Theberge plans 3-tower Ottawa residential redevelopment

IMAGE: A three-tower residential development proposed by Theberge Homes for the corner of Fisher and Baseline in Ottawa. (Courtesy Theberge)

A three-tower residential development proposed by Theberge Homes for the corner of Fisher and Baseline in Ottawa. (Courtesy Theberge)

Theberge Homes has evolved from low-rise residential to mainly high-density development, and is now working to zone a well-known Ottawa retail site for a multi-phase, three-tower redevelopment.

The first-generation, Ottawa-based builder acquired the 3.5-acre Fisher Heights Plaza at 780 Baseline Rd., at the corner of Fisher Avenue, from Leikin Group in an off-market deal valued at $16.5 million last October.

A 36,000-square-foot strip mall on the site was built in the early 1980s and is home to the first Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant.

“We’ve been in talks with the owner for years trying to acquire the site,” Theberge owner and president Joey Theberge told RENX.

Central Experimental Farm lands are to the north, with low-rise residences on the other three sides. The site is a few blocks east of Merivale Road, one of the city’s largest commercial and retail districts, and an area where several other residential towers are in various stages of construction and development.

National Bank of Canada, Subway, Gabriel Pizza, Game Breakers Sports Cards, and dialysis. chiropractor and dentist clinics are also among the tenants in the mall.

They provide good holding income while a large parking lot in the southeast corner provides space on which to begin development, which will take place in three phases. The tenants will remain in place through the first phase – and Theberge has stated its hope that most, if not all, will have places in the redeveloped property.

Theberge’s proposal includes: a 25-storey building on top of six- and three-storey podiums adjacent to Fisher Avenue for the first phase; a 25-storey building with four- and six-storey podiums for the second phase; and a 29-storey building with six- and three-storey podiums for the third phase.

Units, amenities and timelines

The three buildings will have approximately 870 units in total, ranging in size from studios to two-bedrooms-plus-den. They will include affordable and fully accessible units.

A new rapid transit station is planned for the area, while the planned amenities for the development include gyms, cafes, co-working spaces, party rooms, rooftop terraces and theatres, as well as privately owned public spaces.

“It’s a good site to do high-density buildings,” said Theberge. “There’s a major need for rentals in that area.”

Theberge hopes zoning will be in place by the end of this year and he would like to break ground next summer. If that’s not possible the construction start would likely wait until 2024.

“Tower 2 might start in five years and Tower 3 might start in 10 years,” said Theberge, who anticipates 30 months of construction time for each building.

Theberge focusing on purpose-built rentals

While Theberge began as a low-rise developer 15 years ago, and has a 15-townhome site under construction off of Merivale Road in the City View neighbourhood, the company’s primary focus in recent years has been on developing purpose-built rental apartments around Ottawa.

“I think some people are going to have to be looking at renting instead of buying,” said Theberge. “I see rentals being a strong game for the foreseeable future.”

Theberge has developed about 300 condominium units and he said the company isn’t interested in doing more at this point after completing the last one four years ago.

“The market’s not what it was. Seven or eight years ago you had lineups when you launched a project and you could sell it overnight.

“Now people are worried that condo fees are always creeping up and can end up being more than your mortgage payments. I haven’t seen it take off in Ottawa yet and a lot of developers aren’t doing condos for that reason.”

Other Theberge apartment developments

Theberge just broke ground on a 450,000-square-foot, six-storey purpose-built rental apartment in Kanata that will have 310 units, rooftop amenities, a gym on the ground floor, cafes, party rooms and an outdoor pool. It’s expected to take 30 months to complete.

“It’s probably one of the largest wood-frame buildings in the province,” said Theberge.

Theberge has started construction on a 270-unit apartment near the intersection of Baseline Road and Constellation Drive, Algonquin College and a light rail transit (LRT) stop.

It will include a ground-floor gym, a cafe and rooftop amenities. It should be completed in 24 months.

Theberge has received zoning approval but hasn’t started construction on a 250,000-square-foot, 25-storey, 295-unit apartment building at 641 Rideau St., just west of the Rideau River. No timelines are in place for that project yet.

Both the Kanata and Rideau Street projects were designed by Ottawa-based S.J. Lawrence Architect Incorporated.

There are longer-term plans for a future four-tower site on Trim Road in Orleans near the Trim LRT station.



Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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