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SIXO Midtown | 28 + 20? + 12? + ? fl | Proposed
TL;DR ... sorry! My point is that it's not 200m of solid concrete wall. 25m of concrete, 25m of green, 25m of open driveway/street, 25m of green, 25m of concrete. Not ideal, as I said earlier, but all told it's less than two minutes of walking with four changes of "scenery" between green/concrete/driveway.

Anyway, let's see if they do improve it.
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(04-09-2016, 06:08 PM)dubya Wrote: Saying its only 50 m on either side sacrifices 100 meters of urban public realm and we should in no way be compromising our street facing urban realm. I won't give reason as to why as there are reams of content out there to do it for me... a sampling of recent articles found on the matter scanning my twitter feed for 3 or so minutes:

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2016/03/six-s...reetfight/
http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2016/04...=SFTwitter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZijyXVlW...pp=desktop
http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/12/pu...=SFTwitter
http://www.archdaily.com/580467/inclusiv...um=twitter
http://thewalrus.ca/tv-cities-for-people-not-just-cars/

Cheers for the material. I had read and watched some of those articles, but not all. I agree with you in principle here. We should insist on a positive walking environment along this important stretch- it's not wrong to say that not all of the ~150 meters are retaining wall, but all is inactive- landscaping, retaining wall- or hostile (driveways). Add to that the underpass, which will likely be very well-executed but nevertheless fairly uninteresting, and we're dealing with a long stretch which is uninviting to people on foot.

I like the idea above of the vehicle access being off Wellington. I wonder why that wouldn't be considered.
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(04-10-2016, 08:06 PM)MidTowner Wrote: Cheers for the material. I had read and watched some of those articles, but not all. I agree with you in principle here. We should insist on a positive walking environment along this important stretch- it's not wrong to say that not all of the ~150 meters are retaining wall, but all is inactive- landscaping, retaining wall- or hostile (driveways). Add to that the underpass, which will likely be very well-executed but nevertheless fairly uninteresting, and we're dealing with a long stretch which is uninviting to people on foot.

I've said many times that I hope the retaining wall is improved.  And yet ... for most people walking, they are actually trying to get from A to B, just on foot (I am, at least, unless I'm just out for exercise).  An uninteresting 100m or 200m won't deter those people (we have those issues now), as long as the environment is not threatening or otherwise strongly unpleasant.  And with some landscaping (hopefully better than just a hedge) I think the stretch in front of King's Crossing can be at least neutral (and I do like GtwoK's suggestion of widening the sidewalk into a boulevard with some additional landscaping).

But let's see what the developer's actual proposal will be.
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Does anyone know the status of this project in the approvals process? I know these new images were just released a few weeks ago, but for what purpose?

The Humphreys and Partners Architects web site is showing 90,000 sf of retail, 78,500 sf of office and 544,000 sf of residential space. This is great density for this location, but I do think that the project turns its back on King street which is a massive mistake. This area will see more and more pedestrian traffic as the downtown area intensifies with the new transit node and a project of this size will stand for many years. Imagine if a massive retail/office project turned a giant wall to a major transit/pedestrian artery in Toronto... oh wait, yea the Eaton's Centre... we all know how that destroyed the world-class music and entertainment scene on Yonge from the 60s and 70s. Only recently is Yonge starting to re-invent itself 30-40 years later. Why can't we bring retail space down to grade and restrict vehicular access to the one point shown off Wellington and maintain only one driveway at King? The city's planners should really step in and fight for the pedestrian realm if they're serious about making the KW downtown a truly urban place.


Attached Files Image(s)
   
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Is the best approach for that location (only that location) to bring the retail element to King St, or to bring the pedestrian experience in from, but parallel to, King St to avoid the unpleasantness of the retaining wall and railway overpass? At the moment, I don't think the project does either. If this project marks the far end of an expanded Downtown, is it really a problem if it draws pedestrian traffic in off the street? Again something I'd say only about that specific location, but I do wonder.
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That coloured image does a good job of showing the site almost as a pair of hands clasping at the interactive areas, shielding them from the neighbouring areas, turning their backs on everything outside. Reminds me of a more intense version of the Bauer buildings in that respect, terrible experiences from all sides, until you're inside the cloister.
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(04-29-2016, 10:24 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Is the best approach for that location (only that location) to bring the retail element to King St, or to bring the pedestrian experience in from, but parallel to, King St to avoid the unpleasantness of the retaining wall and railway overpass?  At the moment, I don't think the project does either.  If this project marks the far end of an expanded Downtown, is it really a problem if it draws pedestrian traffic in off the street?  Again something I'd say only about that specific location, but I do wonder.

