All images from Auburn Developments website.
Last edited by Spokes; 07-15-2010 at 06:39 PM.
Region's largest development project to create brand new town in centre of city
June 26, 2007
TAMSIN MCMAHON, RECORD STAFF
WATERLOO (Jun 26, 2007)
Waterloo council gave the green light to the $250-million BarrelYards project, paving the way for the largest development project in the region.
Councillors unanimously approved changes to zoning requirements that will allow London-based Auburn Developments to build highrise luxury condominiums and apartments buildings, along with hotels, shops and offices in the old industrial heart of the city.
"We're creating a brand new town in the middle of our city," said Coun. Mark Whaley. "It's pretty marvellous."
Plans for the complex on about five hectares (12.7 acres) of the former Canbar lands at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive include:
Two 25-storey condominium towers;
Four apartment towers, two 21-storeys high, one 18 storeys high, one 12 storeys high;
10 lowrise mixed-use residential and retail units;
Two hotels with 280 rooms;
230,000 sq-ft of commercial office and retail space;
2,250 parking spaces, most of which would be in a two-level underground garage.
The project was the first major development proposal approved by the new council, which earlier this year supported plans to redevelop a parking lot at Waterloo Town Square into a public square.
The city scrapped a height and density cap that would have restricted the apartment buildings and condominiums to no higher than seven storeys.
Instead, the developer is planning several highrise buildings along Father David Bauer Drive.
Yesterday's council approval signalled an end to a decade-long debate on the property between the city and residents who wanted to keep their low-rise leafy streets from becoming a crowded city core overrun with traffic.
In 1998, Canbar asked the city to change its zoning restrictions in order to turn the site, which once held its fibreglass and plastics manufacturing business, into a commercial and residential complex. The company hoped to sell the land to a developer that would build a series of highrise apartments, hotels and business space. But those plans were scuttled after residents balked at bringing Toronto-style development and traffic into the quiet suburban core.
The company scaled back its plans and Auburn Developments bought the site in 2005. The land had undergone an environmental cleanup and passed a 2003 Ministry of the Environment audit.
The BarrelYards is the largest project that Auburn has undertaken, said company president Jamie Crich. The company is also developing the Arrow Lofts in Kitchener.
Plans for the project were scaled up from original concept, which was for 750 apartments and condos in mostly low-rise buildings, a 120-room boutique hotel and mostly above-ground parking.
Construction could start as early as this fall and would take between four and seven years, depending on how strong the market is for the project, Crich said in an interview.
But he said he's confident there is strong interest in a massive development in Waterloo and that his company has been flooded with calls from interested residents and businesses.
"You can't do everything overnight, but there is definitely a good strong market here. The city's done a great job with their Uptown and people are responding. They want to live there."
Local companies have long been pushing for a downtown Waterloo hotel and conference centre. Yesterday, Crich said the company is proposing both a long- and short-stay hotel, and would push for conference facilities.
Auburn has been getting as many as five calls a day from interested hotel chains since putting out a request. The hotels would be built by the hotel chains themselves.
He wouldn't name the potential hotel operators, but Crich said they were "some five-star hotels. Great brands have expressed an interest in being here."
Both the city and the developer said they would ask the region to make some road improvements, such as traffic lights and left-turn lanes, to Erb Street, said consultant Chris Pidgeon of GSP Group.
The developer isn't expecting the region to support the proposed changes, Pidgeon said, but they are critical to building the hotels.
The city is still negotiating to share the cost of about $100,000 in improvements to Father David Bauer Drive, such as landscaped medium and bike lanes on both sides.
John Shortreed, who lives on neighbouring Euclid Avenue, was concerned that the city was approving zoning changes before knowing the region would support road improvements to protect residents and pedestrians from an onslaught of new traffic. "It's a huge impact on a very small neighbourhood," he said.
Mike Hudson, who also lives on Euclid, was concerned the proposed highrise condos and apartments would destroy the natural skyline of Waterloo Park. "We should consider what it is about Waterloo Park that makes it special and try and see if that can be preserved," he said. "I don't think it can be preserved in its current form with very large office towers immediately adjacent to the park."
The proposal doesn't include any affordable housing, but a staff report said the developer plans to look into any low-cost housing opportunities and that creating luxury units would free up affordable housing elsewhere in the city.
Uptown Coun. Ian McLean said the project shows Waterloo is a leader in intensifying in its downtown. "Because we're running out of land, we will continue to be a leader and show Kitchener and Cambridge and other parts of the region how to intensify in a way that respects our existing neighbourhoods and provides for our future," he said.
Waterloo's BarrelYards gets council's go-ahead
September 10, 2008
LIZ MONTEIRO, RECORD STAFF
A $250-million uptown development with two condo towers, apartments and a luxury hotel, finally has the go-ahead from Waterloo.
An agreement covering the BarrelYards project got unanimous approval this week from city councillors.
Construction will start in the spring, Jaime Crich, president of the London-based development firm, told council.
The project includes 1,000 residential units on the former Canbar lands and a $20-million hotel, which has yet to be named.
"This will change the face of our community like never before,'' Coun. Mark Whaley said.
Mayor Brenda Halloran called the development a dream come true. "This is very exciting, very transformative,'' she said. "I wish we were putting the shovel in the ground tomorrow.''
Noting the project had been on the table for years, Coun. Ian McLean called the city's agreement with Auburn "a true collaboration."
It's not yet clear whether the BarrelYards project will affect a second hotel proposed for Waterloo, this one for a Westin Hotel on Willis Way between King and Caroline streets.
Whaley and MacLean both said they believe the developer, First Gulf Development Corp., continues to meet with city staff to talk about the Westin proposal.
"As far as I know, negotiations between the city team and First Gulf are still going on," Whaley said.
