Problem is, little or no undeveloped land exists in the area. This leads developers to buy existing property, typically older single homes, which are then demolished to make way for condominium apartments.
The latest attempt to do this has triggered a battle with some of those living close by. They have several concerns, even though the proposed three-storey, three-apartment condominium building would be no larger than many single homes built these days.
Opponents of the project say the proposed condo building would be ugly and out of place among the traditional homes situated along the canal.
The City of Ottawa is currently considering whether to approve the project, and the outcome of this review is eagerly awaited not just by the neighbours and the would-be developer. The outcome is of interest to all developers considering such projects in a city that says it encourages more dense urban development.
The would-be developer, Alan Bateman, is already offering the three condo apartments for sale – at prices ranging from $1,295,000 for the top floor down to $1,235,000 for the ground floor. These prices are among the highest of any condominiums currently listed for sale on the Ottawa Real Estate Board's multiple-listing service.
The Keller Williams Ottawa Realty sales pitch for the condos says: "Welcome to 112 Queen Elizabeth Dr., overlooking the Rideau Canal. Quality built by an award-winning builder who has, over the past 30 years with his unparalleled attention to detail and his unrivalled knowledge of construction, helped change the landscape of Ottawa. Secure and private, each suite features stunning kitchens, extravagant bathrooms, spectacular views and the joy of living in one of Ottawa's most historic neighbourhoods."
While the address of the proposed condos is 112 Queen Elizabeth Dr., the two-storey existing home on the site has its front entrance on McLeod Street, just around the corner.
Ottawa author and journalist Dan Turner, who lives at 114 Queen Elizabeth Drive, says the proposed building "would rob me entirely of three views of the canal – one from the deck, one from the sunroom, and one from the bedroom."
Mr. Turner contends the block on which the existing building stands is already intensified, and that six people now live in the house that would be demolished. He argues that would be about the same number of people that would live in the three condo apartments.
Mr. Turner has stuck his own sign on the site of the proposed condos. Among other things, the sign reads: "No city approval yet ... They wouldn't, would they?"
While the city has a policy of encouraging increased building density, it's hard to predict what it will decide in this case. Mr. Bateman hopes for a decision soon, so he can get on with demolition and construction in a project that could generate revenue of close to $7 million.
Mr. Bateman was also the builder of a three-storey, three-apartment condominium building at 72 Queen Elizabeth Dr.
The resale of an apartment in this building yielded the highest price of any condominium sold in the city this year on the real estate board's multiple-listing service.
The 2,800-square-feet top-floor apartment sold for $1.1 million on the first day it was listed. While the selling price was $95,000 below list price, it sold for about $100,000 more than it cost one year earlier.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was the only condo sale in Ottawa this year for more than $1 million on multiple-listing service.
Brent McElheran, a real estate agent with Royal LePage Team Realty, says this shows that "Ottawa is still a conservative market" when it comes to buying condos. "People are still reluctant to spend more than one million dollars on a condo," he says.
Currently, the highest-priced condo listed for sale in Ottawa on MLS is a penthouse in the Metropole highrise tower near Island Park Drive and the Ottawa River Parkway. The home of Eva and Ron Weissberger has been for sale for several months for $1.8 million.
TOP 10 CONDO SALES OF 2009
72 Queen Elizabeth Dr. $1,100,000; 31 First Ave. $985,000; 84 Dufferin Rd. $975,000; 38 Metropole Pvt. (Unit 2604) $899,000; 35 Bittern Crt. $875,000; 85 Bronson Ave. $850,000; 65 Whitemarl Dr. (Unit 11) $810,000; 38 Metropole Pvt. (Unit 1804) $795,000; 3590 Rivergate Way $795,000; 65 Whitemarl Dr. (Unit 4) $792,500
TOP 10 CURRENT CONDO LISTINGS
38 Metropole Pvt. (Unit 2903) $1,800,000; 38 Metropole Pvt. (Unit 3103) $1,559,000; 112 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Unit 3) $1,295,000; 112 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Unit 2) $1,265,000; 112 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Unit 1) $1,235,000; 700 Sussex Dr. (garden suite) $1,150,000; 111 Echo Dr. (Unit 301) $1,080,000; 111 Echo Dr. (Unit 303) $999,000; 123 Echo Dr. (Penthouse 2) $995,000; 38 Metropole Pvt. (Unit 801) $998,900.