As I reflect on the past year, it’s fair to say that the City of Kitchener has been at the forefront of economic growth amongst Ontario municipalities! For 10 years, Kitchener made a $110 million investment into its Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) which was leveraged with hundreds of millions in new investment from private and public sector partners. Today, Kitchener has attained the confidence of the investment community and is looking to see upwards of $1.2 billion in new real estate investment getting underway in the next 12-18 months.
Reflecting on 2017, Kitchener experienced considerable construction activity, with 2,528 building permits being issued, including 1,397 new residential units. Some major developments at the forefront in 2017 include: the construction of Catalyst137 which is the world’s largest Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturing space; the new condo buildings at 100 Victoria Street South; a refurbished office building and home for Deloitte at 195 Joseph Street (across from the Tannery); two apartment towers at 1460 Highland Road West; a two-storey elementary school in South Doon; and another two-storey elementary school near Chicopee. This doesn’t even include all of the new developments up and down the LRT route. All of this economic and construction activity shows that great things are happening right here in Kitchener!
We know some of this economic success is due to the City of Kitchener’s and the Region of Waterloo’s Development Charge exemption for the downtown core. This exemption has done great things to kick-start economic development to date. It was the right solution at the right time, but it will be coming to an end on February 28, 2019. As well, the Industrial Development Charge for new industrial manufacturing construction will go back to the full rate after February 28, 2019 (currently the rate has a reduction of 50%). That date may seem far away, but if your project needs something like a zone change or an Official Plan amendment, the process can sometimes take up to 18 months. So if you have any plans for development, and want to be eligible for the Downtown Development Charge exemption or reduced industrial rate, please meet with our City of Kitchener Planning staff as soon as possible. The end of the exemption was reported in The Record on October 2, 2017 – see link: http://bit.ly/2El9OgD.
The City of Kitchener is also going through a Comprehensive Review of the Zoning Bylaw (CRoZBy), which will include a public meeting in Spring 2018. Council will not be making a decision on the by-law at that meeting. I encourage you to attend and see what CRoZBy is all about, or contact our Planning staff for more information. Online, you’ll find more information at: http://bit.ly/2qJTQe9.
For 2018 and beyond, get ready to see a lot more economic activity in Kitchener! Construction of a 120,000 square foot LEED Gold Class A office building will start at 345 King Street West; a 300 unit residential condominium will be coming to 24 Gaukel (aka Charlie West); and 48 Ontario Street will be home to 40,000 square feet of office space, to name just a few!
So much construction-based economic growth has already occurred, and with so much more coming in 2018 and beyond, Kitchener just keeps booming. Join the excitement – Make it Kitchener as your place to live, work, and play!