2.2.10

Ogilvy Lofts - Why not?

ogilvy building ottawa rideau street hard loft potential

If you're downtown a lot, you probably noticed this really neat building on 124-126 Rideau street. It's been sitting there lifeless forever. Every since we moved here, we've been looking at that building wondering who owns it? How can we can get our hands on it? It has such great potential! Well, I found out a couple months ago from Spacing Ottawa that it used to be an Ogilvy store. Founded by Charles Ogilvy, it used to be a "phenomenon". At the time, Ogilvy wanted to enhance the shopping experience and the store was designed with great attention to architectural details, lavish interiors and elaborate display windows. What happened?

ogilvy building ottawa hard loft potential
The building is currently owned by Viking Rideau who, according to a documents from the city, submitted an application to demolish the building and expand the Rideau Centre. But since the building is considered part of Rideau Street's heritage and has been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, I'm guessing that plan was refused. So nothing happened since 1992. Maybe they're waiting for the building to fall apart on its own... What a waste. If I owned this building, I'd turn it into a loft. It's not like if there are many hard lofts in Ottawa and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who would love to live in one. This building is perfect for a loft: It's in a great location, it has the right character and the history to go with it. The main floor could be used for a few little boutiques as well.

Ogilvy lofts could look a little like this great New York loft, shown below.

ogilvy building ottawa hard loft potential
ogilvy building ottawa hard loft potential
ogilvy building ottawa hard loft potential
Photos : Toronto Lofts | The Mid-Century Modernist | Google street view

19 comments:

  1. My boyfriend and I talk about how awesome lofts would be in there every time we walk past that building.

    If someone does this, we'll be first in line to buy a unit!

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  2. I would love to see this building turned into lofts. It's a much better idea than just expanding Rideau Centre into the building. I wonder how much need to be done to the building for it to be livable?

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  3. I heard that it was going to be turned into indoor parking for the rideau centre....

    (I agree on the loft front)

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  4. I was always wondering about this building.

    Totally perfect for loft living!

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  5. Lofts would be cool, but I think that would be an excellent location for a flagship H&M store in Ottawa (mind you , it might be a little big)

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  6. Oh my, a parking lot... Nothing against parking lots, there's very useful, but that's a terrible idea for that building.

    I wonder if there's a way to convince the owners of the building to do something useful with in... I would love to get involved in such a project.

    A flagship store for H & M would be neat too. Even if they use say the first 2 floors for the store and the remaining top three for the loft. That could work too!

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  7. You are right about Ogilvy's being a once-beautiful and major department store, it existed in Montreal on Sherbrooke St. too, fab and well-known from the 1930s to the 80s. Yes Viking Rideau is likely practising "progressive de-maintenance", which owners of old buildings do when they want to demolish a heritage building eg it gets so old they can then call the fire marshall, who declares it a hazard and needs to be torn down.
    We could lobby City Hall about this, we had the same issue with the Wallis House, corner of Rideau and Charlotte: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallis_House
    and citizens & Heritage Ottawa lobbied and won and it is now lofts.
    If you want to try let's go for it, you could contact Heritage Ottawa at Info@heritageottawa.org or 613-230-8841
    Just trying to save more of our 'visual history".
    Louisa

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  8. Thanks Louisa. It's neat to see that there is hope for that building. Let's see what can be done :)

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  9. I was always wondering who owned the building and why nothings was moving... Having it being part of the heritage of Rideau street is great! Converting it to condos/lofts would definitely follow the city's plan to density the downtown core.

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  10. Hi,

    I am sorry but I don't think this building should be a loft. It is definitely an amazing building and it is such a shame that it is not used yet. I think that the building should be incorporated into the Rideau Centre. Ottawa does not have a a shopping centre to compare with what Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver have. There are plenty of brand names which could use the space such as H&M, Esprit, Victoria Secret. Also, the Harry Rosen store for women located in downtown Ottawa could be relocated. Add restaurants, extend the movie theatre and make the Rideau Centre the place to shop and enjoy quality time in Ottawa.

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  11. I completely agree with you, this building would be perfect for high-end residential lofts.. Unfortunately the building is unhabitable due to the asbestos in many parts of the building, specifically the original brick (mortar*) construction.. Soo disappointing, but Im sure something positive can be done with the building..

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  12. I've read somewhere that the building itself will be demolished, BUT they're have to retain the facade as its the ONLY part that is Heritage Protected. From what I've been reading, they'll dismantle and keep 5 Bays on Rideau and 7 Bays on Nicholas. The idea is when the new expansion is made they HAVE to remount the facade to the new steel and it'll look like it did in 1907 when it was built. It'll also only retain 3 floors as per the original plans. I think its a nice idea and while their doing that they'll clean each panel and restore it and when put back it'll look awesome. I love this building also, but the core structure inside is over 100+ years old. :-O So this idea is just to have it taken down, cleaned and put back on a new steel structure and hopefully will last another 100+ years. I found a link from a City of Ottawa meeting and they were discussing it. Obviously for Viking the easy thing is to knock it like the rest of Ottawa Heritage, but they can't. So I'm content with that idea. Restore it back to the 1907 look and merge it into the new addition. It'll sit EXACTLY where it is now. Everything will be documented and numbered so its placed properly once again. Now w/ the convention centre done, they can start working on the addition!! Rideau needs a MAJOR update.

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  13. Thanks Mike for the info. That's really neat. It will be interesting to see the final result and who will move into the neighbourhood... I heard H&M is currently looking in Ottawa

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  14. preservation is always important, but frankly when it gets to a fetish - keep the facade but blast in a new building - its not justifiable or useful. why strip away the soul of a building for the sake of placating preservationists?

    keep the building, keep the interior, or do away with it. i think it's a discussion worth having

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  15. Agreed. There are a couple fetish building in the city that have become an eyesore. I wish someone good would turn them into gems instead

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  16. I've admired that building since the first time I saw it on my irate walk to the market, 8 years ago! Thank you for sharing some history on the building. Now... How can I go in and have a shoot?!

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  17. If you find out let me know :)

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  18. Never thought of that before. But I heard they're plannning to chop off the top two floors for the mall expansion. It would be cool if they used the bottom three floors for the mall expansion and kept the top two floors as lofts.

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  19. Only time will tell. There's also an discussion about this on Reddit-Ottawa here

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