It’s official: Centretown will be getting a new grocery store.
Julielee Stitt, Centretown News
A Sobeys grocery store is planned for the ground floor of a condominium complex now being built at 177 Metcalfe Street between Lisgar and Nepean.
Sobeys Ontario is slated to open its store at 187 Metcalfe Street and could be ready by early 2013, according to Neil Malhotra, vice-president of Claridge Homes.
The store will be located on the ground floor of the controversial Tribeca condominiums developed by Claridge, one of the city’s largest housing developers.
Malhotra said Sobeys will complete its construction before Claridge Homes completes the construction of the Tribeca condos.
Initially, organizations such as the Centretown Citizens’ Community association and some businesses protested against the addition of the new, luxury condominiums to the neighbourhood because of its towering skyscraper and the removal of essential parking spaces.
The ground floor space was a part of hot debate last year as it was the proposed site of the National Portrait Gallery.
Many critics said the city council only approved of the buildings in 2009 with the initial goal of building of the gallery.
After the bid failed, there were several proposals about opening a daycare and a grocery store on the ground and basement floor of the condominium.
Despite the protests about the building, some residents were pleased to hear about the new grocery store.
Samira Khan, a University of Ottawa student, says she is happy to have the new store in the neighbourhood.
“It definitely would make it easier to do my grocery shopping now,” says Khan.
She says she usually does her shopping at Loblaws on Rideau Street because the smaller, local grocery stores don’t always have the variety of products she’s looking for.
There are no major grocery stores in the vicinity apart from Boushey’s Fruit Market, a small grocer on Elgin Street, north of Gladstone, and Hartmans’s, a large store near Bank and Somerset.
Goldstein’s, a grocery store that had served many shoppers downtown, closed several years ago.
While most support the idea of a grocery store, many argue over where it should be located.
Charles Akben-Marchand, president of Centretown Citizens’ Community Association, says it is a “difficult location” for a grocery store.
He says the grocery store would be better located on a commercial street like Bank Street rather than Metcalfe, which is mainly residential.
Others see the benefits in having a store.
Johanna Ngoh, a real estate broker who specializes in the Ottawa condo market, ssays the demand for a grocery store will likely increase the market value of the condo and the neighbourhood.
“I would roughly estimate an increase of around five to 10 per cent,” Ngoh said.
Ngoh says having a vital service such as the the grocery store in Centretown will encourage more residents to move to downtown, which is supported by the city as they move to implement their residential intensification policy.
Putting the store on a residential street, according to Ngoh, is not the best idea but it isn’t so bad either.
She says the complaints from the locals came down to fear of change.
“The problem is people don’t know how it’s going to change the community,” she says.
Ngoh says she believed once residents adjust to the change, they will accept the grocery store.
Malhotra from Claridge Homes, agrees.
He says the residents in the neighbourhood and in the condos will be happy with the new addition once it’s completed.
The Tribeca condominiums are expected to be completed by 2013.
They will consist of two 27-storey condo towers, one seven-storey building, and a six level parking garage.