BY GORDON MACNAIR, SR/WA, AACI, P.APP
Carefully balancing a City’s social, cultural, environmental and financial objectives
Maximizing the value of a city’s real estate assets can be a challenge for any
municipality. However, through strategic real estate initiatives, the City
of Ottawa has emerged as a leader in this area, demonstrating success in
improving the value of its publicly owned real estate.
As the fourth largest city in Canada, the City of Ottawa has a strong economy,
a unique cultural mix and a high quality of life. Serving as the corporate entity of
municipal government in Ottawa, the City is responsible for providing services to
the public. To ensure that programs and services address the changing needs of
our neighborhoods and residents, REPDO follows a strategic plan that outlines the
important city-building priorities, including infrastructure, transit and other economic
The City’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan and Term of Council Priorities was created as a
roadmap for delivering solutions that meet the needs of urban, suburban and rural
communities across Ottawa, while investing in key areas like light rail transit, road
safety and community redevelopment.
Overseeing the strategies for all City-owned real estate is the Real Estate Partnerships
and Development Office (REPDO), a department within the municipal government that
acts as a one-stop shop for all real estate matters. The mandate of REPDO is to provide
A STRATEGIC APPROACH
innovative property solutions and real
estate leadership to the City. By using
best practices and strategic approaches,
REPDO has created significant financial
and non-financial value.
Property acquisition, disposition
and leasing are core business activities.
Using a policy approved by the City
Council, REPDO acquires property for
infrastructure projects based on relevant
legislation and municipal best practices
to ensure a consistent and equitable
framework. As a guiding principal, the
acquisition team encourages early and
consistent public consultation to inform
property owners of pending projects and
potential property impacts.
As with other cities around the
world, REPDO works hard to negotiate
agreements with the property owners.
However, initiating expropriation
to Municipal Real Estate