British Square residential project progressing positively
Aiming for a public unveiling in February of 2022, British Hotel and Café owner Mike Clemann feels extremely excited about his upcoming development, British Square, and its potential impact on the neighbourhood. Currently in the early stages of construction, British Square will be an 84-unit residential complex with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and two levels of underground parking on rue Principale in the heart of Old Aylmer.
After spending some three years consulting various architects and project planners before breaking ground, Clemann believes the five-storey British Square is truly meant for the community — and will become something of a community in itself. “We have 51 one-bedroom apartments, 27 two-bedrooms, and six bachelor apartments. We’re going to have some 140 people living here,” Clemann said. “We’ll have passageways connecting all the British buildings, underground public parking, and a redesigned public courtyard. We’re really taking a comprehensive approach with British Square.” With all parts of the brick-clad complex connected, residents can move throughout while remaining indoors — and they’ll always be in close proximity to all the great things Old Aylmer has to offer. “British Square is the opposite of a suburban big box apartment building,” Clemann said. “We’re adding to the existing local culture, while given residents the ability to run downstairs for an ice coffee or a craft beer. We’re building something that fits right in and we think enhances life in the old town.”
The complex will include a 20-foot-high atrium featuring the work of local artists leading to the British Café. The residential building will also feature a variety of amenities including a workout room, yoga studio, and multi-purpose leisure room. As for the commercial spaces at ground level, Clemann envisions them including a bank and perhaps a pharmacy to help provide essential services for residents.
For apartment seekers, British Square offers beautifully designed and modern apartments in a heritage location at competitive rental rates. “We’re being very mindful about keeping the quality up and the rent slightly lower than the bigger comparable projects underway outside of the Old Aylmer core,” Clemann noted. In terms of design, the priorities were to complement Old Aylmer’s heritage with a modernized structure. Clemann noted that the project’s architectural work was done by Gatineau’s Lapalme Rheault architechtes et associés while Gatineau-based Beaudoin Canada is doing the construction work.
More details about British Square will be available on the project’s website – britishsquare.ca – where those interested in renting an apartment can add their names to a priority list. “We already have 50 people on the list and we have 84 units,” Clemann said. “So folks should get on the list to come to our sales centre and have the opportunity to claim a unit.”
Clemann’s initial plan for British Square called for six stories and some 110 units, but the city’s zoning regulations necessitated a five-storey building that includes a smaller four-storey section. Clemann said that after renovating the British Hotel and re-opening in 2015, his property tax rates sky-rocketed almost immediately. He hopes that British Square will be profitable enough to make up for those types of expenditures.
As for the project timeline, “Thanks to Beaudoin, we’re on target,” Clemann said, noting how progress was initially delayed by three months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel with this project,” said Clemann. “We’re going to have a beautiful structure here that is going to offer this town a great new place to live that honours our heritage and lifestyle. It’s going to be pretty special.”