If re-zoning is approved, the earliest that Windmill Developments expects to put their shovels in the ground for the redevelopment of the 37-acre Domtar lands is in the spring of 2015, with the first phase of what they’re calling The Isles to commence along Boulevard Alexandre Taché in Gatineau, and on Albert Island on the Ontario side, directly behind the Canadian War Museum.
The 3.5-million square foot project — three-quarters of it residential — is expected to take 15 years to complete, and will include condominiums, offices, retail spaces, a hotel and restaurants, as well as public spaces, bike paths and open plazas, incorporating the historic industrial feel, and many of the materials, from the existing buildings. The mixed-use neighbourhood is intended to be a showcase for sustainable development, and adopts the principles of the One Planet Communities program for creating green living and workspaces.
“This is a site with a lot of history behind it,” explains Windmill project manager Darrell deGrandmont. “We don’t want to wipe that out — we want to keep it here, and we want to make sure that people remember why it’s here.
“Even though these are going to be repurposed buildings, people will have the sense that they were once used for something else.”
For example, a large round stone tile embedded in a floor of the Main Mill building and commemorating the 1851 founding of E.B. Eddy will be used in a public space somewhere, while timbers and steel beams from portions of buildings not part of the plan will be reused in new structures, including a pedestrian/bicycle bridge. Even brick and stonework deemed unsuitable for building material can be re-used, says deGrandmont, for landscaping purposes. Windmill intends the entire development project to be carbon neatral.
“The main objective is sustainability. There’s not only the carbon footprint when you demolish something, but you’re also putting a lot of waste in dumpsites. But by keeping it, you’re hopefully eliminating all that.”
As well as many of the site’s historic industrial buildings being re-used, such as those along Taché that predate the 1900 fire, streets and other public spaces that once existed on site will be re-opened, including an extension of Laval Street in Gatineau, which will have a high concentration of retail stores.
Article by: Bruce Deachman, Ottawa Citizen
Image Source: Ottawa Citizen
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