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70 King St N | 16 & 22 fl | Proposed
#51
I don't know how many of the apartments above the shops on King in uptown are still cheap to rent, but I remember being in a few and they were definitely the "missing middle" or lower even. Today I don't know if that is still true but ITSM that the middle (and lower) income spectrum is already missing from uptown... I mean the nickname "yuptown" isn't exactly a new name for the area. I think this building is okay for the exact spot... the office building at Erb & Albert hasn't ruined the human scale of uptown or whatever sense of history there is up there. I think the curvy curtain wall is better than more dark grey slabs at street level. At least it's something a bit different than rest of the hum-drum 3 storey brick buildings along the street.
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#52
(03-10-2018, 01:28 AM)nms Wrote: Since its inception, the City’s Uptown Vision Committee has repeatedly reported on a public consensus that the value of the Uptown is expressed in “its small-town feel.” 

Let's be clear, we can have a small town feel by having multiple developed cores. We're just barely bigger than London, ON, and yet even in Kitchener (the most urbanized core), you don't feel like you're in London. So, spreading development along the transit spine makes sense to accomplish the letter author's aims.

Also, "small-town feel" does not require us to design our core in the mould of St. Jacob's. To think that the second-largest core of a region of nearly 600,000 should look indistinguishable from the core of a township of 25,000 is 

Quote:Developments such as this could readily become exclusive enclaves of the “better-off”, illustrating concerns elsewhere in many cities about “the missing middle” in accommodation. “...a growing number of politicians, planners and urbanists say we need to build if we’re going to encourage gentle densities and make … prized neighbourhoods vital and accessible to young families,” Tess Kalinowski, real estate reporter, Toronto Star, September 23, 2017. 

Let's be very clear here: the author is going to be someone in an UpTown neighbourhood association. Those neighbourhoods are the enclaves of the well-off. The people living in the42, BPR, Bauer, any of these developments, the majority are not able to afford anything comparable to what the author lives in; to not have built these developments would have meant not having these individuals in UpTown. The few upper-tier options in these developments (like the seven-figure penthouse in the42), were they not built, would mean that the financial heft of that individual/family would have been used to push up the price on something in one of the neighbourhoods around, as the sole other alternative, pricing a current resident out. So no, author, you are wrong, it is your stance that makes UpTown an enclave for the better-off.

Bringing up the missing middle is even more insulting here. The "missing middle" is "middling" in both density AND location. To suggest that townhomes belong here (or as one Kitchener councilor suggested, that townhomes were the correct development scale for King St. at Victoria) is ignoring "missing middle" entirely. There is almost no such development in our region explicitly because of, again, you, author. "Missing middle" is the development that happens in your neighbourhood, away from the nodes and corridors in Waterloo's densification plans. It certainly isn't the scale of 70 King North, likely not even of the42; perhaps it is the townhomes at Park and Allen, were they not at Park and Allen, or BPR Lofts were they not at Bridgeport and Regina. You can do a quick guideline for missing middle in the core; if the road has never been a trucking route, has never been a bus route, and doesn't have bike lanes, traffic lights, or school bus routes on it, that is the kind of road, location-wise, where "missing middle" belongs.

Quote:What is left of Kitchener’s downtown  [read Waterloo’s Uptown] heritage architecture could be entirely lost. Waterloo city planners are currently discussing heritage cultural landscapes in Waterloo. The Uptown BIA and the adjacent historic residential neighbourhoods are prime candidates for urgent, necessary attention as a cultural heritage landscape.

Heritage is a history many of us share, and is in danger of being lost. The more that current residents use "heritage" as a BANANA defence, then fewer of us actually get to experience "heritage", and it no longer serves that purpose of being preserved for the public to remember (I can't recall heritage which I have been shielded from getting to know). Similarly, when everything is heritage (one third of downtown Kitchener already, with heritage committee eager to boost that percentage ever-higher), when everything remains untouched and unchanged (which UpTown's neighbourhoods definitely qualify for), then no longer are you preserving heritage, you are freezing the "now" at the expense of the future and the other-than-yourself.

Quote:Citizens in the Uptown have have given close attention to, and participated in the consultative process respecting the Waterloo’s on-going city-wide land-use zoning review. At its inception, councilors applauded this important exercise. The proposal respecting 70 King Street North is contrary to recommendations proposed for the area in the Second Draft of the city planner’s report to Council.

Let's be clear: guidelines, like zoning, are instructions on how you can have a lickety-split process. They are not hard and fast rules that can not be bent. We should be wise in what we ask for when negotiating. If the author is concerned with heritage (of which this site has none) and avoiding making UpTown an enclave of the wealthy, they would be smart to advocate for a higher amount of multi-bedroom units, to keep the costs of such accommodations in UpTown lower, and to leave the density as it is, for the same reason. If they start suggesting that the density be blown apart, or that structures there become faux-heritage to honour nothing that stood there with any meaning before, then we know very clearly that the author is not honest about their intents.

