City planners back 24-storey tower on Richmond Road

City of Ottawa planners say they support a proposal to increase the height of a building complex on the site of Kristy's restaurant from 19 to 24 storeys, despite opposition from residents.

Developer wants to up height of tower at site of Kristy's restaurant from 19 to 24 storeys

The proposed plan for 809 Richmond calls for a five-storey base and a 24-storey tower to the east. (Roderick Lahey Architects)


  • Planning committee approved this application on July 11, 2017.
  • Council approved it the following day. Coun. Jeff Leiper dissented.

City of Ottawa planners say they support a proposal to increase the height of a building complex on the site of Kristy's restaurant in Carlingwood from 19 to 24 storeys, despite opposition from residents.

The scale of the proposed development at 809 Richmond Rd. has been contentious in the Carlingwood neighbourhood since it was originally presented as two 16-storey towers. The proposal was later revised to a nine-storey height limit in the western portion and a 19-storey tower in the east, after hearing from the community.

Now Kristy's restaurant has come back with a third proposal, one with a five-storey base and a single 24-storey — or 75-metre tall — eastern tower. The zoning for that area has a height limit of 20 metres.

The proposed complex would have retail on the ground floor with 240 residential units above, and an underground garage providing access to 137 parking spaces and 132 bicycle stalls.

City planners recommend council amend the zoning bylaw to permit the building, arguing the location about 200 metres from the future Cleary Light Rail Transit station and on a traditional main street make it a prime area for intensification and, therefore, taller structures.

The differing heights of the building and differing street setbacks also provide for a transition from the taller buildings closer to the future Cleary station and the low-rise residential area to the west, planning staff said in a report tabled a week before the city's planning committee looks at the proposal.

The new proposal has a shorter setback from the street where the 24-storey tower is planned. (Roderick Lahey Architect Inc., Roderick Lahey)

The councillor for the area, Mark Taylor, wrote in the report's comments that while he accepted the earlier nine- and 19-storey alignment, he is comfortable with either and called the development "a welcome evolution to this corridor."

Worries in neighbouring Westboro over height

But east of the development in Westboro, there are concerns the building height sets a bad precedent.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper noted in his report comments that he and the community preferred the lower eastern tower and worry allowing it will undermine the city's efforts to keep building heights down in his ward.

"Where a 24-storey height might now be allowed, I share the community's significant discomfort that the mid-rise limit to the west will be compromised," he wrote.

Leiper also wrote that if council approves the 24-storey proposal, "it must absolutely be on the basis of design excellence that I don't consider this building demonstrates.

"It is not a poorly-designed building, but it fails to inspire. Council should insist, if it wishes to approve the proposed height, on better," he wrote.

The report notes that of the approximately 100 comments submitted during the application review process, most were opposed to the plan over issues such as height and density, parking and traffic, sun shadowing, construction and design.

The Carlingwood Community Association has already launched a petition, with 278 signatures as of Tuesday, calling on Taylor and Leiper to get the developer to revert the building height back to 19 storeys.