls under the category "back to the drawing board!— @JimWatsonOttawa
The expansion would add 180 large rooms to the hotel, replace the above-ground parking arcade with underground parking and provide windows for the ballroom, which would look out over a new courtyard.
The Château Laurier is a formally designated city heritage building under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, which provides restrictions on what changes can be made. Any alterations must ultimately be approved by city council.
And because the proposed addition would impact federal lands, including Major's Hill Park and Confederation Boulevard along Mackenzie Avenue, the National Capital Commission also has a role to play.
If you go
Where: Fairmont Château Laurier hotel ballroom.
When: Thursday night. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., presentation begins at 7 p.m., evening ends at 9 p.m.
What to expect: Several people involved in the project, including head architect Peter Clewes, will speak for about 40 minutes. Members of the public can approach them afterward to ask questions.