Ottawa-based Windmill Developments co-founder and chairperson Jeff Westeinde said his company has signed a letter of intent with Domtar Corp. to purchase 37 acres of land on and around Chaudiere Island.
© Image courtesy of Shanta Rohse / Wikipedia Commons
Chaudière Island, as seen in 2006.
The real estate firm, which specializes in land remediation and sustainable development, intends to buy Albert Island as well as the portion of Chaudiere Island not owned by Hydro Ottawa, Mr. Westeinde told OBJ in an exclusive interview. Additionally, he said Windmill is poised to puchase 22 acres in Gatineau on what used to be Wright Island.
Media reports earlier this week said Domtar had signed a letter of intent to sell its lands, but the would-be buyer remained a mystery until Friday evening.
Mr. Westeinde said Windmill is working on an overall development plan for the area and intends to construct a mix of hotels, restaurants, condominiums and commercial space for knowledge-based industries, all built to “off-the-charts” environmental standards.
“This is what we do. We cut our teeth on community-scale sustainable developments,” said Mr. Westeinde.
“We’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to do it in Ottawa, and we’re particularly thrilled that we will have a hand in shaping what the future of lands that are as important as this to our region look like.”
Mr. Westeinde declined to discuss the purchase price.
He said Windmill is in the due diligence stage and must still clear several hurdles related to site decontamination and servicing. He said he expects to enter into a purchase and sale agreement with Domtar in approximately 90 days.
It is Windmill’s intent to develop the site collaboratively with the National Capital Commission and the municipalities on both sides of the Ottawa River, Mr. Westeinde said. He added that he hoped the federal government would also have a presence on the property.
“We know these lands are of significance importance to our region,” he said.
The underdevelopment of Ottawa’s extensive waterfronts is frequently lamented by those in the local tourism industry and wider business community. Windmill’s involvement in the Domtar property marks a significant shift as the private sector, rather than government, will be leading the effort to breath new life into the city’s shorelines.
The company is best known for its Dockside Green development in Victoria, B.C., where it turned a 15-acre brownfield site into a 1.3 million square foot mixed-use development that achieved a LEED platinum rating for energy efficiency and environmental design.
Locally, Windmill constructed The Currents condominium building at the corner of Holland Avenue and Wellington Street West that also houses the Great Canadian Theatre Company.
It is currently constructing a condo and office development on the Christ Church Cathedral property on Sparks Street as well as the Eddy condominium on Wellington Street West in Hintonburg.
Mr. Westeinde said the Domtar lands project will be of a “similar scope” to some of the other community-scale developments undertaken by Windmill.