Ontario Construction News staff writer
Timbercreek Asset Management plans a multi-billion development to transform south Ottawa’s Heron Gate community in the next two decades, tripling or even quadrupling its population.
“The vision really is for a vibrant, diverse, mixed-use community,” Colleen Krempulec, Timbercreek’s executive director of marketing, said in an interview with the Real Estate News Exchange (RENX) .“Our estimate is that the approximate population of Heron Gate village today is around 5,000 people, whereas at full build-out it might be 15,000 to 20,000 people.”
The City of Ottawa has received Timbercreek’s secondary plan proposal for the 40-acre site, which includes upwards of 57 new buildings. Roughly “90 per cent of it will be net new additions, and about 10 per cent of the 5,500 (units) will be replacement,” Timbercreek’s vice-president of real estate investment management Paul Popovici said.
Timbercreek proposes five blocks of residential building, “which will include townhouses, mid-range apartments, high-rise apartments, live-work units, commercial space, and amenities,” Krempulec told RENX. It features “some great improvements and additions, as far as public park spaces and palettes and green connectors.”
Most of the redevelopment will occur involving wood structures which “will eventually be replaced over time,” she said in the interview. However, Timbercreek will retain five existing concrete towers.
Popovici said most of the redevelopment will involve wood structures which “will eventually be replaced over time.” Timbercreek plans to retain five existing, concrete construction multi-residential towers which are already in the community, the published report said.
The developer has already started work by removing 150 old townhouses and began building three six-storey buildings at Sandalwood Drive and Heron Road in 2016 in a $120 million project. These structures, with close to 350 apartments and ground floor retail, should be ready for occupancy in the fall.
Timbercreek, founded in 1999, is an active investor, owner and manager of global real estate and related assets. It has spent more than $50 million in retrofitting existing apartments and upgrading amenities since assumed Heron Gate’s ownership in 2012.
“I think it’s safe to say that there will be a significant rental component,” said Popovici. “We just don’t have the specific number of units at this point. That will all be dependent upon us working through the process with the City of Ottawa.”
“From studio units to one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-plus-bedroom units for singles and families alike, and everything in between,” RENX quoted Krempulec as saying. “But, we haven’t yet got to the point in the planning process where we’ve specifically outlined that level of detail.”
Krempulec said plans call for a large, central green space supported by a series of smaller parkettes sprinkled across Heron Gate.
“We think that the renderings and the vision look beautiful, and we are confident it will look beautiful when it comes to life,” Krempulec said in the published interview. “There’s nobody out there who doesn’t want to live in a community that doesn’t have a lot of green, outdoor space for walking and for playing, for families and those who own pets.
“So it is a big, important part of the community plan.”
The development’s guiding principles include focusing on pedestrian and multi-modal transportation, forming a socially responsible, sustainable community, and creating a vibrant community identity.
The plans also facilitate better movement in and around the community, she said.
“(The plan) seeks to improve the different ways people can move around in the community, so there is a drastic improvement and investment in new pedestrian pathways, as well as new dedicated bike pathways,” Krempulec said.
“So it really will be a multi-modal transportation community and one that promotes and encourages alternative transportation uses beyond just main streets with vehicles on (them).”