Quote:The “public realm” and Waterloo’s Uptown. A recent City-sponsored full-day event was held at CIGI to examine the future of the city’s Uptown Public Realm (co-sponsors Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Stantec). 70 King Street North is encompassed within the Uptown Waterloo map presented for purposes of the Uptown Public Realm discussion. Included in the discussion at the public meeting by Ken Greenberg and Harold Madi, both urban planning and urban design, was the importance of “celebrating heritage” respecting the Uptown “heritage resources” were deemed “vital to the public realm.”

In no way does one structure devastate UpTown. If heritage meant anything to its advocates, they would seek to increase its prominence, its activity, the unique place unique heritage assets occupy in our world. Instead, "heritage" still means little more than "don't do anything near here", with no efforts made to quantify what can and what should not be changed. When everything is heritage, as neighbourhood designations grant, nothing is heritage or meaningful anymore. The grand efforts of those at the Public Realm charettes were that the neighbourhood associations proposed zero public assets, development, or opening up of heritage neighbourhoods to anyone who didn't live there. All their focus was on suggesting the creek as a heritage assets, naming it quite appropriately after themselves: the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).
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#53
I agree with most of that, but quick question: is the desire to keep Uptown resembling St. Jacobs' core a straw man, or has someone actually expressed that desire? I've read a few comments that referenced that, and I certainly disagree with it, but I'm wondering if anyone specifically argued for it?

If so, the ship has sailed, obviously: Uptown is already more developed than St. Jacobs' core (as appropriate).
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#54
(03-12-2018, 09:30 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I agree with most of that, but quick question: is the desire to keep Uptown resembling St. Jacobs' core a straw man, or has someone actually expressed that desire? I've read a few comments that referenced that, and I certainly disagree with it, but I'm wondering if anyone specifically argued for it?

If so, the ship has sailed, obviously: Uptown is already more developed than St. Jacobs' core (as appropriate).

I would suggest that the floor and height limits on King Street and how far back they reach from King Street, towards Regina/Caroline, are effectively pushing for a St.Jacob's-esque core, coupled with the neighbourhood associations wanting zero change within their neighbourhoods. Have we reached a decade of waiting for the Alexandra School development to happen?
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#55
(03-12-2018, 09:36 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote:
(03-12-2018, 09:30 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I agree with most of that, but quick question: is the desire to keep Uptown resembling St. Jacobs' core a straw man, or has someone actually expressed that desire? I've read a few comments that referenced that, and I certainly disagree with it, but I'm wondering if anyone specifically argued for it?

If so, the ship has sailed, obviously: Uptown is already more developed than St. Jacobs' core (as appropriate).

I would suggest that the floor and height limits on King Street and how far back they reach from King Street, towards Regina/Caroline, are effectively pushing for a St.Jacob's-esque core, coupled with the neighbourhood associations wanting zero change within their neighbourhoods. Have we reached a decade of waiting for the Alexandra School development to happen?

Is that related to the neighbourhood associations?
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#56
(03-12-2018, 09:36 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: Have we reached a decade of waiting for the Alexandra School development to happen?

Assuming this is the future development between the school and Red House, it surely will not be happening until the Barrel Yards development wraps up. Auburn has three projects under way in the region at the moment (Barrel Yards, Arrow 2 and Schneider's) and I don't expect this one to get done until that list gets shorter.
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#57
(03-12-2018, 09:06 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: Let's be very clear here: the author is going to be someone in an UpTown neighbourhood association. Those neighbourhoods are the enclaves of the well-off. The people living in the42, BPR, Bauer, any of these developments, the majority are not able to afford anything comparable to what the author lives in; to not have built these developments would have meant not having these individuals in UpTown. The few upper-tier options in these developments (like the seven-figure penthouse in the42), were they not built, would mean that the financial heft of that individual/family would have been used to push up the price on something in one of the neighbourhoods around, as the sole other alternative, pricing a current resident out. So no, author, you are wrong, it is your stance that makes UpTown an enclave for the better-off.

Bringing up the missing middle is even more insulting here. The "missing middle" is "middling" in both density AND location. To suggest that townhomes belong here (or as one Kitchener councilor suggested, that townhomes were the correct development scale for King St. at Victoria) is ignoring "missing middle" entirely. There is almost no such development in our region explicitly because of, again, you, author. "Missing middle" is the development that happens in your neighbourhood, away from the nodes and corridors in Waterloo's densification plans. It certainly isn't the scale of 70 King North, likely not even of the42; perhaps it is the townhomes at Park and Allen, were they not at Park and Allen, or BPR Lofts were they not at Bridgeport and Regina. You can do a quick guideline for missing middle in the core; if the road has never been a trucking route, has never been a bus route, and doesn't have bike lanes, traffic lights, or school bus routes on it, that is the kind of road, location-wise, where "missing middle" belongs.

Good post! I especially like that you pointed out that the absence of those large developments would mean the absence of their occupants from Uptown. I am reminded of an article I saw in the newspaper a few weeks back talking about high rents, and somebody said that “we can’t build our way out of this problem”. I just about choked on my cereal to see something so stupid. My immediate was reaction was that, no, on the contrary, the only way out of the problem is building more housing. That’s not quite right, of course: we could also make the city a less pleasant place to live, which could eventually make demand for housing fall.

