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School House Loft Conversions in Ottawa

BY Condo Dork Team/February 19, 2019

What is a hard loft?

An authentic Hard Loft is a rare beast. Lofts in Ottawa are in short supply due to the nature of their origin. In order to fit this category, a former industrial or commercial use space must be converted into a residential living space. Out of this formula, some common elements arise. Old, often exposed brick, visible mechanical elements of the building such as pipes and beams, large windows and vaulted ceilings. The latter is the element from which a loft derives its name. A lofted ceiling that allows a living space to feel much larger than the square footage of the floor plan. Ceiling heights from 11 to16 ft are common.

Of special interest, will be the history of the building. The story that these conversions tell is almost as important as the design in conveying the style of the home. The original use, any subsequent commercial conversions and the date of the original construction, all contribute to setting the buildings apart. All of these factors naturally limit the height of the buildings, but not necessarily the amenities. There are Hard Lofts that also include common areas, fitness rooms and shared rooftop spaces. Of particular interest are buildings that have been reclaimed from the public domain such as schools and churches.

The other criteria that must be filled is location. While this applies to every home and business, the trick with Hard Lofts is there must be underutilized or vacant industrial space near to an urban centre. Simply converting a vacant factory in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t have much appeal. Look for office, commercial and retail conversion as live workspaces to fill the gap in demand.

School House Loft Conversions In Ottawa

Here are a few lofts in Ottawa that have been converted from schools: School House LoftsPowell LoftsEcole Guigues and Les Lofts du Montfort.

School House Lofts: 

School House Lofts is located in the trendy neighbourhood of Hintonburg. This unique building was converted in 2009 from ‘Ecole du Sacre Coeur’ by The Regional Group and Douglas Hardie Architects, making it a hard-loft building style. School House Lofts has many unique features such as exposed brick walls, floor to ceiling windows and 12′ ceilings. The monthly condo fees include the caretaker, building insurance and management. The building has been tastefully updated in recent years to honour the original design. The windows were carefully built to match the originals and the preservation of the clay-tiled canopy at the building’s entrance are examples of the developer commitment to protecting original features. The units feature exposed ducts, exposed natural interior brick walls, in-unit laundry, hardwood flooring, granite countertops, balconies and large terraces. Underground parking and storage lockers are available with most units. In 2011, The Regional Group received the ‘Award of Excellence-Adaptive Use and Infill’ honour- issued by the Ottawa Architectural Conservation Awards.

Powell Lofts: 

Powell Lofts Condo Ottawa is a schoolhouse loft conversion that was completed by highly regarded Charlesfort Developments in 2004. This development previously housed Borden Technical School before its conversion. It is located at 300 Powell Avenue in the Glebe Annex, just off of Bronson Avenue. These units are considered true hard lofts with high ceilings, industrial design, and exposed ductwork. The building offers elevator access as well as storage lockers. All of the units are very open concept and feature ensuite laundry. There are a variety of different floor plans available in this condo building, from spacious studio units to two-storey units – this building has something for everyone! 

Ecole Guigues:

Built in 1905 and completely renovated in 1997, Ecole Guigues Condo Ottawa is truly a unique building. Having originally been built as a school called Ecole Guigues, this building is now modern, with a historic feel. At the original time of construction, Ecole Guigues was one of the largest schools in Ottawa. The land it was built on was previously the home to Francophone Roman Catholic schools since the mid-1800s. Due to the historical events that took place in and around Ecole Guigues Condo Ottawa the building is now seen as a symbol of Francophone language rights in Ontario. Jean Yves Pelletier, a historical consultant with the Provincial Government of the time, was quoted in an “Ottawa Citizen” article (1993) describing the building as, “One of the most powerful symbols in French Ontario today.” In 1980 Ecole Guigues Condo Ottawa was designated a heritage building. When the school was converted into a condominium the architect, Barry Padolsky, went with a very Richardsonian Romanesque style design. Mr. Parolsky was the recipient of the ‘Award of Excellence’ for restorative and reconstruction in 1997. The four storeys 14 unit building offers great views, a warm and cozy atmosphere, and a rooftop terrace. The loft-style units are exquisite with gleaming hardwood floors, high 12 ft ceilings, bright expanded windows, ceramic tile kitchen floors, fireplaces in the living rooms, and crown mouldings.

Les Lofts du Montfort:

Les Lofts du Montfort Condo Ottawa offers a unique opportunity to reside in the old 1912 Montfort school steps from restaurants, shops, minutes to downtown & biking trails. Converted into an intimate 15-unit condo in 1997 by Nicolini Construction, this building still showcases many of the original architectural features providing old world charm with modern day conveniences. Unique aspects of this building are original tin panelled 12’ ceilings, beautiful cove moulding, original refinished hardwood floors & exposed brick interior walls. The units also feature soaring windows and many have 2 balconies. Storage lockers & underground parking are available in this building. There is also convenient bike storage for all residents.
The average sale price of a one bedroom in these School House Loft Conversions in Ottawa is $337,991*.
The average price of a two-bedroom in these School House Loft Conversions in Ottawa is $412,479*.
*Averages based off of a 5-year period.



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