A local real estate firm has purchased one of downtown Ottawa’s most recognizable heritage buildings with the aim of turning it into a top-tier commercial property.
Golpro Holdings closed an $8.5-million deal to buy the Trafalgar Building at 207 Queen St. from Toth Equity last month. Built in about 1905, the five-storey structure was designed by noted Ottawa architect Edgar L. Horwood, who served as Canada’s Chief Dominion Architect from 1915-17, and is considered one of the city’s best examples of the Chicago School of architecture.
Once home to government offices, the 32,000-square-foot property on the northeast corner of Bank and Queen streets now houses a variety of retailers – including a coffee shop, photography store, shoe repair shop and Money Mart – on the ground floor and two commercial tenants, media chain Quebecor and GEOS Languages Plus, on the floors above. Two of the upper floors are currently vacant.
Golpro director of real estate Bill Sioulas said the company plans to invest at least $1 million to modernize the building’s interior and replace its antiquated elevator, HVAC and lighting systems with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technology.
Sioulas said he considers the building to be a Class-C property in its current state, adding his goal is to return it to its past glory.
“It needs a lot of tender, loving care,” he said. “It stands out now, but we want it to sort of shine a little more. We’ve got to shine the cobalt and turn it into a diamond.”
Sioulas said Golpro plans to talk to the current tenants to find out what improvements they would like to see. The vacant floors likely won’t be renovated until new occupants are found and offer input, he added.
“I really don’t want to jump the gun yet and say it’s going to be all mahogany and marble,” Sioulas said. “It might be bean bags and stainless steel.”
Well-known architect and urban design consultant Barry Padolsky is also working with the company to ensure the upgrades won’t compromise the historic structure’s heritage character.