Construction Begins At Former Kitchener Frame Site
Kitchener – Mayor Berry Vrbanovic was joined today by Karen Redman, Waterloo Regional Chair, and Ward 3 City Councillor, John Gazzola, for the ground-breaking ceremony of a 35,000 square foot medical facility at the former Kitchener Frame site, following an extensive environmental remediation of the property. The City of Kitchener supported the cleanup of the site’s soil and groundwater through both the city’s and region's Brownfield Financial Incentive Program.
“This is a wonderful success story for Kitchener’s Brownfield Program,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. “The remediation of the former Kitchener Frame site is a great example of how innovative policy and collaboration with our business community can clean-up under-utilized contaminated properties for future generations to benefit from, while also creating local jobs, increasing the municipal tax base, and reducing our reliance on greenfield development.”
The former automotive parts facility known locally at different times as Budd Canada, ThyssenKrupp Budd Canada and Kitchener Frame, has been unoccupied since 2009. The soil and groundwater contamination caused by the property’s former industrial use was a significant financial barrier for any potential redevelopment.
An element of the city’s Growth Management Strategy, the Brownfield Financial Incentive Program facilitates the redevelopment of many former industrial sites in Kitchener by reimbursing the cleanup costs incurred by developers who remediate contaminated lands during the course of construction.
The construction of the medical facility, which has been fully leased, represents the first active construction on the 78-acre parcel of land that comprises the former auto parts facility. A second medical facility is expected to begin construction on the site within the next six months, and is already 70 per cent leased.
City council’s approval of a Tax Increment Grant in April 2018 allowed developers Gary Ball and Marty Pathak to recoup 100 per cent of the approximately $7.8 million in hard cleanup costs required to remediate the contaminated land and turn it into marketable, useable space.
“Waterloo region has a long history of adapting to change and reinventing itself; today’s announcement speaks to that tradition,” said Karen Redman, Waterloo Regional Chair. “The Region of Waterloo is proud to have played a role through the Brownfields Financial Incentive Program. One of the goals of this program is to encourage the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites to better utilize land and infrastructure within Waterloo Region. This exciting addition to our community achieves that goal.”
“Today’s event is a success story for our city’s approach to economic development,” said Ward 3 Councillor John Gazzola. “Prudent investments through this program give developers a feasible business case to revitalize unused spaces, allowing business growth in locations already well-served by existing infrastructure and centrally located in our community.”
The Brownfield Financial Incentive Program has led to major redevelopment projects throughout Kitchener, including the factory-to-loft conversion of the Kaufmann Lofts, the InTowns townhouse development at Queen Street and Highland Road East and the conversion of the former Lang Tannery building into the Tannery District, home to the Communitech Hub, UW Velocity, Desire2Learn and Breithaupt Block, home to Google Canada’s Canadian Engineering