Egan: Newest British invasion of Ottawa — on Sussex, PM’s doorstep

Article content material continued

Look, in spite of everything, on the shambles we’ve manufactured from 24 Sussex, the official residence of the prime minister: unoccupied for years, with out a lot of a plan going ahead.

The Excessive Fee studies it’ll promote 80 Elgin, which it purpose-built in 1962-63. It’s, for one factor, approach too massive, at 62,000 sq. ft, giant sufficient to accommodate some 220 staff in 1964, whereas the brand new constructing will solely have about 60.

March 1963: workers cover the concrete after it has been poured to protect it. For story by Egan on the departure of the British High Commission from 80 Elgin in Ottawa. Credit the British High Commission.
A file picture from 1963 displaying staff protecting the concrete after it was poured to guard it on the location of the British Excessive Fee constructing at 80 Elgin St. Photograph by British Excessive Fee

The placement is prime and the view from the higher flooring is magnificent. It sits throughout from the Nationwide Arts Centre and is perched on the sting of Confederation Sq. and the Nationwide Warfare Memorial. The perfect allies, so is it true on diplomatic row, get one of the best digs.

Architect and heritage advocate Barry Padolsky is sufficiently old to recollect the period when the constructing went up. He mentioned the Nationwide Capital Fee insisted it’s set again to create a sort of “metropolis wall” on the higher finish of Elgin, with a top that matched essential neighbours just like the Chambers constructing, Langevin Block and the Lord Elgin Lodge.

It was all a part of the grasp Gréber plan to create a mini-Champs Élysées, or grand alley that gave approach to the memorial sq. and the parliamentary precinct.

However now what? As Padolsky factors out, the federal authorities — a logical purchaser — is probably going not in an office-expansion mode and its report in changing high-profile buildings — the outdated U.S. Embassy on Wellington — is patchy.

(It might need made a pleasant location for the brand new essential department of the Ottawa library, however, alas, that ship has sailed.)

Padolsky guesses personal developer may need to intensify use of the location by constructing on a bottom parking zone. Boutique resort? Excessive-end rental? Who is aware of?

“I feel it’s an important property and I’m positive that whoever buys it should need to exploit its location, location, location.”

The wait might not be lengthy. The Excessive Fee hopes to maneuver into its new workplaces in 2022.

To contact Kelly Egan, please name 613-291-6265 or e-mail

For 0111 high commission...

The British High Commission is proposing to build a new office building at 140 Sussex Dr., beside the high commissioner's residence at Earnscliffe. The architect is HOK Architects. Sources: British High Commission, development application
An illustration of the British Excessive Fee’s proposed workplace constructing at 140 Sussex Dr. Photograph by British Excessive Fee, develop