Arts Court development

Mixed-use development puts art front and centre

DevMcGill enters the Ontario market with ArtHaus condominiums
Thursday, October 29, 2015
By Kavita Sabharwal

Arts Court is a unique mixed-use tower comprising of The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG), a boutique hotel, retail spaces and residential condominiums, slated for the ByWard Market neighbourhood in Ottawa. The condo component of the project, ArtHaus, is under development by DevMcGill, a Montreal-based company that was looking to expand into Ontario.

Stéphane Côté, president of DevMcGill, didn’t choose the location for the project himself — rather, the city took bids on air rights for the Arts Court development, which DevMcGill ultimately won.

“We wanted to enter the Ontario market so for us, it was a great potential project: well located, walking distance from many things such as the University [of Ottawa], downtown, the Rideau shopping centre, City Hall and ByWard Market,” Côté explains.

Côté believes the location and its surrounding attractions will be a great draw to residents. “Next door, there’s the OAG and coffee shop, and further down, there’s the hotel, bar and restaurant,” he says. “In our part of the building, we’ll have an owners’ lounge for special gatherings and a gym. It should be interesting, very private and very high-end.”

The 23-storey tower contains the OAG on the main level; Le Germain Hôtel midway through the building; and ArtHaus, which spans from the 15th to 23rd floors. The overall project also includes a 64,000-square-foot theatre, operated and programed by the University of Ottawa. The hotel was brought into the development to mitigate risk, allowing DevMcGill to meet a lower presale target in order to get financing for the project.

“Getting Le Germain on board, which is a high-end boutique hotel with a great brand, was also building up to the excitement of the project,” says Côté.

According to studies conducted by DevMcGill on the region, future ArtHaus residents may span from first-time buyers to professors at the nearby University of Ottawa, from young couples who want to live downtown to people who use their units as a pied-à-terre during the week, before heading back to the suburbs for the weekend.

When the city was in charge of the development, the plans were driven by the OAG. “As far as the air rights, they left it for the developer to finalize,” says Côté.

Drawing on the surroundings for inspiration, DevMcGill inserted art into every aspect of the development. “It’s pretty unique to be living on top of the OAG, like the Museum of Modern Art in New York,” says Côté. “We wanted art to be a big part of the project, lobby and amenities and we eventually plan on having a program for owners so we’re working on that, as well.”

KPMB Architects and Barry Padolsky Associates Architects were hired by the city to develop the art gallery. When DevMcGill came on board, they brought on Montreal-based Regis Côté, an architectural firm that has worked with DevMcGill in the past, to finalize the design and execution plans. For interior design, DevMcGill looked to UNION31, a Toronto-based company.

Suites will feature engineered hardwood floors, large windows and an outside, French or Loggia balcony in every unit. While the materials have not been finalized, Côté emphasizes the fact that ArtHaus will be characterized by a fresh, clean look that will not fade in a few years. “We don’t want a flavour-of-the-month type of look. We want something that is contemporary, but also classic,” he says.

The price of units are still undetermined, although Côté states they will be finalized soon, with units scheduled to be released in early 2016, with completion slated for late 2017. Registration has already begun. Visit www.arthauscondos.com.

Kavita Sabharwal is an online editor at the REMI Network.

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