On Tuesday June 27, 2017, the Zehr Group of Companies hosted a Neighbourhood Open House to introduce the Sixo Midtown project to residents in the adjacent neighbourhoods, including us in Mount Hope.
The proposed Sixo Midtown development is a “master planned high density mixed use development comprised of grade-related commercial use, multiple residential dwelling units and office uses”. The development group, consisting of Zehr Group of Companies, Humphreys & Partners and Walter Fedy, has also submitted documentation for their Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications, which are necessary for this project.
This large parcel of land so close to Kitchener’s Innovation District & downtown core presents some real opportunities for intensification and to improve amenities that we could access living within walking distance to this development. The site also contains some challenges – like the fact that there is now a HUGE retaining wall on King Street due to new streetscape and there is not the same street level access to the site. This provides a challenge for street level retail!
This development will not happen overnight. In fact, the project will be built in phases over many years. Waterloo Region Record reporter Catherine Thompson spelled out the development which includes “five buildings clustered around the 1897 Kaufman mansion, including a 14-storey apartment, three condo towers ranging from 26 to 30 storeys, and a mid-rise office/retail building. The development is expected to cost $450 million to $500 million, said Zac Zehr, the company’s manager of development.”
“Billed on the company’s website as “the largest highrise community in Kitchener-Waterloo,” the Sixo Midtown would add 227,000 square feet of office space, 69,000 square feet of commercial space and 990 residential units to a parcel of land on King Street West, between the CN Rail tracks and Wellington Street.” (The Record, May 19, 2017)
The proposed development also shows some interesting open, outdoor gathering spaces such as an amphitheatre. Another example of this kind of ‘private public space’ is the centre court area of the Bauer Lofts. As residential neighbourhoods, with very little gathering space other than parks, this idea received a high degree of interest.
Several residents were concerned about the fate of the Kaufman mansion. Rest assured, the historic portions of the building figure prominently and visibly in the artist renderings. The intention is to surround it with green space and repurpose the building into an appropriate use.
And traffic… lots of questions about traffic. Many more discussion to be had about that issue, I’m sure!
This is a long process and nothing is set in stone. The Official Plan & Zoning By-law applications could take up to one year to work their way through the City of Kitchener Planning Department. There will be more opportunities for input, that’s for sure.