New residential project coming to Deschênes
Aiming to contribute to Deschênes’ proposed revitalization while building a new place to call home for themselves, a couple of local residents are inching closer to getting a long-awaited construction project approved by the city. The project was presented to municipal council on January 19. Undertaken by Vincenzo Dinardo and his wife Gail Potts, the untitled project plans to see the construction of three residential buildings combining for 21 units, at 36 rue Deschênes. Among the units, nine will have three bedrooms, six will have two, leaving six one-bedroom apartments.
Divided into four blocks, two of the buildings (block one and three) should feature two storeys and a basement, with eight units each. Block two should have three floors and a basement, with five units including the owner’s new home and a two-car garage. The project also plans to include 26 parking spaces, a universal accessibility ramp, and three charging outlets for electric vehicles. Hoping to make the units attractive for families, Dinardo said he intends to make the units moderately priced. “We don’t want to do high rentals,” Dinardo said. “But we don’t want to do low rentals … we’re thinking maybe $1,000 for a one-bedroom.”
Purchasing the property for a low price in August of 2018, Dinardo and Potts initially planned on refurbishing the place and making it their own. However, due to an extended lack of maintenance, the place was essentially unsalvageable. “It’s a nice little house,” Dinardo said. “But the house is too far gone. It has to be torn down … the cost of tearing it down and rebuilding it new is less than it would cost to repair it.” Plus, with the city prioritizing higher density projects in its newly delimited urban structure – which includes parts of Deschênes – as part of its recently adopted proposed urban plan, the project’s concept needed to be adjusted to accommodate more people, Dinardo said. So, they decided to build an apartment complex and be the landlords. Noting that the neighbourhood has a distinctive community atmosphere and heritage, Dinardo said one of the most important aspects of the project was to adequately blend in with the surrounding area while supporting the city’s vision of a more densified Deschênes.
Expecting Deschênes to become a popular commercial destination in the coming years, Potts is thrilled about the project’s potential benefits for an area that already boasts plenty of enviable qualities. “The whole neighbourhood is really excited,” Potts said. “They’re looking for the progress. They know this is going to be the “it” place. This is going to be the Westboro of Aylmer. It’s almost like it’s a secret. It’s a gorgeous place and by building 21 units, we’re encouraging people to come.” Having planned the project for around two years, Dinardo feels excited knowing that he’s closer than ever to realizing his vision.
Best case scenario, construction should take approximately two years and cost around $3 million, Dinardo said. “For a large company that has the manpower, it’s probably not very long,” Dinardo said. “Like in a few months, this could be built. But, for myself, I’m not a large company … this is new water for us.”
Considering an important need to attract more families to the neighbourhood, Deschênes councillor Mike Duggan believes the project should complement the area quite positively.
Having done construction essentially his entire life, Dinardo said he and his wife intend on building the project independently with the help of local professionals and labourers – noting that the project means a lot to them. “We would like to do as much as we can on our own,” Dinardo said. “But we’re going to have to hire some people. This is our personal pride. We’re living in it. We want to build it. We want to enjoy it and we want it to look nice.”
The project’s architectural work was completed by Aylmer-based architect Sami K. Kerba. According to Gatineau’s land register, the current structure on the property was built in 1972 and the property is worth around $292,000.
The 36 rue Deschênes project’s location currently neighbours a construction site for an upcoming affordable housing project financed by Habitation de l’Outaouais Métropolitain (HOM).