City her­itage ad­vis­ers OK Kel­logg ad­di­tion, open an­other door to kids’ mu­seum move

The London Free Press - - LOCAL - NOR­MAN DE BONO

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.

SUB­MIT­TED

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.

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