City heritage advisers OK Kellogg addition, open another door to kids’ museum move
A London heritage group is giving its blessing to a proposed glass addition to the former Kellogg building that would serve as the entrance to the London Children’s Museum.
The museum announced last year it’s moving from its current location on Wharncliffe Road into the red brick structure on Dundas Street East that housed the cereal giant.
The building isn’t designated a heritage site, but is on a list of heritage properties. The London Advisory Committee on Heritage (LACH) discussed the museum proposal last week and reviewed a report from a private planning firm advising the museum.
“It’s not a major detriment to the site, it retains a large part of the heritage aspects of the building,” heritage activist Maggie Whalley, who sits on the committee, said of the proposal.
The committee likes that the material for the proposed addition is glass, that it would be located on the Kellogg Lane side of the building and it wouldn’t be too large, she said.
“We feel like the Kellogg factory is so important to London’s history, it was Kellogg’s first plant outside the U.S. and has had such significance to Londoners,” said Whalley, also a member of the London branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.
The heritage committee received a heritage impact statement about the development from private planning firm Zelinka Priamo.
“The proposed addition to the existing building will conserve the property’s cultural heritage value and interest. The proposed addition is designed within the contours of the existing building to avoid overpowering the existing structure,” the report says.
It concludes: “It is our opinion the proposed addition will not negatively impact the potential heritage attributes of the property or adjacent properties.”
The Kellogg’s lands are about 6.6 ha (16.3 acres) with a frontage of approximately 172.4 metres or 565 feet on the south side of Dundas Street.
The former plant that closed in 2014 has become an entertainment centre with a new business, The Factory, offering an indoor rope course, trampoline park, electric go-carts, mini-golf, escape rooms, axe-throwing, an arcade and a toddler soft play area. Craft brewer Powerhouse Brewing occupies another part of the building.
The museum is renovating about 3,000 square metres on the fourth floor at a cost of $14 million. The museum will continue to operate at its current home on Wharncliffe Road until the new location opens in 2021. “It would not bother me a great deal if there is a glass atrium, but until it happens it’s tough to say if it’s a great idea or not,” said Jennifer Grainger, chairperson of the ACO branch in London. “It’s good the building is being used.”
Although the building isn’t designated a heritage property, it is within an area that has been identified as a potential heritage conservation district. The proposed “Smoke Stack District” comprises the industrial area south of the Canadian Pacific Railway lines and east of Ashland Avenue, and includes Florence Street, Kellogg Lane and Burbrook Place, the report says. “LACH and the city recognize the heritage value of industry in London and at some time in the future we may be considering a smokestack district” as a heritage conservation area, Whalley said.
“It recognizes our social history, how our city has developed and this is what is happening, where we are today. It is good to recognize these landmarks in our social and industrial history.”
The Zelinka-Priamo report agreed: “If the subject lands and the adjacent properties were to be designated for their individual significance or for their contribution to the future ‘Smoke Stack Heritage Conservation District’, the proposed development would not have a negative impact on any potential heritage attributes,” it stated.
The London Advisory Committee on Heritage endorsed plans by the London Children’s Museum for a glass addition to the former Kellogg factory, seen in this artist’s impression. The museum plans to move in in 2021.