What is Historic Ottawa Development Inc. (HODI)?
Historic Ottawa Development Inc. offers professional advice, advocacy support and partnership opportunities to inspire and celebrate the revitalization of Ottawa’s built heritage. Our board of directors has expertise in architecture, restoration and historical research to assist with the rehabilitation of historic properties and with public education projects.
Historic Ottawa Development Inc. (HODI) was incorporated under Ontario law in January 1979. It was one of 31 such enterprises launched across Ontario, in response to a Provincial government program to support non-profit “revolving funds”, a scenario where non-profits were intended to acquire heritage properties, fix them, resell them at a profit, and grow their activities accordingly.
However there were intrinsic weaknesses in its intended scenario and the promised support of funding was delayed. HODI however managed to survive.
By 1986, HODI had negotiated $130,000 in provincial and municipal support. At the time, typical interest rates were running at 14% and more. HODI made a modest low-interest loan to assist restoration work at the then-called Chelsea Club located at 235 Metcalfe St., to the Panet House at 189 Laurier Ave East, and to one of Ottawa’s oldest houses, located at 150 Richmond Rd. After completion of the latter two projects, HODI was impressed with the entrepreneurs involved in these projects and invited them to join its Board of Directors.
HODI is perhaps best known for a project it worked on diligently but in the end, did not manage. In the 1990s, the City of Ottawa council obtained daunting estimates to repair the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park and voted to demolish it (1991). HODI, in consultation with real estate experts and with moral support from Provincial cabinet ministers, assembled a counterproposal where it would take over the building and repair it at a fraction of the City’s projected cost (thanks to HODI’s expert architect). The City was able to implement HODI’s ideas and the building was restored.
In 1996, HODI created a series of ‘renovation demonstration’ workshops with the Renovators’ Council (now the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association). The project was a great success and led to HODI and the Association holding a series of public seminars for homeowners on hiring contractors and restoring their heritage houses, which was also a success.
HODI volunteers care about Ottawa’s built heritage and use their professional expertise in architecture, heritage restoration, the law, communications and financial planning to help preserve these buildings for future generations.