Two rental towers planned for Schwaben Club property between King and Weber streets in Kitchener
By Liz Monteiro – Record Reporter
KITCHENER — The former Schwaben Club property on King Street East could soon be the site of two apartment towers.
A development proposal by local developer Vive Development would erect two 23-storey rental towers with 616 units, most of them one-bedroom, and about a third of the units would be two-bedroom.
At a recent public neighbourhood meeting, Stephen Litt with Vive Development said his company is focused on the “mid market” and what he calls the missing middle.
Litt said the housing spectrum ranges from subsidized housing to luxury condos and his company offers housing in the middle of that range.
“We need a whopping 9,300 mid market affordable housing units in Kitchener to get to a healthy vacancy rate. That is a significant number,” he said.
Litt said Waterloo Region needs all kinds of housing but the “deepest rental need still remains smaller one bedroom accommodation.”
The high-intensity development proposes two buildings — tower A facing toward King Street East and tower B toward Weber Street East, on a parcel of land near Conestoga Parkway.
The Schwaben Club, located on the property for decades, moved to Breslau earlier this year.
The property is a “great location for intensification” and “a gateway to the King Street corridor,” Pierre Chauvin, a planner with MHBC Planning hired by the developer, said at the neighbourhood meeting.
Parking will include 371 spaces in a three-level parking structure with one level underground. The project will also have 124 bicycle spaces.
Commercial space is set for the base of the buildings.
Senior city planner Craig Dumart said the developer is requesting Official Plan and zoning amendments to increase the floor space ratio from four to 7.2, changes to rear setback requirements and reducing parking spaces.
Floor space ratio is a measurement of the building’s total floor area in relation to the size of the lot.
There is no maximum building height under the current zoning, Dumart said.
Dumart said the city has heard from residents who are concerned with the building height and the density of the project.
Dumart said some residents have said “23 storeys is too tall” and that the height could cast shadows and decrease privacy for nearby homes.
Some residents have also said that the development “does not fit in the neighbourhood,” he said.
Other concerns centred on insufficient parking, people using side streets to park and increased traffic congestion for neighbourhood streets.
The developer is conducting various studies including shadow, noise, wind and water distribution.
The proposal is expected to come before a council committee early next year for approval.