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City hall is starting to feel optimistic again about Somerset House

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen
October 16, 2017

The last time there was optimism about the future of Somerset House was in 2013 when the owner had a new design and council was giddy about the project.

Finally, everyone thought, there would be life again at the historic building in the heart of Centretown.

It’s been a big letdown since then.

The owner, TKS Holdings, uncovered more expensive work that was necessary to retain the old structure at Somerset and Bank streets. Council had little choice but to approve the demolition of some bays along Somerset Street because that part of the wall was badly deteriorated.

Earlier this year, the city signed off on an altered development proposal under the oversight of the latest project architect, Chmiel Architects.

Exterior work has been quiet, so it’s hard for the public to know if there has been any progress on repairing the heritage structure and building a modern addition.

The city, however, sees a reason to be upbeat.

Under the design guidance of Chmiel, this is the closest to getting a building permit the project has ever come. There have been pre-permit meetings between the architect, engineer and the city’s building code team, according to the city.

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