114 Richmond Rd – Ashcroft Homes Convent Development & Phase II Open House

25 05 2018

From Councillor Leiper

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We are hosting another Open House regarding Ashcroft Homes’ property at 114 Richmond Rd. You may recall in January, we hosted an Open House to discuss their proposal for an adaptive re-use of the Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent. They received your feedback and as a result have reevaluated their proposal. The current application is proposing alterations which would include a new 9-storey ‘L’ shaped addition to the rear of the Convent, with the demolition of only the south wall and a portion of the west wing. The convent and the new addition will be a mixture of residential and restaurant uses. The historical courtyard will be reinstated, brought up to grade level and made accessible. The new building addition will require a minor rezoning to allow for new built form within the heritage boundaries.

Ashcroft has also applied for both a Site Plan Amendment and a Minor Rezoning application for the remainder of the undeveloped site. The site plan amendment is to include the location of the new building addition to the convent.  A similar building had been previously approved, however its connection was to the south, rather than connecting to the convent. Also included in the amendment application are changes to the width of the previously approved senior residence building (west side of the site).

The second minor rezoning application is to include a 6-story step-back on the seniors building, where only 4-storeys are approved in the zoning by-law (by-law 256). Additionally, the minor rezoning application will seek to allow for a permitted projection on the rooftops of two of the buildings, this projection will be used as amenity space for the residents of each building.

We invite you to come and learn more about these applications for the proposed development:

Wednesday, June 6

7:00-8:30pm

Van Lang Field House (29 Van Lang Pvt)

Information on the proposed development will be available from Ashcroft Homes, and City of Ottawa staff in both Heritage and Planning will be on hand to field additional questions regarding process. Of course, we are also interested in your feedback. Once the plans are available online, we will make sure to circulate them in the newsletter. We encourage you to send our office, as well as the planners, notes with your thoughts on the proposed development.

At the bottom of this post, you can review the proposed Site Plan for the entire site, as well as a rendering of the 4-storey residential seniors building.

Thank you!

https://kitchissippiward.ca/content/114-richmond-rd-ashcroft-homes-convent-development-phase-ii-open-house

 

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CBC.ca: Ashcroft facing Westboro’s wrath over convent proposal

13 01 2018

Ashcroft facing Westboro’s wrath over convent proposal

Former convent could be partially demolished, rented out for commercial use

CBC News Posted: Jan 11, 2018 8:56 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 11, 2018 1:22 PM ET

Ashcroft Homes presented its plans for the redevelopment of a 19th century convent to a room packed with skeptical Westboro residents Wednesday night.

The proposal includes demolishing the interior of the former convent on Richmond Road, as well as portions of the south and west wall, and building a modern glass structure matching its four-storey height that would also enclose courtyard.

“It was single-purpose designed as a convent and very austere,and very small rooms. The floor plans are very difficult not only for leasing the space, but also for community uses,” said Don Schultz, an urban planner for Ashcroft Homes.

The developer bought the former Les Soeurs de la Visitation building at 114 Richmond Road almost eight years ago along with a two-hectare plot of land for $12 million.

Schultz said not only has working around the convent’s original design been challenging, but the company also found issues it wasn’t expecting.

“Anyone who buys an old house finds out about a lot of the demons in the basement and in the walls and that is what
Ashcroft has been learning,” he said.

When asked if there was a structural reason to demolish the walls that would be torn down in the plan, architect Rod Lahey said it was “the reverse” and that more structural work will be needed to restore the walls that will be left standing.

Lahey, whose firm has been working on project since the land was purchased, said the floor plan expansion was “an economic decision.”

After an extended development fight where both sides went to the Ontario Municipal Board, the stone convent has been mostly untouched while a nine-storey condo was built on the edge of the land near Island Park Drive.

Combines business and community

When Ottawa city council gave Ashcroft Homes approval to develop the former Westboro convent lands, it was with the understanding that the developer would restore the convent so the community could use it.

The developer says it is keeping up its end of the bargain.

“There may be some offices or combination of businesses that would find this a unique and attractive space to have an office, but that has to be combined with community uses as well,” Schultz said.

The presenters mentioned a restaurant or a business incubator could occupy the space, but admitted the building’s low visibility from the street would limit the possible tenants.

Lack of partners ‘troublesome’

Some residents felt those examples didn’t fit their definition of “community use.”

Coun. Jeff Leiper, who hosted the meeting, said restaurants and pubs aren’t going to cut it.

“I am thinking of non-profits who could benefit from free space, or using it as a community meeting space, or as recreational space,” said Leiper.

Duff Mitchell, who lives across from the Ashcroft condos at the corner of Island Park Drive and Richmond Road, said he expected the convent would be preserved as a condition of the developer getting additional height and density for the project.

“After about eight years hearing they want to alter the convent structure and this is essential for moving forward, I find a bit troublesome — especially since they haven’t identified any partners for this project,” he said.

He said the idea of bringing commercial tenants to the site doesn’t make sense given the persistent vacancies on the ground floor of the Richmond Road development.

