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General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Printable Version

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RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 02-17-2015

I hope that the eventual redevelopment of that site will see the art deco tower of the old Onward Mnfg plant saved - it's the only interesting feature of that blighted area. The whole King/Charles/Borden/Ottawa area and the neighbouring blocks have wonderful redevelopment potential, imho, with both LRT and the Ottawa St cross-town bus coming. It would be great to see it become an area of mixed-use residential.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - plam - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 01:30 AM)Lens Wrote: It looks like Coupal Markou has assembled a large section of land in King East, near Ottawa. This site has a lot of potential, especially being right next to an LRT stop.

http://www.coupalmarkou.com/features/Kitchener/KingStEast_1015-1051sale.pdf

Right next to the climbing gym Grand River Rocks. There's this phenomenon where a bunch of Toronto climbing gyms have gotten squeezed out by condo development, because they tend to show up in initially former-industrial areas where there is a lot of gentrification potential. I have talked to the GRR owners about the potential for this to happen to them, but I fear it still will.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Viewfromthe42 - 02-17-2015

Fantasy proposal: with all the parking and space that could be redeveloped there, I would be a fan of seeing a structure built over top of that space. Considering how much of the Borden frontage there has a small but adaptable depth to it, between parking and adjustable elements of the GRR interior, a buried internal option would be great from my personal GRR member perspective, if something has to change there. In Toronto, I'm a big fan of the multi-use space of Oasis. While it's next to streetcar lines and not the subway, I think it's been a great space to accommodate so many activities that the neighbourhood dwellers need. Given the overall spacing of GRR from single detached, I see room for some accommodations to be made in any future redevelopment, density, height, massing, and such.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - plam - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 11:56 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: Fantasy proposal: with all the parking and space that could be redeveloped there, I would be a fan of seeing a structure built over top of that space. Considering how much of the Borden frontage there has a small but adaptable depth to it, between parking and adjustable elements of the GRR interior, a buried internal option would be great from my personal GRR member perspective, if something has to change there.

Yes, so let's see. The building could go all the way to Borden and potentially Charles, eating up a row of parking spaces in front of the building to get to Borden. Borden would be easier to get right onto the street than Charles, which seems farther. There would need to be some excavation, I think, to get a uniform floor depth. One could keep parking in back. And what climber wouldn't want to live on top of the climbing gym?

(02-17-2015, 11:56 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: In Toronto, I'm a big fan of the multi-use space of Oasis. While it's next to streetcar lines and not the subway, I think it's been a great space to accommodate so many activities that the neighbourhood dwellers need. Given the overall spacing of GRR from single detached, I see room for some accommodations to be made in any future redevelopment, density, height, massing, and such.

I've never been to the new Rock Oasis. I did go once or twice to their old location on Bathurst and Front: http://skritch.blogspot.ca/2012/06/bathurst-rock-oasis-look-back.html. Rock Oasis and Toronto Climbing Academy both got exiled by condo developments. What I wrote in an email to GRR was "one day, some developer will go to your landlord with an offer for a ludicrous amount of money; I hope you have a plan/reserves for that day."


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 11:39 AM)plam Wrote: Right next to the climbing gym Grand River Rocks. There's this phenomenon where a bunch of Toronto climbing gyms have gotten squeezed out by condo development, because they tend to show up in initially former-industrial areas where there is a lot of gentrification potential. I have talked to the GRR owners about the potential for this to happen to them, but I fear it still will.

I have nothing against climbing gyms, but if you are renting space, there is always a chance that the landlord won't renew your lease -- or that the lease rates go up at renewal (enough to spur you to move out).  But unlike, say, the loss of a heritage building, I don't view this as a disaster, it's just a dynamic of the ongoing improvements downtown.  There will still be plenty of industrial space elsewhere in the city where people can build climbing gyms.

Of course, if GRR were to buy the building, they would be in control and they will essentially eliminate the risk of having to move.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Viewfromthe42 - 02-17-2015

A good conversation with the owners should involve them talking to their landlord about that possibility, and how you could have, on one side, an entire membership which wants the combined road/transit/cycling access of that site now railing against the development at council, or on the other side, that same membership supportive of redevelopment which keeps the things that residents want to have nearby. If people didn't care about living next to things while in condos, places like The Grand would be the rule, rather than the slow-to-sell exception, and the development of ward 6 and 7 would be switched to wards 1-5 (from Waterloo's perspective anyway).


