Empire Theatre Redevelopment

Thanks to everyone that took the time to vote in last week’s poll on Re-imagining Kingston’s skyline! Of the 445 votes cast so far, 40% of respondents said: I’m comfortable with 18 storey buildings, but only if they are in the right location and only if they are visually attractive and innovative in their design.

So the answer to the question – How High is Too High? – for most people seems to be: it depends. This week I would like to get your feedback on a more specific development. At the Downtown Kingston Business Association (BIA!) Spring General Meeting, some preliminary designs were presented for a new 18 storey condo tower on the site of the old Empire Theatre building.

First here is the view from Princess Street (note that the tower is set back more than 100 feet from Princess Street itself in order to preserve the existing building facade and streetscape).

J:38064_223Princess5.9 Drawings59graphicscurrent38064-A-Cen J:38064_223Princess5.9 Drawings59graphicscurrent38064-A-Cen

Now here is the view from Queen Street where the tower would be located, right next to the Corus studios.

J:38064_223Princess5.9 Drawings59graphicscurrent38064-A-Cen J:38064_223Princess5.9 Drawings59graphicscurrent38064-A-Cen

So, what do you think?

[polldaddy poll=8898326]



7 Responses

  1. Scm says:

    I would like to know if this kind of development increase or decreases the value of the real estate around it?

  2. Jill Donaldson says:

    Absolutely opposed to something that size in the downtown historical core! It will set a precedent in the area for sure and not a good one by any means. The downtown needs to maintain what remains of it’s heritage integrity in terms of building construction, especially size in regards to height and density. Cannot see this fitting in with any historical vision.

  3. P. Moffat says:

    I like the idea but 18 stories is probably too high. Eight is probably more like it. See 381 Bagot and the Dornekamp building on Queen and Bagot. Good Luck striking a balance !

  4. Mary Clare Burton says:

    While appreciate the desire to bring more people downtown, I do not think building a high rise is the best way to achieve this. The city’s overall housing needs should be taken into account when planning for new sites such as this. An innovative and creative solution would be to fill the housing gaps that the city currently faces. High on the list should be affordable and accessible housing for the vulnerable. This is a huge gap in our city and contributes to homelessness as well as health care and mental health hospital admissions.

  5. Barry McKeigan says:

    So…even though NONE of Kingston’s Fire and Rescue equipment can reach that high, and the fact that there’s NO PARKING downtown for shoppers, you actually think this will be the NORM for Kingston?!?!? So you want to take 300+years of history, and ruin it by placing these monstrosities in the middle of one of the most beautiful cities on Canada?!?! Tourists come here to see the historic buildings, not 18+ highrises, especially in the downtown core…all this building will do is raise the property values in the downtown, forcing MORE stores to leave…this is just a dumb idea…sure glad I didn’t vote for you, in the last election or I’d really be pissed off

  6. Jolene Simko says:

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for asking these important questions. I wanted to say something that I felt was not able to be captured in your polling system.

    “Innovative design”…

    The only designs that are allowed to call themselves innovative in this day and age are buildings that collect rainwater and slow winds by having foliage around the outside (not just the roof) of the building.

    Green roofs are soon going to be standard practice in France – that makes green roofs no longer innovative. If you *really* want Kingston to be known for history and innovation, you gotta step onto the world stage. Sure, some people think skyscrapers will make Kingston feel more important somehow… And I’m sure you can use this poll to say the city supports it… But the quality of data is lacking here…

    Let’s be honest about what’s actually innovative and what’s just going to make a developer a buck.

    If this important Kingston landmark is going to be turned into condos, at least make the developers work hard enough to build something that’s actually going to put Kingston on the map.

    Have more faith in your town as market that deserves better. Don’t show us another cheaply built glass box like they have all over Toronto and call it “innovative”.
    Would love to see you really step up to the plate here. Don’t marry the first to give you flowers that won’t stand the test of time.

  7. Ron Tasker says:

    This is the most inappropriate development proposal I have ever seen for Kingston. Kingston is not Toronto and nor should it try to be. Highrises are not human-scaled and create deserts in their vicinity. It is not an accident that the most vital parts of Toronto are well away from the highrises. This entire proposal is made worse by its placement in the core of the most historic and authentic city in Ontario. Maximizing the profits of developers is not in the interest of Kingstonians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *