Heritage Ottawa finds common ground with Château Laurier owner on design, ending legal fights

New desig for proposed addition to Château Laurier: Image supplied by Larco

Thursday, August 13, 2020

OTTAWA CITIZEN, By John Willing

The owner of the Château Laurier and a heritage advocacy group have drawn up a compromise when it comes to the design of an addition to the historic hotel.

Larco Investments announced Thursday that it reached an agreement with Heritage Ottawa on a new design that will end the advocacy group’s court action and challenges filed at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

“This breakthrough was enabled by the owner’s willingness to consider public concerns and to work with Heritage Ottawa and internationally respected Canadian conservation experts to revise the design in favour of a more compatible scheme that respects the heritage character of the Château Laurier,” Heritage Ottawa said in a written statement.

“We appreciate Larco’s openness to negotiation and the good will it showed in those discussions leading to a resolution of this dispute.”

Larco said it will be filing the new design plans with the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission. The city will need to approve the latest design.

“The new scheme will have 155 rooms, which is greater than the 147 rooms in the previous scheme, as the reconfiguration of the area and massing has permitted an increase in the number of rooms while keeping the overall square footage the same or slightly less,” Larco spokesperson Dennis Parolin said.

Larco’s architect on the project is Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance.

According to Heritage Ottawa, “the agreement is based on a dramatically altered design of the addition that will see an end to the widely vilified horizontal bar-shaped structure that blocked the rear view of the historic hotel.”

The group lauded a new two-pavilion design with a lower connecting piece that won’t block the views from Major’s Hill park to the back of the U-shaped heritage hotel.

The new design “re-establishes a more favourable relationship with the Rideau Canal,” Heritage Ottawa said.

The increase of Indiana limestone, copper and bronze will better complement the hotel, the group said.

Heritage Ottawa president Richard Belliveau credited the many people who backed their fight against the previous architectural plans.