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Ottawa Zibi continues to grow: Two new res towers to lease up

Common Zibi will feature traditional apartment rentals and furnished co-living suites

Aalto II is the second rental apartment tower to be constructed at the Ottawa-Gatineau Zibi development. (Courtesy Dream)
Aalto II is the second rental apartment tower to be constructed at the Ottawa-Gatineau Zibi development. (Courtesy Dream)

Dream Unlimited (DRM-T) and Dream Impact Trust (MPCT.UN-T) are set to launch leasing for the latest multiresidential tower at their 34-acre Zibi development in the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau.

The Aalto II tower has been under construction since August of 2021 and occupancy will begin this fall.

Rising 11 storeys and located on the Gatineau portion of the site, the 148-unit Aalto II is a companion to the Aalto I tower which is complete and has only a few two-bedroom units remaining for leasing. Aalto I contains 162 apartments and stands 15 storeys at the corner of Eddy Street and Rue Jos Montferrand.

It is one of two buildings at the site scheduled to begin leasing in the coming weeks and months.

“We know the National Capital Region, like all of Canada, is suffering from a severe housing shortage, especially in the rental market,” Justin Robitaille, vice-president of development at Dream, said in the announcement. “Aalto II is a response to that, and we look forward to unveiling some more innovative housing options at Zibi later this fall.”

The “more innovative housing” project he’s referring to is Common Zibi, a co-living rental building which is also under construction. It will be operated by New York-based Common Living, and is its first Canadian project.

Both leasing and occupancy are to begin later this year for the over 200 units in the 24-storey tower, which also includes traditional apartment rentals in addition to the furnished co-living suites.

Aalto II and the Zibi development site

Aalto II contains a mix of studios, one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-den, two-bedroom and two-bedroom-plus-den suites. Rents start from $1,425.

Like all the residents and users of the site, its tenants will have access to eight acres of parks and public spaces at Zibi. It also boasts good connections to amenities and transportation in both cities, with a Walk Score of 71, Bike Score of 93 and Transit Score of 80.

Leasing will be introduced July 15 during an event at Zibi House on the site.

"Rising interest rates have certainly cooled sales volume and demand. Despite this decline, housing prices remain relatively high and affordability continues to be a concern," Robitaille told RENX in an email exchange. "The National Capital Region is however seeing strong population growth, fuelled by both international and interprovincial migration, and more job creation and employment opportunities for the young workforce.

"These strong economic and demographic fundamental conditions are supporting and driving rental demand.”

Aalto II will be the fourth residential building to open at Zibi, which also currently includes the mid-rise O and Kanaal condo buildings with a total of 141 units. Both are fully sold-out. 

An eight-storey, 158,000-square-foot office building is leased to the federal government, and co-working/flex space firm Spaces has leased space in two other office/commercial buildings on the site.

At full buildout in approximately eight to 10 years, Zibi is to accommodate more than 5,000 residents and 6,000 workers in over a million square feet of commercial space. Although no updated figure is available, the development was estimated at $1.5 billion in value in 2018.

It is being developed as one of the most sustainable communities in the world, and the first One Planet Living-endorsed development in Canada. One Planet Living is a global framework developed by Bioregional and the World Wildlife Fund.

Zibi’s district energy system, which will ultimately provide heating and cooling for all of the planned four million square feet of development, is already In operation. It employs waste heat from the nearby Kruger Products’ Gatineau plant, and cool water from the Ottawa River.

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