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With Toronto-based developer Master- craft Starwood at the helm, Ottawa will soon welcome its first luxury-living boutique condominium with hotel-type ser­vices: The SoHo Parkway.

It’s the first of three SoHos planned for Ottawa. The other two developments – SoHo Lisgar and SoHo Champagne – are still in the design phases while SoHo Parkway is on time for its November 2011 completion. The 15-story building with four levels of underground parking was designed by Roderick Lahey Archi­tect Inc., a recipient of the Architectural Conservation Awards Certificate of Mer­it. The firm focuses on urban architecture, and for SoHo Parkway it de­signed a single tower fashioned from glass, aluminum, brick and granite. Levels one and two, at 16,000 square feet each, will host the ground floor and second floor amenities while floors three through 15 are divided into 104 units total.

With all but one of the 13 floor plans completely sold out, the developer has declared SoHo “the new standard.” Its well-received design helps to confirm Money Sense’s ranking of Ottawa as Canada’s No. 1 place to live for 2010.

Standard-Setting Style

To help set that standard, Mastercraft, , contracted celebrity interior designer Brian Gluckenstein to fit out the space. Inter­ior features include 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, spa bathrooms, silestone countertops, glass ceramic tile backsplashes, European integrated and concealed AEG appliances and wide living spaces. “Gluckenstein designed each luxury condominium floor plan at SoHo Parkway to accommodate fine furnishings to suit every taste and temperament,” Mastercraft says. “Living areas are designed for entertaining – up to 21 feet wide, not the typical 10-foot wide living room found in other condominium developments.”

To bring the design into concrete form, Mastercraft hired Ontario-based contractor Bassi Construction Ltd. Steve Demauro, Bassi senior project man­ager, says the exterior envelope will be completed by July 15, while the team simultaneously makes headway on rough-in work such as electrical and plumbing.

Bassi has been involved since SoHo Parkway’s design stages, which Demauro says made for a hassle-free project on two fronts. “We looked at all the designs and spoke with the designers during preconstruction,” Demauro says. “We were able to iron out any potential mistakes before the construction stage. The effort in preconstruction came from both sides, and that’s why this project is running so smoothly.”

Demauro says contractor involvement during preconstruction also helps developers with unit pricing. “When the owners are looking to sell units at a certain cost, it helps to get the contractor in­volved as early as possible in the design stages,” he explains. “We can estimate the dollar amount to build a certain type of project once we know all the specifications. This way, the developer can market the project knowing their price point exactly, which means no surprises.” The SoHo Parkway has a $20 million construction budget and units range from $219,000 to just under $1.3 million.

Bassi will be offering its residential preconstruction and contracting expertise to the other two SoHo projects in Ottawa, as well. SoHo Lisgar will begin construction in July, according to Master­craft. It will boast many of the same features and amenities as Parkway but also promote an appreciation for fine art with its steel sculpture made by Canadian artist Ravek and work by international award-winning photographer Nigel Dick­son featured in the SoHo Lisgar Prime Minister’s Club. The SoHo Champagne, set in Ottawa’s little Italy, will launch a preview opening June 4.

Demauro says Bassi’s residential division is working strictly for Mastercraft at the moment, but has a few other projects lined up for future work – a good sign for residential construction in Ontario. “Work has been increasing steadily,” Demauro says. “It was pretty steady before these new developments, but three months ago we did start to see an increase.”

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