I know I tend to crap on proposed developments and building designs, so it’s only fair to acknowledge when a plan isn’t bad…and may actually be good.
I’ve written before about the proposal for Fifth Avenue Court (now rebranded as “Fifth + Bank”), and how it wasn’t particularly good, how it was too big for the city regulations, and how the design team was being pretty dishonest. Well, they’ve made some changes, and, you know, I think I can live with the new plan.
Here’s a rendering of the original proposal:
And here’s the new proposal. It’s a bit lower (though still has a recessed extra storey); it has a bit less of a monolithic front to it; and, supposedly, it’s improved the entrances and exits for the parking garage.
For comparison, here’s their rendering with the outline of the original design added in. (Yes, they’re having some fun with angles and perspectives, but their plans have a number of diagrams, and it certainly seems like a noticeable change.)
Now, it’s still too tall for the current zoning, and their justification for going higher is that they’re maintaining the front part of the building which has heritage significance. Generally, we’d let someone bust zoning regs if they’re offering something to the city/community (brownfield remediation, affordable housing, park space, etc.). You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t consider “not destroying a heritage building” as the platonic ideal of corporate benevolence.
And so their proposal [PDF] goes on and on about “as of right”. I mean, they write it so damned many times, and I get what they’re trying to say, but it’s really just the urban development equivalent of the bleatings of a petulant toddler who feels entitled to having ice cream for dinner any day.
Regardless, I, personally, don’t feel like fighting half an extra storey, and that height isn’t egregious, so, yeah, whatever, take your “as of right” stuff, Little Timmy, us grown-ups will deal.
Now, the plan isn’t perfect. They’re putting in 100 parking spots (holy shit!) which is more than the minimum requirement of 72 (holy shit, that’s the minimum!?), and since we’re still ass-backwards on parking in central areas (we should have maximums and outright bans, but never, ever minimums), there’s no zoning-based objection to this…just a sanity objection, a holy-shit-why-do-we-want-all-these-cars-in-an-already-congested-area-for-a-building-that’s-on-two-bus-routes-in-an-eminently-walkable-neighbourhood-with-a-high-bicycing-modal-share-? objection.
(Oh, geez, sorry, it kind of got out-of-hand with all those hyphens.)
Now, I may change my mind, or there may be something in the plans that I’m missing–or maybe I’m being snowed because it’s actually a bad plan that only looks good in comparison to the original plan–but for now, I’ll say that this is the sort of development we should have in the Glebe and in the city, in general.
Except for the fucking parking. Get your act together, Ottawa.