City poised to grant $665,000 to clean up former CTV Ottawa newsroom site

The city of Ottawa is poised to pay a developer nearly $665,000 to clean up the site of the former CTV Ottawa/CJOH building in the west end.

The land at 1500 Merivale Road has sat empty since 2010, when a fire destroyed the newsroom. The cause was never determined.

Claridge Homes, which owns the land, is planning to build 10 residential buildings on the site ranging from nine to 13 storeys high. The proposal will feature nearly 2,000 residential units and more than 1,100 square metres of commercial space.

The site is now contaminated. The city’s brownfield program allows the city to issue grants covering up to 50 per cent of the cost of rehabilitating contaminated lands.

The city’s finance and economic development committee will vote on the grant at its June 28 meeting.

The February 2010 fire ripped through the newsroom and caused more than $2.5 million in damage. The fire marshal’s office said at the time the extent of damage to the building made it difficult to track the origin of the fire.

Claridge bought the land for $12 million in February 2021, according to an industry newsletter.

The property is nearly 60,000 square metres and has frontage on Clyde Avenue, Merivale Road and Baseline Road.

An environmental assessment shows the land is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and the groundwater has volatile organic compounds.

City staff estimate the overall economic impact of the development at $350 million in direct construction value, along with $7 million a year in increase municipal and education taxes by 2034 when the project is finished.

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