Developing Community: how condo builders shape the city
Eating & Drinking

Developing Community: how condo builders shape the city

This essay was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Ottawa Magazine as part of a series on neighbourhood planning entitled “15 Minutes to the Future”. Find more articles in this package here.

Big residential projects can bring great change to neighbourhoods. That means the companies behind those multi-unit buildings can have the power to impact the future of our city in meaningful ways. Here, a look at five major players — where they’re building, and how they’re giving back to the communities in which they build.


Notable builds: Luxury suites at 460 St-Laurent Blvd., where on- site services include a cafe, medical clinic, hair salon, movie theatre, and rooftop restaurant Le St Laurent. 

Faces: Founder Gilles Desjardins, who received a Governor General’s medal in 2018 for his efforts to improve life for capital region residents.

Left: 460 St-Laurent offers an on-site massage clinic and a high end restaurant. Right: Brigil founder Giles Desjardins

Social impact: Over the years, Brigil has donated hundreds of thousands to environmental projects and education at all levels, as well as millions to local health centres and sports facilities.

Next up: Their development of the former Greyhound Station will bring big change to Centretown. Currently, Brigil is selling high end rentals on Baseline and suites at The Dale, located on Parkdale beside Tunney’s Pasture.

Related: The allure and the challenge of 15-minute neighbourhoods

Notable builds: Icon, the Westboro condo that remains the tallest residential building in Ottawa. Recent diversification has come through Riverstone Retirement Communities and the Andaz hotel, both of which are owned and operated by Claridge.

Faces: President and founder Bill Malhotra, CEO/ COO Shawn Malhotra, and CFO Neil Malhotra.

Left: Claridge’s Icon building remains the tallest condo in the city. Right: Louise and Shawn Malhotra

Social impact: Shawn and wife Louise Malhotra set up the Malhotra Family Foundation in 2011 and have since made six-figure donations to hospitals (CHEO, Elizabeth Bruyere), youth development (Youth Services, Christie Lake Kids, and more), plus local groups such as the Ottawa Food Bank.

Next up: New homes at Kanata’s Copperwood Estate community

Notable builds: High end suites at The Charlotte in Sandy Hill; single detached homes and townhomes in the Riverside Edge development; and new developments in Stittsville and Orleans.

Faces: Kris Singhal, who founded the company in 1983 and has grown it into a huge family-owned company.

Left: The Charlotte in Sandy Hill is among recent Richcraft multi-residential buildings. Right: Kris and Manju Singhal

Social impact: Look for the name Richcraft on infrastructure at Carleton U and Shenkman Arts Centre, as well as the Sensplex hockey rinks in the east and west ends. Plus big donations to hospitals (CHEO, Ottawa Hospital) and charities such as Habitat for Humanity and Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

Next up: Parkdale Collective a 31-storey tower with 278 rental units near Tunney’s Pasture.

Notable builds: Richardson Ridge in Kanata; New Edinburgh boutique condo Mackay House; as well as The Avenues of Westboro, a heritage infill project on the former grounds of La Maison Jeanne D’arc.

Faces: John MacDougall, president of Uniform’s urban projects, and Peter Stenger, president of the company’s commercial developments.

Left: Mackay House in New Edinburgh. Right: John MacDougall and Peter Stenger

Social impact: Financial donations have gone primarily to support health care and housing (Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Cornerstone, and the Ottawa Mission, among others). Plus, Uniform works with Carleton University for a bursary that helps encourage architecture students.

Next up: Boutique condos and rentals in the Echo building beside the Rideau Canal; homes in Kanata’s Copperwood development; plus a new community called McNeely Landing in Carleton Place.

Left: One of the completed buildings in the Zibi development. Right: Jonathan Westeinde

Notable builds: The massive Zibi development and the towers at Cathedral Hill, located at the end of Bronson.

Faces: CEO and founder Jonathan Westeinde, plus finance partner Jeremy Reeds and Stephen Savell, head of development.

Social impact: It’s all about the environment here. Founders sit on green building committees; it’s an employee-owned company and work-from-home is encouraged to reduce fossil fuel use.

Next up: The Southminster Church redevelopment, a boutique high-end project with condos and townhomes in Old Ottawa South, as well Parkway House in Lincoln Fields