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 12:36 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: A good conversation with the owners should involve them talking to their landlord about that possibility, and how you could have, on one side, an entire membership which wants the combined road/transit/cycling access of that site now railing against the development at council (...)

I suspect the developer who buys the parcel we are discussing is unlikely to be the same as the owner of the GRR building.  Which also means that the developer will have little control over what happens in the GRR building, regardless of any mass demonstrations at council meetings.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - plam - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 12:47 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(02-17-2015, 12:36 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: A good conversation with the owners should involve them talking to their landlord about that possibility, and how you could have, on one side, an entire membership which wants the combined road/transit/cycling access of that site now railing against the development at council (...)

I suspect the developer who buys the parcel we are discussing is unlikely to be the same as the owner of the GRR building.  Which also means that the developer will have little control over what happens in the GRR building, regardless of any mass demonstrations at council meetings.

I think we're talking at cross purposes here. The GRR property is not currently for sale; it is the property that is diagonally across Charles and Borden that is currently for sale. I'm just thinking that in the future, there is going to be a developer that is going to see the GRR property and is going to make an offer. While the GRR owners think they have a good relationship with the landlord, it's hard to argue with a multi-million-dollar offer.

I'd think that in the ideal case, the GRR owners would buy out the property.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 02-17-2015

(02-17-2015, 01:33 PM)plam Wrote: I'd think that in the ideal case, the GRR owners would buy out the property.

That was my original point, yes.  If you want to make sure no one sells your building, you need to make sure that you own it yourself.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - mpd618 - 02-18-2015

There is a lot of developable space along the LRT line, and a lot of parking lots. I suspect we're not going to get those kind of pressures at King/Ottawa for quite a while.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Viewfromthe42 - 02-18-2015

I wouldn't be absolutely sure about that. We've seen what other locations can get you: the 6 storeys of Red on King were much too tall and intrusive according to many council delegations when it was being approved, and they won't be the last group of people who bought two storey homes next to the busiest street in a region of over half a million who think that such a street should not have anything more than two storeys of their choosing on it.

But at Ottawa, you have a station where a redevelopment map is wide open, land prices are lower, and neighbour issues like this far less likely to occur. There is some attractiveness to that, from a developer standpoint.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 02-18-2015

Six storey (give or take) mixed use buildings would be ideal for that area.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - MidTowner - 02-18-2015

(02-18-2015, 08:11 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: I wouldn't be absolutely sure about that. We've seen what other locations can get you: the 6 storeys of Red on King were much too tall and intrusive according to many council delegations when it was being approved, and they won't be the last group of people who bought two storey homes next to the busiest street in a region of over half a million who think that such a street should not have anything more than two storeys of their choosing on it.

But at Ottawa, you have a station where a redevelopment map is wide open, land prices are lower, and neighbour issues like this far less likely to occur. There is some attractiveness to that, from a developer standpoint.

That's a really interesting point. I would assume that redevelopment around the Allen and Hospital stations would happen a lot sooner than at Ottawa. But you're right that there is a lot more possibility for obstruction by property owners- as we have seen- in the former locations. I wonder how much that would effect developers' thinking.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 02-18-2015

If you can build within the existing zoning and bylaws (no exceptions for parking, setbacks etc) the probability of getting blocked becomes very small. But that means securing somewhat more land, or building somewhat less on the land you have. As soon as you ask for exceptions, you open yourself to NIMBY lobbying.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Markster - 02-18-2015

And in the usual case, building within the constraints of the existing zoning means building something that is largely no different from what is currently there. When greenfield is zoned, it is zoned to precisely what is intended to be built. When a parcel is rezoned, it is usually immediately built to the specifications of the new zoning.

It is exceedingly rare for development to proceed due to up-zoning that wasn't a part of a developer's request. But, it's actually happening now, as you can see in Northdale and on King St.