A Revised Plan for Housing on the Former Davis Tannery Lands

One of the best opportunities we have to add more housing in the core of the city is to redevelop the old Davis Tannery Lands on the western shore of the Cataraqui River. Building new housing on this long abandoned site will help increase the number of rental units in Kingston within easy walking and cycling distance of downtown. That makes sense not only from a housing perspective, but from an environmental perspective as well.


It’s important that we get the details right for this housing development. This week updated renderings for the proposal were released showing some important changes. The housing developments are now set further back from the Cataraqui River, with a naturalized shoreline and a waterfront trail. The two apartment buildings closest to the water will be lower in height (4-5 storeys), while the two further west will be taller (up to 8 storeys). The new design also includes dedicated commercial spaces so there will be stores in the vicinity for building residents.


The biggest challenge to development on this property has always been the environmental cleanup. This property housed the former Tannery as well as other industrial uses and so the soil is highly contaminated. This property is the largest brownfield in Kingston, with an environmental cleanup cost estimated at over $60 million. City Council will need to help offset this cost through reductions in future property taxes, but there’s a strong case for this investment, since the City doesn’t get any tax revenues from this property in its current state. Cleaning up environmental contamination and building housing together offers an exciting chance for a new future for the Old Tannery Lands in Kingston!