Consortion to build central transit hub
Local developer Perimeter joins EllisDon, Kilmer Group to construct LRT centrepiece at King and Victoria
KITCHENER — Three companies with a vast range of experience will begin detailed negotiations with the Region of Waterloo to build the central transit station at King and Victoria streets.
The consortium is called the King Victoria Transit Hub Partners Inc., and includes the Perimeter Development Corp., EllisDon Capital Inc. and the Kilmer Group.
“We are happy to kind of get to the next stage on this one,” said Craig Beattie, a co-owner of Perimeter. “It is obviously something we have been keeping an eye for some time.”
For more than 17 years Beattie and his partner, David Gibson, have been active in some of the most high profile developments in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. They were behind the redevelopment of Uptown Waterloo in the early 2000s.
Perimeter also restored several heritage buildings in the Galt section of Cambridge, the Walper Hotel in Kitchener, and 51 Breithaupt St. in Kitchener, which houses Google’s engineering headquarters. It also did 117 King St. West, 305 King St. West and most recently announced it was proceeding with a 120,000-square-foot office building at 345 King St. West.
“It is such an important piece of city building, it is something we had to really think seriously about and take a crack at it,” said Beattie of the central transit station.
EllisDon is one of Canada’s largest builders. The Londonbased company constructed the Roger’s Centre back in the 1980s, and more recently the new central courthouse in Kitchener.
The Kilmer Group is out of Toronto, and built the Pan Am Village on the Don River lands there.
The consortium formed by the three companies will soon begin detailed negotiations with the Region of Waterloo about purchasing the site and planning the mix of buildings.
“We have long been of the view that King and Victoria is going to be such a critical intersection for the region overall,” said Beattie.
“To us, this needs to be done really well. Everyone on the team is aligned that way. It is a really important piece, it is a really important corner, it is important infrastructure that is going to converge there.”
The region’s planning and works committee will consider a report Tuesday that recommends proceeding to the next stage of negotiations and planning with the King Victoria Transit Hub Partners.
The region likes the mix of big, national-level builders with an experienced local developer in the consortium.
“In particular EllisDon and the Kilmer Group demonstrated a number of examples of similar projects where they have worked both together and independently to successfully deliver large, unique developments with creative solutions to significant challenges,” says the regional staff report.
“Perimeter Development brings the critical local perspective and a similar history of successful developments focused on the Kitchener area,” says the report. “The overall quality of the submission demonstrated an understanding of the project challenges and the ability to bring together the necessary resources to deliver it successfully.”
The central transit hub will be built on a constrained piece of land between Victoria Street and the railway tracks. The site includes a historic building, the Rumpel Felt factory.
The region wants a mix of commercial, residential, street-level retail and services.
Light rail trains, GO trains, VIA trains, Grand River Transit buses and Greyhound buses are all expected to use the central station.
“It is a very mixed-use opportunity, everything has to connect and work well together,” said Beattie.
“There is a real element of place-making to it, the space has to feel good,” said Beattie.
The central transit hub will be the final piece in the redevelopment of a busy intersection that has been transformed by redevelopment in the past 12 years.
Andrin Homes did the $200 million redevelopment of Kaufman Lofts. Momentum Developments built a $65 million, 17floor condo at One Victoria. And the University of Waterloo spent $56 million on the school of pharmacy there. Next to that is a medical school.
“All parties are aligned to come up with a great plan and go about executing it,” said Beattie.
To us, this needs to be done really well.” CRAIG BEATTIE, co-owner Perimeter Development Group