InterRent REIT to convert Albert Street office building to apartments- Linebox Studio to design

An office tower on the western edge of downtown Ottawa will soon be gutted and undergo a facelift to prepare the building’s units for residential tenants.

InterRent REIT, which acquired the vacant 50-year-old Trebla Building at 473 Albert St. in a $21.8-million deal last year, has filed plans with the city to convert the 11-storey building into a mixed-use apartment complex. The conversion would see 153 units added to the city’s downtown housing supply and 3,864 square feet of commercial space added to the ground floor.

The redevelopment would also see changes to the building’s facade, providing a bit more variety to the uniform grid design.

With the proposed conversion, 473 Albert St. joins a growing list of Ottawa office buildings finding new lives as rental properties. Builders are spending millions of dollars to convert drab offices into apartment units – the University of Ottawa’s new Théo residence is one example – amid a boom in rental demand. Experts told OBJ last year that landlords stuck with class-C office buildings in Ottawa are finding more bang for their buck investing in a new apartment than spending the money to bring it up to a higher class.

“Right now, there seems to be a greater demand for affordable housing versus B-minus, C-plus office space. So if you provide a good, clean, safe (residential) product, then it tends to be full. The same can’t be said for all of the office space,” District Realty CEO Jason Shinder told OBJ.