A 30-storey apartment building on King Street East is rental housing ‘targeted at middle market,’ says Kitchener developer
Proposed development will be located on nine properties along King and Charles streets, including the former Onward Manufacturing company
By Liz Monteiro Record Reporter
KITCHENER — A 30-storey apartment building set for King Street East and Charles Street East is rental housing desperately needed for Kitchener, said the developer behind the project.
“This is good quality housing targeted at the middle market,” Stephen Litt of Vive Development told a neighbourhood meeting organized by the city Wednesday night.
Litt said Waterloo Region did a “really good job” of building low rise residential such as three and four-bedroom homes. Now, it needs one and two-bedroom units.
The meeting was held so residents in the area could hear from the developer and ask questions about the proposed development at 1001 King St. E. between Ottawa Street and Borden Avenue.
Litt said his project addresses a real need for attainable housing and the 491 residential units are affordable under the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation guidelines.
Litt said he is also committed to offering more affordable housing units in the tower rather than making cash donations for affordable housing units elsewhere as some recent developers have proposed.
Having the units on site is “much more impactful than writing a cheque” to another group, he said.
The proposed development will be located on a stretch of nine properties which includes the former Onward Manufacturing building.
The project will commemorate the city’s industrial heritage with a “memory tower to pay homage to the original Art Deco tower” of Onward Manufacturing, said Pierre Chauvin of MHBC Planning, a planner representing the developer.
A map of the city will be visible from the facade of the tower podium.
Onward Manufacturing opened in 1916, starting with hardware and home appliances. It became well known for manufacturing the Eureka vacuum and later barbecues such as Broil King and Stirling. The plant closed in 1980.
The proposed development will include 461 square metres of commercial space along King Street East in the podium, five live/work units planned along Charles Street and 288 parking spaces.
A parking structure with have one level below ground and three levels above ground, along with surface parking. Rooftop amenities such as a pool will be located on the roof of the podium.
The developer is requesting an Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments to include dwellings on the ground floor, lowering the parking requirement and increasing the floor space ratio from four to slightly over eight.
Some neighbours shared concerns about the height of the building near residential homes close to Onward Avenue.
There was also concerns with shadow impacts, increased traffic and a general push to higher density projects. Close to the project is a condo tower development with a 26-storey highrise and two six-storey buildings planned for 20 Ottawa St.
Some residents said they are worried about fire, police, schools and parks unable to keep up with the current levels of intensification.
Both the city planner and a planner with MHBC said the area is prime for intensification because of its proximity to the LRT.
On green space, architect Laird Robertson who is working with Vive Development said it’s not appropriate to have “1,000 postage stamp” play areas on every proposed development.
Instead, the city needs to consider dedicated space for a central park while balancing the needs for housing and intensification, he said.