Introducing CCOC’s 159 Forward Avenue

Written by Ellen McGowan

August 23, 2022

Construction on Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation’s (CCOC) 159 Forward Avenue project began in October 2021, and the project is showing strong progress.

159 Forward Avenue under construction. July 2022.

159 Forward Avenue under construction. July 2022.

Project Summary

159 Forward Avenue is a new construction project being developed by CCOC with development support from Cahdco. The four-storey, wood framed building was designed by Figurr Architects and built by McDonald Brothers Construction (MBC) and will feature 49 new affordable housing units. The building will include a mix of unit sizes, ranging from studios to 3-bedroom units. The units will be provided at three different rent levels: Average Market Rent (AMR), Below Market Rent (BMR), and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). 159 Forward Avenue will be built to Passive House standards to maximize the building’s energy efficiency and sustainability. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

Background

159 Forward Avenue was a City-owned parcel of land in the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville neighbourhood of Ottawa. Until the fall of 2018, the property was the location of an Emergency Family Shelter. In June 2019, the property was declared surplus and made available for affordable housing purposes. The City of Ottawa issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek partners to develop, own, and operate an affordable housing building on the property. The RFP included the land as well as capital funding to facilitate development.

In December 2019, CCOC won the RFP to develop a new building at 159 Forward. Later in 2020, CCOC had the opportunity to purchase the neighbouring property, 147 Forward, to the north. This allowed CCOC to build a larger building than originally anticipated, for 49 units in total.

Project Details

The project consists of a four-storey, wood framed apartment building with 49 units of affordable rental housing. 159 Forward Avenue will be mixed in terms of incomes, with market, below-market, and deeply subsidized rents. Approximately 47% of the units will be at below-market rent rates and an additional 14% will be reserved for tenants who receive additional daily living support (ODSP).

It was important to CCOC and the City to include family housing on the site that was formerly the Family Shelter. Accordingly, the new building will include 14 three-bedroom units and 8 two-bedroom units. With a mix of unit sizes and affordability, 159 Forward Avenue will accommodate the needs of a diverse population, including families, single-parent households, newcomers and refugees, among others.

159 Forward Avenue will include two full-sized elevators for accessibility purposes. All of the units will meet universal accessibility requirements and 12% of units will meet CAN/CSA standards for accessibility.

A total of seven parking spaces will be provided on-site: three will be for residents and four will be for visitors. Twenty-seven bicycle parking spaces will be provided in the rear yard.

Finally, a rear yard amenity space will include urban agriculture, including individual garden plots and raised accessible planting beds, and a shared herb garden.

Rendering of 159 Forward Avenue completed by Figurr Architects Collective.

Sustainability

Sustainability and energy efficiency are fundamental values for CCOC.

159 Forward Avenue will be built to Passive House standards, which is a recognized and highly effective sustainability standard for new buildings. This design choice will assist the building in reducing energy usage and will ultimately lead to decreased energy costs for the tenants and for CCOC.

In addition, solar photovoltaic (PV) generation will be incorporated on the roof, adding significant environmental and cost savings to the project.

By maximizing the building’s energy efficiency and sustainability, it is expected that tenant living conditions will be improved. The Passive House design will maintain interior conditions despite changes in weather, and the PV panels will assist tenants with their utility costs.

The project team conducting a walk-through of the building. This is the elevator shaft.

Funding & Financing

159 Forward Avenue was made possible through several funding and financing partners and programs, including:

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • National Housing Co-Investment Fund
  • Seed Funding
  • City of Ottawa
    • Action Ottawa Capital Grant
    • Ontario Priority Housing Initiative (OPHI)
    • Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH)
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
    • Green Municipal Fund, Sustainable Affordable Housing Planning Grant

The total project cost is $23.8 million.

Project Team

The project team includes:

If you have any questions, please reach out to Ellen.McGowan@ccochousing.org.

Ellen McGowan

Development Project Coordinator

August 23, 2022