Lot42: ‘pure grand­ness’

Event com­plex blends in­dus­trial her­itage and mod­ern style in mag­nif­i­cent build­ing

Waterloo Region Record - - LOCAL - Brent Davis, Record staff

KITCH­ENER — Clad in a white hard hat and clunky rub­ber boots, David Bris­son stepped into the cen­tre­piece at Lot42.

It’s a space called The Fac­tory, a 40,000-square-foot area with steel beams, ex­posed bricks and a con­crete floor that still bears some of the traces of its legacy as, well, a fac­tory.

It was orig­i­nally built in 1955 as the new home of Ardelt In­dus­tries and was the site of sev­eral sub­se­quent busi­nesses.

High above, an orig­i­nal (and still work­ing) gantry crane spans the width of the build­ing. Be­low, con­struc­tion con­tin­ued on the multi-use event space as fi­nal prepa­ra­tions were made to host Fri­day’s Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball.

While the prop­erty at 41 Ardelt Pl. in Kitch­ener has been used for spe­cial events in re­cent years — art shows, last year’s FuzeNa­tion tech­nol­ogy and mu­sic festival, even a State of the City ad­dress among them — it’s re­ally within the past 10 months or so that the $10-mil­lion project to breathe new life into the com­plex took shape.

“We’ve truly tried to keep that in­dus­trial feel …. the pure grand­ness of the main build­ing,” said Bris­son, Lot42’s pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, who’s part­nered with Pa­trick Doyle on the project. “We want to have that kind of ‘wow’ fac­tor.”

New tinted win­dows, placed in front of the old ones, grace the side of the build­ing that fronts onto High­way 7/8. A new 21- by 15-me­tre (70 by 50 foot) cur­tain glass wall greets guests at the main en­trance. Bris­son said the Pixar An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios head­quar­ters in Cal­i­for­nia served as in­spi­ra­tion for parts of the project.

One part of the ex­te­rior has been painted pur­ple; colour­ful mu­rals by artists Jerry Rugg, also called BirdO, and Bruno, also known as Smoky, en­liven other ex­te­rior walls that face The Court­yard, a 27,400-square foot outdoor space.

The Fac­tory can ac­com­mo­date more than 4,000 peo­ple.

There are other in­te­rior ar­eas, too, in­clud­ing the 14,000-square foot Stu­dio 42, and the nearly 3,000-square foot Work­shop.

B Hos­pi­tal­ity, which op­er­ates venues in­clud­ing B at The­mu­seum and the Cam­bridge Ho­tel & Con­fer­ence Cen­tre and The Bruce Craft House, is Lot42’s food and bev­er­age part­ner.

Bris­son and Doyle have dubbed the seven-hectare (17 acre) prop­erty a “global flex cam­pus,” the idea be­ing that it can be used for arts, tech­nol­ogy, man­u­fac­tur­ing, ath­let­ics and com­mu­nity events.

“We want to be all things to all peo­ple,” Bris­son said, adding that he felt the region was lack­ing a large, unique and flex­i­ble event space.

The prop­erty also houses a hand­ful of ten­ants, rang­ing from Ren­ishaw (Canada)’s ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing so­lu­tion cen­tre and Let’s Dance, to The Ath­lete Fac­tory, Gym 41 and co-work­ing space In­no­va­tion 42.

Bris­son and Doyle also have their sights set on what they’re call­ing the back­yard, a four-hectare (10.5 acre) outdoor space on the prop­erty that could hold 20,000 to 25,000 peo­ple for con­certs and fes­ti­vals. Grad­ing and prepara­tory work — in­clud­ing lin­ing the site with ship­ping con­tain­ers that could be used as VIP plat­forms — is ex­pected to be­gin in May.

Doyle’s fa­ther, Ron — the man be­hind the trans­for­ma­tion of a for­mer sugar beet fac­tory into the Ha­cienda Sar­ria — first pur­chased the Lot42 site in the 1990s. Over­sight has since shifted to Pa­trick Doyle and Bris­son, who’s quick to credit the el­der Doyle with hav­ing the vi­sion for the site’s po­ten­tial in the first place.

Un­til re­cently, it was called Lot41, a nod to its street ad­dress. Bris­son said the old name is more a con­nec­tion to the site’s — and the com­mu­nity’s — past; Lot42 looks to the fu­ture.

“It’s im­por­tant to note how the com­mu­nity’s em­braced this project,” he said. “Hav­ing this here changes the dy­namic of the cities.”

Lot42 will host three dif­fer­ent Oktoberfest events ahead of a grand open­ing Oct. 21.


Pa­trick Doyle, left, and David Bris­son stand in­side Lot42, a for­mer in­dus­trial com­plex that is be­ing turned into a multi-pur­pose event space.


Lot42 takes flight with this big beau­ti­ful bird by artist Bruno.

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