Strengthening the vitality of the downtown is one of my top priorities as mayor. I have heard from Kingstonians, and I agree, that one of the keys to the continued vitality of the downtown is more residential development. That’s of course because more downtown apartments or condos means more people living right downtown creating a solid customer base for downtown businesses
One of the big challenges with building more residential downtown is we can end up losing space for parking, which is another ‘must have’ for getting customers to downtown shops. So this week, City Council approved an innovative way to get more residential development while at the same time preserving parking spaces. The city is partnering with a local developer to include a public parking garage, owned and operated by the city, inside a new residential condo development.
Now, the really innovative part of this idea is what the parking garage will look like from the outside. Instead of a multi-story concrete block (you know the kind because we have a few in our downtown), we will be looking at the construction of a fully enclosed and windowed parking structure, aesthetically sympathetic to surrounding buildings such as the Smith Robinson and British Whig buildings pictured below.
It’s important to note that this new public parking garage will only go ahead if and when City Council approves the rest of the residential condo development on the property. I think we are definitely on the right track when we can combine parking, residential development, walkability and an attractive streetscape in the downtown – that’s the way to plan a livable city!