Gatineau developer Brigil announced Thursday it plans to build a $400-million condo and hotel complex across the street from the Canadian Museum of History, a proposal that would fulfil renowned architect Douglas Cardinal’s vision for the site.
© Image courtesy Brigil
Brigil's $400-million Place des Peuples development would two towers with 420 condos across the street from the Museum of History.
Called Place des Peuples, the project would feature two towers with a total of 420 condos and 320 hotel rooms.
The taller tower, the 55-storey “Renaissance,” would soar to a height of 200 metres and include a glass elevator that will carry visitors to a 360-degree observation deck on the top floor. A smaller, neighbouring 35-storey highrise will be called "Alliance."
Mr. Cardinal, who was commissioned to design the Museum of History three decades ago, said the new project on rue Laurier will be a link between the museum and the community that surrounds it.
“Place des Peuples completes the vision I had over 30 years ago of the magnificent site across from the Parliament of Canada,” he said, adding he always pictured a highrise development in the vicinity. “Right now, there is no opportunity for (visitors to the museum) to be part of the community of Gatineau.”
The project will include a 120-room boutique hotel and a five-star hotel with 200 rooms. The LEED Platinum proposal also has a 125,000-square-foot commercial component with boutiques and restaurants that could potentially be home to civic facilities such as an art gallery or a branch of the Gatineau public library, Brigil officials said.
The entire complex will have an underground link to the museum, which draws about 1.2 million visitors a year, making the area an “inspirational and exciting” gathering place for residents and tourists alike, Mr. Cardinal said.
“I wanted this to be a real people place,” he told media during a briefing at Brigil’s presentation centre at 61 rue Laurier.
He said he envisions the towers as “beautiful sculptures” that will be an “extension” of the museum’s architecture.
“They shouldn’t be boxes,” said Mr. Cardinal, who is designing the towers in partnership with Neuf architects. “They should be art, as this whole complex is art.”
Brigil, which started building homes in 1985, unveiled the plans for Place des Peuples to the public Thursday night as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.
Frederic Lewis, Brigil’s Quebec general manager, said the project will generate $8 million a year in new tax revenue for the city and help revitalize Gatineau’s downtown.
He said he has no doubt the new design, a revision of plans the company originally presented last spring, will be a hit with buyers.
“The site is pretty amazing in terms of location,” said Mr. Lewis, adding the project will take three to four years to complete once it gets city approval. “I don’t see any problems selling those units.”
Gatineau city hall has set an ambitious target of attracting 10,000 additional residents to the downtown core over the next 10 years, even offering a seven-year municipal tax holiday to new condo owners.
Mr. Lewis said projects such as Place des Peuples and Windmill’s Zibi development at the former Domtar lands will help make the area a much more attractive district to live and work.
“The more developers that create projects, the better for everyone,” he said. “It’s bringing people to the city. It’s going to create jobs, it’s going to create business.”