OMB Approves Victoria Street Condos

  • 08/10/16
  • |          Kitchener

A provincial tribunal has approved Momentum Developments’ plans for a large condominium with two towers and more than 300 units at 100 Victoria Street South.

The Ontario Municipal Board handed down a decision Friday that paves the way for the project with no changes or conditions.

The owners of two abutting properties on Arthur Street objected to development, claiming it was too close to their properties, making future development difficult for them.

Momentum Developments will now proceed with the demolition of some buildings, and site preparation. Construction could begin in about four months.

Brian Prudham, one of Momentum’s owners, said the appeal to the tribunal delayed 100 Victoria by 18 months.

“We waited a long time, no question,” Prudham said. “But it feels good, it feels extremely good. We are pleased.”

The original plans called for 306 units. But now the exact number is not known because demand has been so strong the developer wants to convert some of the proposed commercial units into residential units.

Prudham said sales this year have been white hot even while everyone waited for the municipal board’s decision.

About 80 per cent of the units have already been sold.

“It will be a big project,” Prudham said. “Certainly with this decision and our ability to break ground and show some action, that will drive another round of sales in the fall.”

The OMB hearing cost the developer a lot of money for lawyers, planners and expert witnesses, in addition to the carrying costs associated with the properties it assembled for the development.

“Hundreds of thousands, no doubt,” Prudham said. “Multiple hundreds.”

Momentum Developments did the mixed-use condo tower at King and Victoria streets called One Victoria. It was turned over to the condominium corporation a few months ago, and the developer is finalizing the details on a third project in downtown Kitchener.

“We are very committed now to Kitchener, the Innovation District in particular,” Prudham said. “It is safe to say we are active and we will have another development to announce in the near future.”

The Innovation District covers the area within a 10 minute walk of King and Victoria streets, the future site of the region’s central transit station.

“I still think there is enormous demand, and I like the financial incentives for downtown Kitchener compared to other municipalities,” Prudham said.

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic calls the project exciting and said he’s pleased to see it moving forward.

It fits the city’s vision for high-density, mixed-use developments that promote public transit, walking and lively streets, he said.

“I think it speaks to the ongoing confidence of the investment community about what’s happening in our community,” Vrbanovic said. “It will no doubt probably help spur some other projects to move forward as well in the Innovation District.”

The OMB held 16 days of hearings and heard from seven witnesses.

“Overall, the board is satisfied the proposed development represents good land use planning and will contribute to the city’s policy objectives for the area, including high density residential and office uses close to transit and a lively and livable downtown,” says the board in its ruling.

“The board is also satisfied that should the Arthur Place lands be assembled in the future, there will also be opportunities for intensification on the Arthur Lands consistent with these objectives,” says the ruling.

Momentum Developments’ portfolio includes the BPR Lofts on Regina Street, the Red Condominium on King Street South, the 42 at Peppler and Bridgeport, all in Waterloo. Its first development in Kitchener is the 19-floor mixed-use One Victoria project.

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