The City of Ottawa has received a revised Site Plan Control application to construct an eight-storey addition at the rear of the existing hotel. The addition would include 171 long-stay hotel units, an interior courtyard and 370 underground parking spaces.
Larco Investments Ltd. (Larco) owns the Fairmont Château Laurier property at 1 Rideau Street. Larco is proposing these changes to address the growing need for long-term stay accommodations in Ottawa and to replace the old parking garage The existing hotel has 426 hotel units, which would not be affected.
Key views of the addition
View from Rideau Street at Mackenzie Avenue
View from the National War Memorial
View from Plaza Bridge
View from the Rideau Canal
View from the Parliamentary Precinct
View from Major’s Hill Park
View from Alexandra Bridge
On February 1, 2018, Larco Investments submitted a revised proposal for an eight-storey, 171-room addition at the rear of the existing Château Laurier. The addition will be constructed in the location of the former parking garage.
The revised proposal lowers the building heights of the previous additions from 12-storey and 11-storey structures to one new pavilion building of eight storeys aimed at improving views of the original hotel building from Major’s Hill Park and to appear as a separate and subordinate building.
In the revised proposal, the ground floor has been redesigned for more publicly accessible space, and features a long gallery along the north wall, creating a visual connection between the addition and Major’s Hill Park to the north.
The building is setback three metres from the north property line. Access to the new underground parking is from Mackenzie Avenue. Soft and hard landscaping has been added to the Mackenzie Avenue forecourt and one new internal loading space is proposed with access from the drop-off. The reconfigured internal courtyard still abuts the existing ground floor ballroom and is now open on the west (Rideau Canal) side.
The revised proposal remains a contemporary design, and the exterior is primarily composed of glass of differing textures and opacity. The eight-storey addition would stepback above the sixth storey and the upper two floors have rounded corners. The north façade features an inset where the north-south interior corridor connects to the new gallery, dividing the north façade asymmetrically. The building’s elevator lobby is located here. There are also similar reveals (inset areas) on the east and west facades.
Existing trees and pathways within Major’s Hill Park will remain unchanged. Along the Rideau Canal terraces, the existing gated staircase between the public lower terrace and private upper terrace will be removed.
The 12,037 m2 site is located at the northwest corner of Rideau Street and Mackenzie Avenue, along the Confederation Boulevard ceremonial route. There are existing driveways accessing parking and drop-off areas from both streets.
The following land uses surround the subject site:
- North: Majors Hill Park, owned and maintained by the National Capital Commission
- East: 700 Sussex, a mixed-use building, and the Byward Market consisting of a wide range of uses, including retail, restaurant and residential uses, and which is a Heritage Conservation District
- South: the Government Conference Centre (former Union Station) and the Rideau Canal beyond
- West: the Rideau Canal, and Parliament Hill beyond
The site is designated Central Area within the City of Ottawa Official Plan and is within the Canal Character Area of the Central Area Secondary Plan. The zoning is Mixed Use Downtown, subject to a maximum floor space index of 4.5 (MD F(4.5)). The site is also subject to the Heritage Overlay.
The Château Laurier hotel was built originally between 1908 and 1912 by the Grand Trunk Railway Company in the late Victorian French Château style. A wing along Mackenzie Street was added in 1929. The parking garage structure was added in 1969, and, in 1985, Rideau Street drop-off area was enlarged and a glass front was added to Zoe’s Lounge.
Related planning applications
A minor variance application is required where the proposal does not meet the zoning. A heritage permit is also required for an addition to a building designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. A Cultural Heritage Impact Statement has been submitted with the application.