Five years ago the Minto Beechwood Condominiums would have been seen as outrageous to the local community of Ottawa’s New Edinburgh. The intersection of Beechwood Avenue and MacKay Street was dotted with low-rise apartments and many small businesses like Hamie’s Diner, Lester’s Your Neighbourhood Barber Shop, Time Sharpening and The New Edinburgh Art Gallery. However, a five-alarm fire sparked inside the bordering Home Hardware left 12 locals homeless and caused extensive damage, mostly beyond repair, to the block.
Now, half a decade later, the fire’s destruction is well in the past. Minto Communities has successfully turned a devastating story into the forward-thinking Minto Beechwood Condominiums. The 129-unit development at 411 MacKay Street is nearing completion and ready to open its doors to eager condo owners in the last half of 2016. The building stands 8 1/2 storeys high, the perfect height to ensure that the view of Parliament Hill is still visible from the Beechwood cemetery, an important aspect of one of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods.
Yet, despite Minto Beechwood Condominiums’ favourable outcome, the community-oriented population was not always welcome to the idea of a mid-rise development. In 2013 the original proposal was a huge topic of conversation for The New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA). They were quite opposed to the plan, stating that is was perhaps too large and tall to fit in in the village-like neighbourhood.
Soon after, Toronto’s TACT Architecture reached out to the local community to win their approval. After much collaboration, they tastefully designed Minto Beechwood Condominiums to not only blend in but brighten up New Edinburgh’s overall appearance and atmosphere. The neighbourhood’s local landscape was attentively taken into account when choosing warm and earthy tones as well as the masonry work, such as the buff stone, for the exterior.
The clean and contemporary mid-rise is seen as a much-anticipated revitalization for the area. New Edinburgh had experienced a slow decline in pedestrian traffic and local business since Mountain Equipment Co-op relocated to Westboro in 2000. For many years the neighbourhood has silently pined for an exciting restoration and Minto Beechwood has high hopes to do just that. The mixed-use development has an inviting 17,000 square feet of commercial space, welcoming retailers to open shop in the condo’s ground floor along the bustling Beechwood Avenue.
To further Minto Beechwood Condominiums’ practical-meets-modern niche, II BY IV DESIGN has fashioned a stunning interior look. Each individual unit is equipped with hardwood floors, caesarstone countertops, stainless steel appliances, porcelain tiles in the bathrooms as well as a private terrace or balcony. Recognized for its environmental outlook, Minto Beechwood has been decorated with low VOC white latex paint, acoustic cork underlay beneath the hardwood floors and energy-efficient appliances.
Nevertheless, Minto Beechwood Condominiums’ main draw is the kitchen. Through focus group research, Minto Communities found that condo buyers tend to find unit kitchens and appliances smaller than the typical single-family house. So while small units come with gallery-style kitchens, most condos in this development have been designed with L shaped kitchens including a standard island and stainless-steel range hood. With a more welcoming and open feel, Minto Beechwood has marketed its units toward down-sizers, first-time home buyers and investors.
Units are sized between 560 and 1,602 square feet with pricing from $250,000 to upward of $1 million. Underground parking and individual storage lockers are also available at an extra cost. Minto Beechwood Condominiums is of course equipped with the usual communal amenities designed with extra taste and comfort. These include a fully furnished lobby, gym, lounge, dining room and the rooftop terrace.