panamaniac, I am a firm believer in always keeping the pedestrian experience at the street. There are very few projects that manage to successfully bring pedestrians onto private property. And those projects usually do so because they are not fortunate enough to be located along a pedestrian-busy thoroughfare - I guess more of a park car and enter experience - shopping mall-like. Furthermore, I don't think we can continue to think of this location as the far end of an expanded downtown. The location of the transit node indicates that Kitchener and Waterloo are both interested in expanded densification efforts along King - which would actually make this location smack in the middle of the new downtown.
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(04-29-2016, 10:34 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: That coloured image does a good job of showing the site almost as a pair of hands clasping at the interactive areas, shielding them from the neighbouring areas, turning their backs on everything outside. Reminds me of a more intense version of the Bauer buildings in that respect, terrible experiences from all sides, until you're inside the cloister.

There is actually King street-facing retail on two levels in both of the two "hands", as you can see on the render on the previous page.  And the retail space is curved, and fronted with some small green space, so I think much more attractive than the Bauer building's fairly inert street presence.

The two retaining walls (which will hopefully be improved) aside, I really don't feel that this would be a terrible experience for a pedestrian.  But it appears that I am in the minority in that regard.
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(04-29-2016, 10:50 AM)battman Wrote: The location of the transit node indicates that Kitchener and Waterloo are both interested in expanded densification efforts along King - which would actually make this location smack in the middle of the new downtown.

Exactly, before the old city hall was demolished Downtown used to be King and Frederick. Then it moved to King and Queen. It crawled Northwards to King and Ottawa with the opening of the new city Hall and the Charles St. bus station. Once the transit node opens Downtown will be defined by King and Water.
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(04-29-2016, 12:01 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(04-29-2016, 10:50 AM)battman Wrote: The location of the transit node indicates that Kitchener and Waterloo are both interested in expanded densification efforts along King - which would actually make this location smack in the middle of the new downtown.

Exactly, before the old city hall was demolished Downtown used to be King and Frederick. Then it moved to King and Queen. It crawled Northwards to King and Ottawa with the opening of the new city Hall and the Charles St. bus station. Once the transit node opens Downtown will be defined by King and Water.

Do you mean "King and Ontario" - Ottawa is significantly in the wrong direction.

And your Northwards is actually technically West.  Love how that works in Kitchener.  haha
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(04-29-2016, 12:15 PM)REnerd Wrote:
(04-29-2016, 12:01 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: Exactly, before the old city hall was demolished Downtown used to be King and Frederick. Then it moved to King and Queen. It crawled Northwards to King and Ottawa with the opening of the new city Hall and the Charles St. bus station. Once the transit node opens Downtown will be defined by King and Water.

Do you mean "King and Ontario" - Ottawa is significantly in the wrong direction.

And your Northwards is actually technically West.  Love how that works in Kitchener.  haha

Yes to both. I keep forgetting that North in Kitchener is West and I meant Ontario instead of Ottawa.
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(04-29-2016, 12:01 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: Exactly, before the old city hall was demolished Downtown used to be King and Frederick. Then it moved to King and Queen. It crawled Northwards to King and Ottawa with the opening of the new city Hall and the Charles St. bus station. Once the transit node opens Downtown will be defined by King and Water.

Very well said. I was just thinking about Kitchener's "centre of gravity" visiting a business near King and Queen the other day. The numbers start at Queen, but that doesn't mean that's still downtown's crossroads. King and Water probably will be it if not King and Francis or Victoria- the amount of traffic moving between the transit hub and Communitech and the businesses on Victoria might make that happen.

All that to say, an extremely positive experience for people on foot walking north/west along King past this site is extremely important. A few years after this is developed, it will not really seem like the bleeding edge of downtown at all.
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The day King and Queen is not the heart of Downtown would be a sad day for Kitchener, at least from an historical perspective. That's why I'm glad to see the Vidyard project and continue to hope for something suitable on the King St gap between King and Frederick. Not to mention a fabulous refurbishment of Market Square! Wink
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Not sure why that schematic siteplan drawing even bothered with including context, since it's clear that the architects don't give a rip about the context to inform the design.
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(04-29-2016, 10:10 AM)battman Wrote: Does anyone know the status of this project in the approvals process? I know these new images were just released a few weeks ago, but for what purpose?

 The city's planners should really step in and fight for the pedestrian realm if they're serious about making the KW downtown a truly urban place.

This report would seem to suggest that the city sees at least the Breithaupt Street streetscape is of high importance to the city; hopefully that spills over to King as well:
http://www.kitchener.ca/en/Calendar/Down...4a7c4d29aa
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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