Major renovations were undertaken at the CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa by Cadillac Fairview as part of a significant upgrade and expansion to the downtown retail mall. The total project, which also included a separate expansion by others, had a value of $360 million dollars with AAR carrying out the structural engineering changes related to the base building renovation.
Work was phased to minimize the disruption to the operation of the mall and its many customers. Initial planning and preliminary design was carried out in early 2013 along with the beginning of demolition after the vacancy of a major tenant. Heavy structural work was carried out starting in late 2013 with the construction of a new three-car elevator through the 5-storey south section of the building, the removal of a smaller single-car elevator shaft, and the re-framing of the central floor area to reconfigure the escalators. This work was completed in February 2014 and turned over to the new tenant, Nordstrom, who then undertook a beautiful fit-up space (this store opened in March 2015).
At the same time as work was being undertaken for Nordstrom on the upper floors, the main level below was in the midst of being converted into the Dining Hall with the capacity for sixteen restaurants. The creation of such a large dining space involved numerous changes for storage, delivery, dish washing, as well as plumbing, electrical, and most importantly for the structure, a drastic increase in ventilation. Ductwork for all the new restaurants needed to rise three storeys through 70 m2 of new floor openings to the roof where 14 mechanical units recovered the available heat, exhausted the spent air, and supplied new clean air. In addition to a further 9 similar mechanical units for the Nordstrom space, new framing and strengthening allowed 110,000 kg (242,000 lbs) of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment to be added to the roof. After all the services for the space were sorted out the finishing work could begin to open a stunning Dining Hall in August 2014.
As the structural work related to the Nordstrom space and Dining Hall were being completed a number of other improvements were carried out in the remainder of the mall to improve the flow of customers, the amount of leasable area, and the aesthetics of the common areas. These included the partial infills of floor openings at Nordstrom Court, Rideau Court and Centre Court, removal of two elevator shafts and construction of a new shaft through four floors, the installation of new escalators, and the replacement of the old steel picket guardrails with new glass guardrails. The overall result after the corridors were finished in white marble was a brighter, more open, and less crowded experience.