How Ottawa’s LRT stations are becoming magnets for development

"At peak periods, more than 18,000 commuters pass through Bayview station each hour. The station is the only point where the Confederation and Trillium lines intersect.

Directly across the street, a trio of high-rise towers, already approved by the Ottawa Council, will be erected by 2024. The development at 900 Albert St. will offer more than 1,200 residential units and a pedestrian link to Bayview, creating what will be “an important and vibrant transit-oriented community,” according to the developer, Trinity Group.

This development is one of the latest in a push for a more intensified city. Transit-oriented developments near LRT stations are part of that vision.

“We are in a housing crisis, and we need to build as much of it as possible around transit stops,” said Billy Cohen, a development assistant at the affordable housing development consultancy CAHDCO. He said a successful transit node will not only attract residents but also visitors to work and play in the neighborhood.

The expanding O-Train network is set to change the makeup of Ottawa. Communities surrounding stations that were once neighborhoods of low density and family homes have become magnets for developers seeking to fit more and more beds and businesses onto local streets. Transit-oriented development is popular among both affordable and market-rate housing developers.

Cohen said that while many Ottawans fear skyscrapers sprouting up over their neighborhoods, this will not always be the case.

“We’re going to start seeing a lot of higher density housing development around the LRT – and that doesn’t necessarily mean skyscraper condos,” he said. “This type of development comes in all forms … townhouses, four-story apartment buildings, and even subdividing existing large houses into separate units. These are all in keeping with the high-density housing that we’re talking about.”

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