OCA completes successful move to new headquarters as old Bronson Ave. location awaits redevelopment

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The training/meeting entrance at the new OCA headquarters

The Ottawa Construction Association (OCA) has successfully moved to its new headquarters at 9 Antares Dr., concluding a process that started in December 2013 when the association sold its building and related lands at 196 Bronson Ave. to Toronto condo developer Brad Lamb.

Much has changed in the 4.5 years since the original deal went through – but the OCA now has what its staff describe as an inviting, functional and spacious headquarters, designed for the future with extensive training and meeting facilities, replacing the old plans room where estimators previously reviewed paper blueprints on drafting tables.

That traditional function has gone electronic. Now OCA staff manage electronic bidding resources, while expanding a diversity of training and support programs for the association’s membership.

Staff celebrated with some bubbly and cake as they completed the move over the Canada Day weekend. Contractors were completing finishing touches in early July.’

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OCA president and general manager John DeVries celebrates the successful move

The search for a new headquarters location went through ups and downs, including the fall-through of a purchase of a proposed location not too far from the current headquarters near the Hunt Club bridge. Finally, with the purchase confirmed, Ron Eastern Construction Ltd. (RECL) started work in January as construction manager on the $2.7 million renovation project of the former Capital Air Conditioning building. McRobie Architects has designed the renovated structure.

Meanwhile, as the OCA remained in its former Bronson Ave. location, Lamb partnered with Fortress Real Developments until 2016, the Fortress website says. (Fortress, which funded its projects largely through syndicated mortgages, was placed in receivership earlier this year.)  Original plans for an 18-storey condominium building with 214 residential units and 1,613 sq. ft. of ground floor retail were changed to a planned rental apartment structure.

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Contractors complete finishing touches on one of the new training/meeting rooms

Juteau Johnson Coba Inc. reports that 192 Bronson Property Inc. (Ron Lavy) purchased the site (which includes 33 Cambridge Street N. and 192 Bronson Ave. as well as 196 Bronson Ave.) in December 2017 from Bronson Ltd. (Lamb Development Corp.) for $7.65 million (or $292 per sq. ft.).

The OCA sold the land and building in 2013 for $4.6 million, with an original $3 million take-back mortgage, and paid rent to the new owners until it moved. It is unclear who collected the major part of what, based on the reported sale figure, would represent about a $3 million capital gain – or more, based on the original take-back mortgage leverage.

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