People also complain that new housing tends to be more expensive than older housing. But in reality, it would be weird if that weren’t the case. How often are new cars cheaper than comparable old cars?
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#58
(03-12-2018, 10:19 AM)panamaniac Wrote:
(03-12-2018, 09:36 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: I would suggest that the floor and height limits on King Street and how far back they reach from King Street, towards Regina/Caroline, are effectively pushing for a St.Jacob's-esque core, coupled with the neighbourhood associations wanting zero change within their neighbourhoods. Have we reached a decade of waiting for the Alexandra School development to happen?

Is that related to the neighbourhood associations?

(03-12-2018, 10:59 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(03-12-2018, 09:36 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: Have we reached a decade of waiting for the Alexandra School development to happen?

Assuming this is the future development between the school and Red House, it surely will not be happening until the Barrel Yards development wraps up. Auburn has three projects under way in the region at the moment (Barrel Yards, Arrow 2 and Schneider's) and I don't expect this one to get done until that list gets shorter.

Understandably yes, Barrelyards takes some focus and attention, but we've been through a lot of proposals for development by the Alexandra school, each time generally met with the response that this is no place (a block from King, short steps from LRT) for density.

(03-12-2018, 12:19 PM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(03-12-2018, 09:06 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: Let's be very clear here: the author is going to be someone in an UpTown neighbourhood association. Those neighbourhoods are the enclaves of the well-off. The people living in the42, BPR, Bauer, any of these developments, the majority are not able to afford anything comparable to what the author lives in; to not have built these developments would have meant not having these individuals in UpTown. The few upper-tier options in these developments (like the seven-figure penthouse in the42), were they not built, would mean that the financial heft of that individual/family would have been used to push up the price on something in one of the neighbourhoods around, as the sole other alternative, pricing a current resident out. So no, author, you are wrong, it is your stance that makes UpTown an enclave for the better-off.

Bringing up the missing middle is even more insulting here. The "missing middle" is "middling" in both density AND location. To suggest that townhomes belong here (or as one Kitchener councilor suggested, that townhomes were the correct development scale for King St. at Victoria) is ignoring "missing middle" entirely. There is almost no such development in our region explicitly because of, again, you, author. "Missing middle" is the development that happens in your neighbourhood, away from the nodes and corridors in Waterloo's densification plans. It certainly isn't the scale of 70 King North, likely not even of the42; perhaps it is the townhomes at Park and Allen, were they not at Park and Allen, or BPR Lofts were they not at Bridgeport and Regina. You can do a quick guideline for missing middle in the core; if the road has never been a trucking route, has never been a bus route, and doesn't have bike lanes, traffic lights, or school bus routes on it, that is the kind of road, location-wise, where "missing middle" belongs.

Good post! I especially like that you pointed out that the absence of those large developments would mean the absence of their occupants from Uptown. I am reminded of an article I saw in the newspaper a few weeks back talking about high rents, and somebody said that “we can’t build our way out of this problem”. I just about choked on my cereal to see something so stupid. My immediate was reaction was that, no, on the contrary, the only way out of the problem is building more housing. That’s not quite right, of course: we could also make the city a less pleasant place to live, which could eventually make demand for housing fall.

People also complain that new housing tends to be more expensive than older housing. But in reality, it would be weird if that weren’t the case. How often are new cars cheaper than comparable old cars?

There are a few cities where they have actually built sufficient housing so as to see rental prices fall, but few cities allow for it. Locally, this is what we saw exclusively in the student housing around Northdale. While a lot of new buildings went up with high price tags, after a while, it made the prices of many other older rentals (multifamily buildings and partitioned homes) go down. This would be nice to achieve not only for people in the 18-22(ish) demographic, but in the 23-99+ age demographic as well.
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#59
I think the general objection is how dramatically the building height will differ from the current height limits in the area. If the purpose of the height limit is to be able to negotiate a better deal from a developer, but ultimately the height will be far out of scale with what was in the district plan, why bother? The City should stand its ground and say, "Nope, after much discussion, debate, and planning, this is what we want King St to look like." A City plan shouldn't merely be a guideline that is quickly discarded because someone wants to do something that is different. Would it be any different than someone saying, "I know that you really would like more employment land, but my market data says that building a residential building here is a better idea so please allow me to use this employment land for a different purpose"?

Sometimes is feels like we need to get past the "build it now, build it tall" rush that saw King St from University to Columbia turned into an unfortunate urban setting, to the "build it soon, build it nicely" which is what is happening elsewhere in Northdale. While I initially was opposed to something like the 42, once the dust has settled, is fits nicely into the neighbourhood without dominating the skyline or neighbourhood.
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#60
Indeed, the42 makes sense in its context; it is not on King or even Regina, but butts up against the 3rd street parallel to the primary street (King). The Alexandra site is much closer to the core, much closer to LRT, much closer to King, much closer to existing density, and so it should logically be noticeably denser. These all apply even more so to 70 King North.
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