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General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Printable Version

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RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 04-24-2016

The Record has article about the properties and former properties of K-W's most notorious landlord.  Three apartment buildings have been sold and are or will be renovated, but he apparently still owns a number of old houses in various states of disrepair in central Waterloo.  As noted in the article, the apartment building at 112 Margaret Ave has been sold and is now being renovated.  I took a pic of the building today - I don't know that I had really noticed it and its neighbours before, but the two neighbouring buildings, which are similar in style but have nicer details, look to be in immaculate condition.  From the look of them, I would guess that they date from the 1920s or early 1930s.   http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6511642-problem-landlord-owns-string-of-homes-in-waterloo-region/

[Image: 2061mw3.jpg]


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - kitborn - 04-25-2016

I have always liked these 3 building on Margaret Ave. They are attractive and in a good location.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 04-25-2016

(04-24-2016, 10:16 PM)mpd618 Wrote:
(04-24-2016, 05:02 PM)Lens Wrote: There's no reason a new building with a good streetfront couldn't be built on the lot.

No reason except, I suspect, for zoning. Where are they gonna place all the setbacks and the required parking?

Currently zoned pure commercial.  I suspect the city would be amenable to changing that -- and allowing variances for setbacks etc.  Parking would pretty much need to be unerground, though, and given the lot is only about 20m wide, it would be challenging to make an effective underground parking garage, I think.

Zero parking is the right choice here.  I don't know whether anyone would have the courage to do that today in downtown Kitchener, though.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Markster - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 10:08 AM)tomh009 Wrote: Zero parking is the right choice here.  I don't know whether anyone would have the courage to do that today in downtown Kitchener, though.

It's not about the courage to build zero parking; it's about the courage to fight city hall and the planning staff, and run the risk that your development will be unviable when they refuse to budge.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 10:08 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(04-24-2016, 10:16 PM)mpd618 Wrote: No reason except, I suspect, for zoning. Where are they gonna place all the setbacks and the required parking?

Currently zoned pure commercial.  I suspect the city would be amenable to changing that -- and allowing variances for setbacks etc.  Parking would pretty much need to be unerground, though, and given the lot is only about 20m wide, it would be challenging to make an effective underground parking garage, I think.

Zero parking is the right choice here.  I don't know whether anyone would have the courage to do that today in downtown Kitchener, though.

Given the slope of the site, I don't think it would be difficult to make the basement floor a parking area, open to Hall's Lane.  Not a "parking solution", but better than nothing, I should think.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 10:24 AM)Markster Wrote:
(04-25-2016, 10:08 AM)tomh009 Wrote: Zero parking is the right choice here.  I don't know whether anyone would have the courage to do that today in downtown Kitchener, though.

It's not about the courage to build zero parking; it's about the courage to fight city hall and the planning staff, and run the risk that your development will be unviable when they refuse to budge.

Also the courage of the city to accept a zero-parking option.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 10:50 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(04-25-2016, 10:24 AM)Markster Wrote: It's not about the courage to build zero parking; it's about the courage to fight city hall and the planning staff, and run the risk that your development will be unviable when they refuse to budge.

Also the courage of the city to accept a zero-parking option.

Would parking actually be required if this site were developed?  As I recall, Ackers, like most of the old King Street builidngs, would have had a loading dock and possibly a space or two of parking at the back.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Markster - 04-25-2016

Okay, it's thought exercise time!

[attachment=1123]

That plot is zoned Commercial D-1
FSR 2.0
area: ~700m2
Max GFA: ~1400m2

No parking is required for "Commercial Entertainment, Financial Establishment (ground floor only),   Museum, Personal Services, Restaurant, Retail"; other uses at regular rates

Bonusing given for residential use at a rate of 4:1. (1m2 of res allows an extra 4m2 of other uses, above the Max FSR)

Given that parking for the residential use is not forgiven, we can now calculate the maximum building you can build here without seeking amendments.

The plot of land is 55ft wide, and 128ft long. A parking stall is 8.5ft wide and 19ft long.  You could fit a single row perpendicular of parking down the length of the property (at the basement level, accessed from Hall's Lane), giving you about 15 spaces.  That's 15 residential units allowed.  

Parking layout:
[attachment=1122]

At ~600ft2 per unit, (55m2) that means 825m2 of total residential, and so 3300m2 of extra floor area allowed above the FSR, pushing the FSR to 6.7, and a total GFA of 4700m2.

The residential has a loss factor of about 40% (for hallways, common areas, etc) so that's ~1150 for the residential part of the development, leaving 3550 for commercial.

Trivially, that means a 7 storey rectangle of a building, where the first 5 floors are commercial, and the top two are residential.
However, King St requires setbacks above 3 storeys (basically along the line that the TD--er... Igloo building follows) so that means 3 storeys of full size, and tapering up to about 9, where the first 5 are commercial, and the top 4 are residential.

Kinda like this, give or take:  (Each colour band represents 1 floor, for the purposes of FSR calculation)
[attachment=1121]

So that's basically the biggest you can build on the site, without asking for variances.  Which, all told, is not too shabby a building.  

