Alterna Savings owns the retail bank, corporate offices as well as a 50,000-square-foot development site on the block bounded by Albert, Lyon, Slater and Bay streets.
Alterna spokesperson Kimberley Ney confirmed negotiations with the city had ended without a deal being reached and that there were no imminent plans to sell the property.
“We have to review any opportunity that comes our way that might be beneficial to our members. It wasn’t on our agenda.”
City librarian Barbara Clubb said the two sides disagreed on the value of the land.
“We couldn’t agree on a price,” she said.
Plans for the new 345,000-square-foot central library were unveiled with much fanfare at a well-attended press conference at City Hall last June.
At the time, library officials said the new building was likely to be between four and six storeys and sit atop a planned light-rail station.
The project would have required the acquisition of seven properties on the 0.74-acre site.
While library officials said the location had been selected a year earlier, the announcement caught some of the affected landowners off guard.
“(This) is a shock to me. No one contacted me directly,” Michael Fleming, of Fleming Property Management, told OBJ last year. His firm owns a pair of 14-unit apartment buildings on Albert Street that the company said date back to the 1930s.
Other landlords were also surprised to learn through the media that the city was interested in their properties.
The city contacted Alterna several days prior to the announcement. At the time, Ms. Ney said the company was “getting the information about the same time” as the general public, but that the company intended to “cooperate with the city.”
“We understand it is a prestigious piece of real estate downtown ... (and) we are willing to talk to the city about it.”
City councillors subsequently set aside $26 million for acquiring the 0.74 acres of land. Media reports say the money will remain earmarked for the central library project.
In a report prepared last year, city staff said the municipality could expropriate the properties if negotiations failed. However, Ms. Clubb said that option was never seriously considered.
She said the city will now start looking for a new prospective location. Previous contenders included the old Ottawa Technical High School and the Shamrock surface parking lot at Metcalfe and Nepean streets.
Ms. Clubb said the city would also look at any new opportunities that may have emerged over the past year.
City officials previously estimated the land housing Ottawa’s current central library, at Metcalfe Street and Laurier Avenue, to be worth between $19 million and $20 million.