Read the full Where to Buy Now feature online or in the Real Estate 2018 print issue of Ottawa Magazine
The usual narrative of developer versus established neighbourhood goes something like this: Developer proposes project. Residents explode. Planning battles ensue.
When it comes to the construction of roughly 1,050 new housing units on the Oblate Fathers’ property on Main Street, however, Old Ottawa East has flipped the script. “I think that development has been welcomed by the community,” says Sutton. “The open big space and trees were lovely, but we also recognized that it was not likely going to stay that way forever.”
One reason for the amity seems to be that the new developments — the Corners on Main condos (Domicile Developments) and the Greystone Village condos, townhouses, and single-family houses (by Regional Group and eQ Homes) — benefit the area’s current residents. Karen Watts, a senior sales representative for Domicile, says many buyers in her project are empty nesters from surrounding streets looking to downsize.
The neighbourhood’s population grew by a modest two per cent between 2011 and 2016. However, once the Corners on Main and Greystone Village are completed and fully occupied — likely by 2019 — the 2016 population of roughly 7,000 could leap by 25 per cent. Locals hope the influx of new residents will support more shops, services, and restaurants.
The 29.5-acre Oblate lands development is not the only news. Main Street has just undergone a two-year $39-million reconstruction project — part of the city’s Complete Streets initiative — designed to make the road safer. Predictably, there have been complaints about confusing signage and rush-hour traffic, but Sutton says the trade-offs are worth it. “In terms of walkability, livability, the ability to bike, it has made an unbelievable difference.”
Another boon for local pedestrians and cyclists will be the $21-million Rideau Canal Crossing — a 123-metre-long pedestrian bridge between Old Ottawa East and the Glebe scheduled for completion in August 2019.
What’s For Sale?*
530 de Mazenod Ave., Ste. 403
1-bath studio apartment
Walk Score: 70
Transit Score: 81
Bike Score: 99
Meet the Neighbours: Median age 30; household income $52,392
115 Springhurst Ave.
3-bedroom, 2-bath, 3-storey house
Walk Score: 70
Transit Score: 81
Bike Score: 99
Meet the Neighbours: 57% own, 43% rent
1 Mutchmor Rd.
4-bedroom, 4-bath, 2-storey house
Walk Score: 59
Transit Score: 70
Bike Score: 95
Meet the Neighbours: Average income $185,293; 80% work in professional occupations (e.g., sciences, government, business, or management)
*These listings may no longer be available and should be used as a range of what is potentially available in this neighbourhood
Watson’s Pharmacy and Compounding Centre, 192 Main St.
Watson’s sells both standard and holistic health products and also compounds medicines. The bright, cheery store serves as a community hub, selling children’s toys, jigsaw puzzles, chocolates, and gourmet foods (there’s a Canada Post counter too). Smart canines know the staff keep dog biscuits behind the checkout desk.
The Green Door, 198 Main St.
One of the granddaddies of Ottawa’s vegetarian scene, The Green Door has been serving up healthy dishes since 1988. Vegan, organic, gluten-free, and sugar-free options are available. Arrive early if you want a seat: this place is consistently packed.
Rideau River / Western Pathway
In summer 2017, the City of Ottawa upgraded and expanded the Rideau River Western Pathway, a multi-use paved path that will give pedestrians and cyclists from Old Ottawa East better access to the University of Ottawa and the Lees Avenue LRT station.
A grocery store! OOE residents need to cross the canal to get to the Loblaws on Isabella and the Pretoria Bridge sidewalks can be tight with cyclists, making lugging groceries home an awkward endeavour.
Meet the Neighbours
Xin Hui Su (Sula), Andrew Lay, and their three children
Owners of Sula Wok restaurant and three food carts
Home: Sula and Andrew moved from the Glebe to Old Ottawa East, buying a 1½-storey house on Main Street in November 2015. It was zoned commercial, allowing them to construct a restaurant on the first floor and their family home on the floors above.
Years in the ’hood: Just over one year. The family moved into a rental unit beside their future home during construction. Sula Wok opened in January 2018.
Why they moved here: “We already knew this neighbourhood because our kids [ages 10, 7, and 4] are at Lady Evelyn down the street,” says Sula. “We had been looking for a restaurant space to rent, but rents were too high. The zoning allowed us to build our restaurant on the ground floor and our house above,” says Andrew. “Plus, we knew the street was getting a makeover and the development across the street would begin to be occupied in about a year and a half. From a business point of view, we have a head start in this neighbourhood.”
Favourite shop: “We’re so busy that we rarely get to shop!” says Sula. “But I do know 3 Trees. I make jewellery, and I used to sell my necklaces and earrings through their store.”
Favourite public spaces: “Brantwood Park is a phenomenal park right on the Rideau River. Our kids love to go there. As our employee situation improves, we hope to have more time to hang out,” says Andrew. “We also love the proximity to the canal and downtown. And when the city builds the footbridge, that’s going to be fantastic for the neighbourhood.”
What’s missing: “Amenities! There are a few independent businesses along Main Street, but I feel like we’re in at the beginning. There’s a lot of room for growth,” says Andrew. “This little strip will look pretty different 10 years from now.”