Proposed condo a lightning rod in Little Italy
New condo developments haven't always been welcomed in established Ottawa neighbourhoods, and few projects have been more divisive than a proposed 35-storey building in Little Italy.
City on the Rise
Monday: Ottawa's condo boom
Tuesday: Little Italy's lightning rod
Wednesday: Buyer beware
Thursday: Is there a condo glut?
Mastercraft Starwood Group wants to build "Soho Italia" just behind the archway of Little Italy on the site of an old parking lot on Preston Street.
The spot is currently zoned for 19-storeys for a commercial building, and 22-storeys for a residential building, according to Mastercraft Starwood.
But the developers have lobbied to have the area rezoned to allow the 35 storeys, which would make it the tallest building in Ottawa.
"I mean what more can we ask for," said Rosa Pina at Simply Biscotti, "a lot more business, a lot more walking traffic, and that's definitely what we want."
Councillor wants to study downtown condo boom
Somerset Ward Coun. Diane Holmes, whose area includes Little Italy, said she has heard a flood of complaints about downtown condos like the one on Preston.
She estimated 4,000 condo units are being built in her ward and homeowners are less sanguine about the increased traffic and congestion that would result.
Roman Zakaluzny and his wife, who own a small home in Little Italy, said they worry the construction of a condo tower will rob them of them of their cozy neighbourhood.
"We see traffic is already intensely busy. we see with towers going up," he said. "Little Italy is known for its gardens, the gardens will now be in the shade for part of the day, part of the year."
Both the Preston Street Business Improvement Area and the Dalhousie Community Association have already come out in opposition to the project, which they say doesn't fit the character of the neighbourhood.