Place de Ville
Place de Ville is a complex of office towers in downtown Ottawa, Canada. It consists of four office buildings, Place de Ville A, B, and C, and the 'Podium' building, two large hotels, and the city's largest underground parking garage. The buildings are linked by an underground shopping complex. Place de Ville C is the tallest building in Ottawa. It was once advertised as "Ottawa's glittering answer to the Toronto Dominion Centre and Place Ville Marie".
History and development
The complex is located in downtown Ottawa on Albert Street between Kent Street and Lyon. Towers A and B are located on the south side of Queen Street while tower C is on the north of Queen. The buildings are mostly home to various federal government workers, with the Department of Transport, headquartered in Tower C, being the largest tenant.
For almost a century the area had been home to the city's streetcar garages. The streetcar system was closed in 1959. The land was purchased later by developer Robert Campeau. He conceived an ambitious plan to recentre Ottawa's downtown on the site. The scheme faced several barriers, the most important of which was that for many years buildings in downtown Ottawa faced a 45.7 metre (150 foot) height restriction so the Peace Tower would dominate the skyline. Despite strong opposition from Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton, the rule was changed to allow the only somewhat taller Towers A and B to be constructed. These two towers were completed in 1968. That same year Campeau began lobbying to build the much taller Tower C. Originally hoping to build a 145 metre (475 foot) tower (which would have made it about 42 storeys), although approved by the city, the National Capital Commission allowed it to only be 112 metres (367 feet) (29 storeys), but it was, and remains, the tallest building in the city.
In the early 1980s Campeau proposed building a fourth even taller tower but a deep recession and a glut of Ottawa office space ended these plans. The buildings also began to suffer a variety of problems including asbestos, mould, a fire and allegations of Sick Building Syndrome. In the late 1980s Towers A and B were gutted and completely renovated. Campeau's business empire was also struggling and after failed expansion attempts in the United States his company collapsed. In 1996 its remnants, including Place de Ville, were bought by the Reichmann's Olympia and York (O&Y).
In 2000 O&Y announced that work would begin on a third phase of the Place de Ville complex. This would consist of two new towers one 18 storeys and the other 12. They would be built on the large parking lot next to Tower B. Several other downtown building projects and another economic downturn put these plans on hold, however. In February 2005 O&Y announced it would be selling most of its Canadian holdings, including Place de Ville.
Place de Ville is now managed by Brookfield Properties. Plans have been filed with the City of Ottawa to replace the 4 storey 'Podium' building with a new 19 floor office tower. A new two storey link would connect tower C with this new building and contain new, brighter escalators to the underground concourse. This new development should coincide with the construction of Ottawa's Confederation Line which will have a station between the two phases of Place de Ville and have a direct connection to the underground concourse.