‘Same old, same old’

Lorne Cutler, president of the Hampton Iona Community Group, said he would’ve preferred if Ashcroft had details on a partner or financial contribution to community space rather than vague plans for its use.

“This is still the same old, same old, after seven or eight years,” Cutler said.

Leiper said there is no good will in the community to even contemplate allowing Ashcroft to move forward with the plan.

“If it’s costing them more than they expected, in the eyes of the community that is too bad,” said Leiper.

“Commitments were made. They need to stick to their promises.”

The proposal for partial demolition is expected to go to the city’s built heritage committee March 8.

Leiper said the plan will also require rezoning and consideration by the planning committee.

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Link to article is here.





REMINDER: Ashcroft Homes Convent Development Open House – January 10, 2018

9 01 2018

REMINDER

From the office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward:

Ashcroft Homes is proposing an adaptive re-use of Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent at their 114 Richmond Rd site, which would see the building partially demolished and encapsulated in glass, combining heritage and modern elements. The refreshed convent would see office tenants and mixed commercial. We invite you to come and learn more about this proposed development during a community open house:

  • Wednesday, January 10, 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm
  • Van Lang Field House (29 Van Lang Pvt)

Information on the proposed development will be available from Ashcroft Homes, and City of Ottawa staff in both Heritage and Planning will be on hand to field additional questions regarding process. Of course, we are also interested in your feedback. Once the plans are available online, we will make sure to circulate them in the newsletter. We encourage you to send our office, as well as the planners, notes with your thoughts on the proposed development.

More info will be posted here once it’s available: https://kitchissippiward.ca/content/114-richmond-rd-ashcroft-homes-convent-development-open-house





Ashcroft Homes Convent Development Open House – January 10, 2018

8 12 2017

From the office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward:

Ashcroft Homes is proposing an adaptive re-use of Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent at their 114 Richmond Rd site, which would see the building partially demolished and encapsulated in glass, combining heritage and modern elements. The refreshed convent would see office tenants and mixed commercial. We invite you to come and learn more about this proposed development during a community open house:

6:00-8:00pm

Van Lang Field House (29 Van Lang Pvt)

Information on the proposed development will be available from Ashcroft Homes, and City of Ottawa staff in both Heritage and Planning will be on hand to field additional questions regarding process. Of course, we are also interested in your feedback. Once the plans are available online, we will make sure to circulate them in the newsletter. We encourage you to send our office, as well as the planners, notes with your thoughts on the proposed development.

More info will be posted here once it’s available: https://kitchissippiward.ca/content/114-richmond-rd-ashcroft-homes-convent-development-open-house

 





CBC.CA: New developer plans to partially demolish Westboro convent for commercial use

8 12 2017

New developer plans to partially demolish Westboro convent for commercial use

Ashcroft Homes to present plans to for 19th Century convent in January

Ashcroft Homes, which owns Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent in Westboro, is proposing to renovate the site by partially demolishing it and building a glass enclosure to encase both modern and heritage elements.

Another pitched development battle is brewing in Westboro over a new proposal by Ashcroft Homes to partially demolish a 19th-century convent designated as a heritage building to make way for commercial uses.

Ashcroft’s “adaptive re-use” of Les Soeurs de la Visitation Convent will be encapsulated in glass and combine both heritage and modern elements, according to information posted on the website of Kitchissippi ward Coun. Jeff Leiper.

Ashcroft is proposing to modernize the stone building to attract commercial and office tenants.

The developer — along with City of Ottawa staff in both the planning and Heritage departments — will present more details in a public open house next month.

Expect a fight, says councillor

Leiper has warned Ashcroft to expect a fight from residents and from council.

“This is almost certain to generate a significant amount of community backlash. It will be difficult for me to support any modification to that building,” Leiper said.

The city made it clear to Ashcroft in 2010 that preserving the convent was one of the conditions it had to commit to when it was given permission to purchase the property, he said.

Kitchissippi residents will also demand Ashcroft keep its initial promise to use the 147 year-old building for community space, he said. When it was awarded the development rights to the two-hectare site, Ashcroft pitched council a vision to use the former monastery to hold neighborhood gatherings and art installations. Stores and office space were not part of the deal, Leiper said.

“There is a need for community facilities in the neighborhood,” Leiper said. “Ashcroft has a real challenge to convince the public to support the addition of more commercial space.”

The Kitchissippi councillor said there is already bad blood in the ward stemming from Ashcroft’s previous deviation from council-approved plans.

Ashcroft’s controversial redevelopment for the convent property was the subject of a three-day planning committee in 2010, where dozens of residents spoke against the plan. Ashcroft paid $12 million dollars for the property on Richmond Road at Island Park Drive.

 Ashcroft’s development on the convent lands is recognized around the city as the type of “main street development we don’t want,” Leiper said.

Leiper says Ashcroft’s development on Richmond Road, which dwarfs the convent behind it, is an example of what not to develop on a main street.

‘This place is sacred — like a church’

Ashcroft has not filed a formal land use application for the convent, according to city staff.

