In a city with such amazing history, I’m always excited when old abandoned heritage buildings are restored back to modern use. A few weeks ago I wrote about the proposal to restore and renovate the Imperial Oil building at the base of North Street. This week, a plan is coming forward to the City’s Planning Committee to restore another crumbling heritage building just a short distance away: the old Bailey Broom factory.
This former factory building at the corner of Rideau and Cataraqui Streets is in terrible shape and City Council briefly considered demolishing the building several years ago. However, RAW Design Inc. came forward with a plan to purchase the building and restore it. The required restoration work will be extensive, but the end vision will see this dilapidated building transformed into a great mix of residential and commercial space. The proposed development would see 9 new townhouse units constructed on the north side of the building, while the old broom factory itself would be converted to a unique mix of everything from office space, to a café, artisan workshops and other event space.
This redevelopment is another exciting indicator of the growth and renewal we are seeing across the city right now. With plans to restore the Imperial Oil building and the Bailey Broom factory, clean up and redevelop the Davis Tannery property, and create a new vision for Belle Park, the Inner Harbour in particular should soon become an exciting showcase of urban renewal within Kingston’s downtown core. There’s lots of work ahead of us, but it’s great to see the momentum that’s been created. You can read more about the plans for the Bailey Broom factory here https://bit.ly/2Ip41gJ or you can attend a presentation at Planning Committee today at 6:30pm at City Hall.
Miss Council last night Kingston?
Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes! Watch it HERE
Request for an Exemption to the Noise Bylaw
Fleet Maintenance Facility
A few weeks ago Money Sense magazine released their 2018 ranking for the best cities to buy real estate, and this year Kingston is rated the 5th best city in the Canada for investing in a home or rental property. When comparing cities, the Money Sense survey looks at a variety of factors that measure both the strength of the local economy and the rental market. Their assessment this year is that Kingston is one of the best places to invest in the country based on value for dollar. With housing becoming less affordable in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s clear that more potential home buyers and investors are looking at Kingston.
This is good news for the community, because it reflects both the growth in our local economy and the fact that more people are attracted to Kingston as a great place to live. At the same time, this buzz about Kingston means that there will be added pressure on our housing supply, and it’s vitally important that we increase the supply of housing in order to meet growing demand. Kingston already has the lowest rental vacancy rate in the province at 0.7%. If we don’t have more housing soon, the vacancy rate will drop further. The affordability of living in Kingston is a major advantage, and we must build more if we are going to avoid the big spikes in housing prices that occurred in the GTA.
Kingston offers a tremendous quality of life, and with the recent success we’ve had attracting new companies to the city, the interest people have in moving here has only increased. You can read more from the Money Sense article at http://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/top-cities-canadian-real-estate-2018/ but it’s clear that the conditions in Kingston are right for exciting new growth in our city. Let’s make sure that all present and future residents can find an attractive and affordable place in Kingston to call home.
This week City Council approved a naming rights agreement for Kingston’s premier downtown arena and entertainment centre. As of July 1st, the Rogers K-Rock Centre will become the Leon’s Centre. The name change will take some getting used to, but it was fantastic to see a lot of interest from businesses looking to attach their name to this facility, and congratulations to Leon’s for putting forward the winning offer!
Under this new agreement, Leon’s will pay an average of $265,000 per year over the next five years to have their name on the facility, with an option to extend for an additional five years after that. This is a substantial increase over the current naming rights fee, which will provide a great boost to the annual bottom line for the arena.
A few months ago we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Rogers K-Rock Centre, and what an amazing ten years it’s been. There have been so many great shows, hockey games and sporting events over the years, and the facility continues to win awards and is a real showcase for Kingston. There’s no doubt that this facility has been a catalyst for tourism, development and a vibrant downtown. Years ago I remember following the big debate about the centre which was then known as the Large Venue Entertainment Centre (LVEC), and how fortunate for our city that former Mayor Harvey Rosen and the City Council of the day made the project a reality. Now it’s hard to imagine Kingston without it. Congratulations to the Rogers K-Rock Centre on a great 10 years! I look forward to attending many more events at the Leon’s Centre in the future!