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2.3-million Vista

The Ottawa Citizen

2.3-million VistaCity’s priciest penthouse boasts spectacular skyline views

People often talk about a “million-dollar view,” but in this case, it’s literally true. How else do you explain the $2.3-million price tag for a two-bedroom apartment?

Maybe it’s because the most expensive condominium ever offered for resale in Ottawa has two things going for it.

First, it’s party central — ideal for entertaining, with more than 1,000 square feet of open space in the combined great room/kitchen.

Second, it has incomparable views of many of the capital’s most famous, historic and picturesque landmarks. Its expansive windows — facing south, east and west — offer closeups of the Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel, the Rideau Canal, the National War Memorial and the heritage buildings facing Confederation Square. From its terrace, there are panoramic views of the Gatineau Hills.

The two-storey penthouse, totalling almost 3,400 square feet, is the largest apartment at 700 Sussex Dr., one of Ottawa’s most prestigious addresses. Look up from Rideau Street, and it’s the top-floor unit beside the Château Laurier, and the setback unit above that.

Completed three years ago, it’s for sale after its former occupants, Shawn Malhotra and Louise Westin, who wed last year, moved to a house in Rockcliffe Park. Mr. Malhotra is the younger son of Bill Malhotra, owner of Claridge Homes, which built 700 Sussex.

A buyer with deep pockets who is prepared to pay the $2.3-million asking price — or close to it — will probably figure about half is for the apartment and half for the views and location.

And what views. Wander through the apartment, and everywhere you look out a window you see familiar– and, frequently, beautiful — sights. The ornate mouldings on the walls and turrets of the stately Château Laurier across MacKenzie Avenue to the west appear almost close enough to touch.

One of six penthouses in the building, the Malhotra unit has a large, private rooftop terrace on its second floor that wraps along its south and west sides. Look west, and you see Major’s Hill Park, the National Gallery of Canada, the silhouette of Samuel de Champlain’s statue overlooking the Ottawa River, the handsome, old Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau, and the Quebec skyline.

From the south, you look down on the heart of Ottawa — an urban panorama that includes the Rideau Centre, Ottawa City Hall, the National Arts Centre, the Government Conference Centre and Confederation Square. Just about the only downtown landmark not visible are the Parliament Buildings, which are hidden behind the Château Laurier.

Windows on the east side of the great room look out over a rooftop garden two storeys below, which is shared by owners of apartments in the building.

“You just feel like you own the world when you are up here,” says Royal LePage’s Marilyn Wilson, the listing agent for the Malhotra penthouse.

“This is the most expensive condo ever to come on the market in Ottawa. It’s just spectacular. You feel like you are in New York City.”

The large open space of the great room is separated from the kitchen by a curvy island of glass and wood with granite countertops and a sink. Here, guests can sit on bar stools and sip cocktails while watching what’s going on in the kitchen.

“The kitchen and kitchen island are the focal points of the apartment,” says Ms. Wilson. “This is how people want to live, not cooped up in the kitchen. Lots of condos are going in this direction. It’s a take-off on loft living.”

She sees a trend toward making large, upscale apartments as free of walls as possible. “Many, many people don’t want a formal, separate dining room. This apartment is designed like penthouses in New York.”

Despite its openness, though, Ms. Wilson says, “The wonderful thing about this apartment is that it has many private spaces.” These include a main-floor guest bedroom and a family room, which could also serve as a third bedroom. There are also a powder room and, near the guest room, a full bathroom with a glass vessel sink.

From the great room, an open cherrywood staircase flanked by a glass panel and brushed metal handrail climbs to a den (which could double as a sunroom) on the second floor. This space leads to the master bedroom suite, which includes a ceramic-tiled ensuite with a glassed-in shower and a spacious walk-in closet with skylights to let in natural light.

Here is also where you’ll find the entrances to the terrace, one from the den and one from the master bedroom.

Richly finished with wood — mahogany, maple and wide-board cherrywood floors — the one thing the penthouse lacks is plenty of closet space. But, says Ms. Wilson, people moving to a luxury apartment often dispose of many of their belongings first.

“People are drawn here by the lifestyle. They want a great entertaining space. And they want to be able to walk out the door and be steps from everything the city has to offer.”

© The Ottawa Citizen