Can this Gatineau site support $ 1 billion in development?

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A Gatineau real estate developer wants to see up to $ 1 billion worth of new development on prime land near the Canadian Museum of History.

Brigil bought the property at 35 Laurier Avenue in Gatineau, just west of the museum, earlier this year. The 1.75 acre parcel is now occupied by the Four Points by Sheraton hotel and conference center and the former Notre-Dame-de-Grâce rectory, a five-story heritage building that now houses a conference center for the hotel that the manufacturer intends to preserve.

The current zoning allows buildings up to 30 stories high on the site.

“It all depends on what the community wants out there and what we can actually achieve,” Jessy Desjardins, vice president of development at Brigil, told OBJ in an interview. “There is a lot of potential on this site.

Desjardins, the son of Brigil’s founder, Gilles Desjardins, says the firm is consulting residents and business groups to develop a development strategy for parking next to the hotel.

Desjardins noted that the Canadian Museum of History attracted more than 1.2 million visitors a year before the pandemic. He believes the industry is set to rebound in the next few years and says the Laurier Avenue property is “the perfect environment” for tourist amenities such as restaurants and meeting rooms.

“The intention here is to really start creating that urban fabric that pushes people towards the city center,” he said, adding that Brigil is “really open” to community feedback on what the hell might be. look like the site.

Desjardins stressed that discussions on development are still in their infancy. Noting that downtown pedestrian traffic has dropped since government workers started working remotely during COVID-19, he said his company plans to work closely with Gatineau City Hall on a development plan that will attract new residents to the region.

“With more people, there are obviously more services for the community and all the benefits that come with a 15-minute walkable neighborhood,” he said. “The more we build, the less pressure we put on the existing building stock. As a city, we need to encourage as many new developments as possible in the right place to really relieve that pressure. “

This is not the first time that Brigil has launched a major development project for the neighborhood.

Three years ago, the builder proposed a controversial $ 400 million plan to build a 35- and 55-story tower with a total of over 400 condos and 320 hotel rooms across from the Canadian Museum of History. .

The plan sparked an uproar from opponents who argued that the proposed buildings were too tall and did not match the character of the surrounding streets. In 2018, Gatineau City Council chose to designate the area as a heritage district with a three-storey limit on any new development, scuttling the project.

Meanwhile, Brigil is also aiming for the redevelopment of a prominent property on the Outaouais side of the river.

Earlier this year, the company purchased the 2.55-acre site of the former Greyhound Bus Station on Catherine Street. Brigil plans to build a mix of condos, townhouses and rental apartments on the property, as well as office space and a retail element that could include cafes, restaurants, boutiques and food stores. specialized.


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