Though, your elevator shaft (and residential access) will have to be at the rear of the building due to the setbacks.  That's a bit awkward.
And now you have to find commercial tenants to fill 5 storeys without any parking to offer.
And you have to sell/rent these new construction, high cost condos/apartments, (lots of elevator per unit, thanks to the terracing) in a market that doesn't yet seem ready for $1,000,000 condos.
And you have to acquire the land, which I'm sure the current owner is going to sit on until they are convinced by a sufficiently large pile of dollars.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 12:15 PM)Markster Wrote: Okay, it's thought exercise time!



That plot is zoned Commercial D-1
FSR 2.0
area: ~700m2
Max GFA: ~1400m2

No parking is required for "Commercial Entertainment, Financial Establishment (ground floor only),   Museum, Personal Services, Restaurant, Retail"; other uses at regular rates

Bonusing given for residential use at a rate of 4:1. (1m2 of res allows an extra 4m2 of other uses, above the Max FSR)

Given that parking for the residential use is not forgiven, we can now calculate the maximum building you can build here without seeking amendments.

The plot of land is 55ft wide, and 128ft long. A parking stall is 8.5ft wide and 19ft long.  You could fit a single row perpendicular of parking down the length of the property (at the basement level, accessed from Hall's Lane), giving you about 15 spaces.  That's 15 residential units allowed.  

Parking layout:


At ~600ft2 per unit, (55m2) that means 825m2 of total residential, and so 3300m2 of extra floor area allowed above the FSR, pushing the FSR to 6.7, and a total GFA of 4700m2.

The residential has a loss factor of about 40% (for hallways, common areas, etc) so that's ~1150 for the residential part of the development, leaving 3550 for commercial.

Trivially, that means a 7 storey rectangle of a building, where the first 5 floors are commercial, and the top two are residential.
However, King St requires setbacks above 3 storeys (basically along the line that the TD--er... Igloo building follows) so that means 3 storeys of full size, and tapering up to about 9, where the first 5 are commercial, and the top 4 are residential.

Kinda like this, give or take:  (Each colour band represents 1 floor, for the purposes of FSR calculation)


So that's basically the biggest you can build on the site, without asking for variances.  Which, all told, is not too shabby a building.  

Though, your elevator shaft (and residential access) will have to be at the rear of the building due to the setbacks.  That's a bit awkward.
And now you have to find commercial tenants to fill 5 storeys without any parking to offer.
And you have to sell/rent these new construction, high cost condos/apartments, (lots of elevator per unit, thanks to the terracing) in a market that doesn't yet seem ready for $1,000,000 condos.
And you have to acquire the land, which I'm sure the current owner is going to sit on until they are convinced by a sufficiently large pile of dollars.

A short description of a significant part of the life of Downtown Kitchener!


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Markster - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 12:29 PM)panamaniac Wrote:
(04-25-2016, 12:15 PM)Markster Wrote: And you have to acquire the land, which I'm sure the current owner is going to sit on until they are convinced by a sufficiently large pile of dollars.

A short description of a significant part of the life of Downtown Kitchener!

Of course, the owner is doing the logical thing. Every year, that plot is getting more and more valuable, because it has relatively unrestricted zoning, and that's quite special.
The only way to combat this is for the city to regularly rezone plots of land to have fewer restrictions, giving developers an amount of choice in development parcels, and keeping land prices tame.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - jordan2423 - 04-25-2016

(04-25-2016, 12:45 PM)Markster Wrote:
(04-25-2016, 12:29 PM)panamaniac Wrote: A short description of a significant part of the life of Downtown Kitchener!

Of course, the owner is doing the logical thing.  Every year, that plot is getting more and more valuable, because it has relatively unrestricted zoning, and that's quite special.
The only way to combat this is for the city to regularly rezone plots of land to have fewer restrictions, giving developers an amount of choice in development parcels, and keeping land prices tame.

How much do you think the owner is looking to sell the land for?


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - Lens - 04-26-2016

Not sure if it was mentioned specifically but Manulife is putting some massive windows in on the third floor, Water st side of the building.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - clasher - 04-27-2016

(04-26-2016, 11:57 PM)Lens Wrote: Not sure if it was mentioned specifically but Manulife is putting some massive windows in on the third floor, Water st side of the building.

It's starting to look really nice, certainly a lot better than the massive monotonous brick wall that was there.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - panamaniac - 04-27-2016

(04-27-2016, 10:12 AM)clasher Wrote:
(04-26-2016, 11:57 PM)Lens Wrote: Not sure if it was mentioned specifically but Manulife is putting some massive windows in on the third floor, Water st side of the building.

It's starting to look really nice, certainly a lot better than the massive monotonous brick wall that was there.

I'm wondering if that work will be limited to the third floor, or whether they'll move down to the second once it's complete?  It could give the exterior a somewhat industrial look that would fit in with the rest of the area.


RE: General Urban Kitchener Updates and Rumours - tomh009 - 04-27-2016

(04-27-2016, 10:12 AM)clasher Wrote:
(04-26-2016, 11:57 PM)Lens Wrote: Not sure if it was mentioned specifically but Manulife is putting some massive windows in on the third floor, Water st side of the building.

It's starting to look really nice, certainly a lot better than the massive monotonous brick wall that was there.

Also, I'm happy to see the work as it implies that Manulife is committed to staying downtown.