In a report filed with councillors this week, city staff say there is nothing standing in the way from a heritage perspective of renovating the Union of Canada building at the corner of George and Dalhousie streets.
This clears another hurdle for Claridge, which wants to renovate the structure so it can convert it into a hotel.
Claridge’s plans to replace the windows, re-clad it with new masonry and rework the ground floor by adding a restaurant and a hotel lobby, staff wrote.
“The proposal will improve the aesthetic quality of the building by replacing its concrete
cladding, and improving its relationship to the street,” staff wrote in the report. “Its contemporary design will add another layer to the history of the area.”
The plan also calls for adding more floors to the building so it’s eventually 15 storeys high.
City staff had to review the project because the building, which first went up between 1966 and 1968, sits in the ByWard Market Heritage Conservation District. However the city always assigned it “little heritage value” within the area, the report notes.
The new building, if it goes ahead, is expected to add more rooms to an area prospective hoteliers have found difficult to break into the past few years. Many developers have preferred to use available land for offices or condominiums, leaving little left for hotels.
The city is still considering Claridge’s application to rezone the site.