Glimpses of the structure built in the mid-1800s can be seen through the archways of an adjacent Ashcroft-developed glass condominium on Richmond Rd and Island Park Drive.

The stone building has sat empty for more than seven years. It is currently fenced off with its windows boarded up, and wooden support beams propping up some of its walls. Despite its state of disrepair, Marthe Ledoux, 77, said Ashcroft must keep its promise to the community to restore the building.

Westboro resident Marthe Ledoux questions the developer’s ability to attract commercial space to the site.

“This place is sacred, like a church,” Ledoux said. She has lived in Westboro for nearly two decades and resides across the street in another Ashcroft development on Richmond Road and said from the window of her modern condo, she sees half a dozen unrented retail storefronts surrounding the convent. She has doubts Ashcroft will be able to attract commercial interest in the site.

“Why would commercial space come here (to the convent) when they don’t come on the main street?” she asked.

Site needs sponsor, developer says

Ashcroft Homes president David Choo was unwilling to be interviewed, but in a brief email exchange he told the CBC restoring a large heritage site like the convent requires a “sponsor.”

“If heritage assets are to be preserved and that is what we are trying to do — then how can we achieve (this) given the enormous cost of such an undertaking…. The convent needs several millions to even begin to adapt and the question is who pays?”

Choo did not answer questions about how much his company has spent to preserve the building since purchasing it in 2010.

The public hearing for Ashcroft’s long-awaited proposal for the convent will take place Jan. 10 at Van Lang Field House at 6 p.m.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ashcroft-development-westboro-convent-plans-commercial-use-1.4438119

 





David Reevely (Ottawa Citizen) refers to your Hobb comments as ‘epic thread’!

6 04 2013

Your comments to Hobbs regarding the convent-site noise exemption have been noticed. Most recently by David Reevely of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. He refers to the ‘epic thread’ of resident comments on our Hello Westboro blog, and noted ‘the only person defending Hobbs was Hobbs’.

Reevely’s full article:
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Kitchissippi+Councillor+Hobbs+takes+lesson+from+conventsite/8202805/story.html

Reevely’s blog post on the same topic, more detail:
http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/04/04/hobbss-walk-on-motion-on-the-convent-noise-exemption/

Original post that gave everyone something to talk about:
https://lovewestboro.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/katherine-hobbs-email-re-motion-to-extend-timeframe-for-noise-exemption/

Hobbs





Convent update: Construction Road through Byron Linear Park

14 10 2012

Hampton Iona and Westboro community groups received this letter from Councillor Hobbs.  Unfortunately, we were given no advance warning that this was happening.   If you have any questions,  you should either contact Councillor Hobbs or Doug James.

To summarize, the City is planning to allow Ashcroft to built a temporary construction road through the Byron Linear Park.  Next  summer the City will be widening Shannon Street and once that widening is completed, that newly widened street will become a construction route and the temporary road through the Park will be closed.

Dear Residents of Shannon Street, Hilson Avenue and Byron Avenue,

This letter is being distributed to advise you that in the coming days, work will commence to prepare a temporary access through the Byron Linear Park for construction vehicles at the location shown on the plan attached.  The temporary access is necessary to accommodate works at the south side of the former Sisters of the Visitation property.  The temporary access will be gravel and will involve some modest site modifications such as the removal of approximately two trees and the realignment of the linear path next to Byron Avenue.  As part of the path realignment, stop signs will be erected at the intersection with the temporary access to help minimize pedestrian conflicts. This temporary access is intended to be in service only until Shannon Street is redesigned through the Site Plan Control Process, all required approvals are issued, and the construction to implement that design is completed.  It is expected that the reconstruction of Shannon Street will be completed next summer, and at that time, construction vehicles will cease using the temporary access through the park, and instead, use Shannon Street to access the site for the duration of construction.

The final design of Shannon Street is intended to include widening the travelled portion of that road to a maximum of 6.75 metres and it is anticipated that a major portion of the asphalt widening will take place on the southern side of the roadway.  There is also no sidewalk planned for the widened road.  In addition to the asphalt widening, roadway modifications to accommodate the turning radius for construction traffic will also be accomplished from the side of the park and the hydro poles will be relocated at Ashcroft’s expense.  Any trees that are removed, both in relation to the increased road allowance as well as the temporary construction access through the linear park will be replaced (two trees for every one tree removed) as part of the Site Plan Control Process. During the construction process, Ashcroft Homes will be required to ensure that dust and dirt are monitored and managed.  This will likely involve watering of the roadway and construction vehicles.

It is acknowledged that construction activities at 114 Richmond Road have been difficult for the surrounding residents; however, the temporary access through the Byron Linear Park and the final design of Shannon Street is being undertaken with the goal of minimizing the impact on the residents of Shannon Street, both during the construction phase of this development and after construction is completed.

For further information please contact the undersigned,

Douglas James
Planner
Planning and Growth Management Department
City of Ottawa
Douglas.James@ottawa.ca
613-580-2424 ext. 13856

 








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