By Terry Foster, Spoke News
A new mixed-purpose condo development has been approved by Waterloo city council and is set to break ground in 2020 at the corner of King Street and Bridgeport Street, with a second building located on Regina Street in Uptown Waterloo.
The two-tower project will be the largest buildings in the uptown core and is expected to house up to 367 residents, as well as feature a five-storey cultural centre for science aimed at children. The $100-million project is expected to bring not just residents but visitors to the uptown core. Retailers and restaurant owners in the area have been optimistic that the new development will bring new life after the hit they took during the uptown Ion rail system construction.
With their sister city Kitchener just down the road, Waterloo has been working towards finding ways to stand out and bring new interest to visiting the city. Council expects this development to bring $1.4 million in additional tax revenue and retail sales.
The main condo building will be located at the old Waterloo post office at 70 King St. N., that has been sitting empty for years. This unit will dominate the uptown skyline with 24 storeys above historic King Street. Council recently voted in favour of the new development, 6-1, despite it being well over the 11-storey maximum height set by council for King Street.
Not everyone is excited about the project, according to a press release by Hip Developments. It quotes Marg Rowell, of the North Waterloo branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, as saying, “The massing of this structure will overwhelm the existing height of the buildings in the core.”
“Waterloo Region is known for innovation,” said Scott Higgins, president of Hip Developments. “It takes creativity to be innovative. Whether you are an artist, an engineer or a chef, it’s your creativity that makes you successful. We want to build a place that fosters creativity and sparks curiosity. We want to create a space where our children can imagine the next big thing. We want to take the creative culture we have here in our region and take it to the next level.”