First Gulf Corp., which has asked the city to pay for most of a parking garage as part of the hotel proposal, could not be reached for comment. The parking proposal would cost the city $3.6 million, but McLean said he's sure First Gulf knows the city doesn't like the plan.
The city's total contribution to the BarrelYards project is estimated at $730,203.
Plans for the complex on about five hectares at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive include:
Two condominium towers 25 storeys high, two apartment towers 21 storeys high, one 18 storeys high and one 12 storeys high;
160,000 square feet of retail and commercial office space;
2,000 parking spaces -- 1,600 underground in a two-level parking garage and 400 surface spots.
The seven-storey hotel will have 150 rooms, including 38 apartment-style suites for extended stays. The hotel will also feature a pool, a restaurant and a conference facility for up to 200 people.
An announcement naming the hotel will be made next month, said Michael Siskind of Decade Group, a real estate development company in Toronto. Siskind said the hotel will meet the needs of sophisticated business travellers.
"People should not have to leave the uptown area,'' he said in an interview.
The hotel is expected to open by 2010.
The first part of the BarrelYards project will be erecting a 21-storey apartment building along Father David Bauer Drive this spring.
Ryan Mounsey, the city development planner, said it took nearly a year for the city and Auburn to iron out financial details, including a cost-sharing plan to bury hydro.
"This is a landmark project with significance for the City of Waterloo,'' he told councillors.
The total cost to bury the hydro is $790,738. The developer will pay for 50 per cent of the cost, while the city and Waterloo North Hydro will each pay 25 per cent. The city's share of the hydro work amounts to $197,684.
The city will also pay to widen Father David Bauer Drive, improve street lighting and plant trees. The money will come from development charges and the capital reserve fund, Mounsey said.
The developer went "above and beyond" what was necessary to make the project successful, he said.
Additional costs to be paid by the developer include a landscape median and a pedestrian promenade with trees, decorative concrete and street furniture.
BarrelYards plan a boost for Waterloo
September 15, 2008
The recently approved BarrelYards project in Waterloo is one of the most impressive developments in Waterloo Region, if not in the entire province.
It is a massive project that both reflects the change that has occurred in the region and will also contribute to the changes that will take place in the future.
Waterloo city councillors gave the go-ahead to Auburn Developments' plan last week for the BarrelYards project on the former Canbar property at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive. It is a massive undertaking that will cost about $250-million.
Just consider what is on the planning board that should become real in the years ahead: two condo towers, apartments and a luxury hotel. The two condominium towers will be 25 storeys high, two apartment towers will be 21 storeys high, one will have 18 storeys and another one will have 12.
There will also be 12 townhouses. Current residents of Waterloo will be particularly interested in the $20-million hotel Auburn wants to build. It should be a real asset to the city.
Coun. Mark Whaley was not exaggerating when he said, "This will change the face of our community like never before."
This project reflects a trend that has been going on for some time. The City of Waterloo is booming. It is a city that is doing exceptionally well in a region that is doing well by any standard.
Cambridge, for example, has supported Hasstown Holdings's plan to build 230 luxury condominiums on a property along the Grand River, and Kitchener has been working with Andrin Investments Ltd. on the Centre Block project, but nothing really compares to the BarrelYards project, which is so close to Waterloo's core.
This is an ideal example of a city agreeing to put residential and commercial units on land previously used for industrial purposes.
Auburn Developments' plan complements First Gulf Corp.'s redevelopment of the Waterloo Town Square. Bit by bit, First Gulf has changed what had become a dowdy, out-of-date retail property. The stores facing King Street and other changes on the property have given the core the fresh face it needed.
Interestingly, it wasn't that many years ago when Waterloo went through the trauma of losing its longtime core businesses, Seagrams and Labatts. When those companies left, few city residents would have believed the core would have the future that is unfolding now.
There are three related reasons behind the new developments that are springing up in Waterloo: The growth of the city's two universities in general, the University of Waterloo's focus on computer studies, and the burgeoning of high tech companies, some of which grew out of the University of Waterloo.
The success of Waterloo's high-tech sector creates demand for a host of other services and goods, which in turn creates jobs in other sectors of the economy. Both the high-tech employees and the people who serve them need the facilities Auburn plans to build on the Canbar property.
This project will cement Waterloo's reputation as a growing, attractive community, and should attract even more attention to the city. Well done, everyone.
Two hotel operators on BarrelYards shortlist
Last edited by Spokes; 07-15-2010 at 06:38 PM.
An aerial view of the site.
taken from Auburn Developments website
$20M luxury hotel coming to Waterloo
September 09, 2008, RECORD STAFF
A $20-million luxury hotel is coming to Waterloo as part of the BarrelYards project approved at Waterloo council Monday night. The BarrelYards site is at the corner of Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive.
An announcement naming the hotel will be made next month, said Michael Siskind of Toronto-based Decade Group.
Siskind said the hotel will meet the needs of sophisticated business travellers.
“People should not have to leave the Uptown area,’’ he said in an interview.
Council officially approved the BarrelYards project, which, besides the hotel, includes highrise apartment buildings, condos, townhouses and retail and office space on the former Canbar site.
The hotel will feature 150 rooms, including 40 apartment-style suites for extended stays. Construction is expected to start next spring.
Big hotel companies vie for a piece of Waterloo's largest development
February 19, 2008
LIZ MONTEIRO, RECORD STAFF
Waterloo Region's biggest development, the BarrelYards project in Waterloo, has shortlisted two major hotel operators to set up shop on the property and will decide on one of them shortly.
"The hotel is a critical element of the development,'' said project co-ordinator Chris Pidgeon of GSP Group of Kitchener.
"It's a community feature, a facility that supports the local tech industry."
The $250-million project, about five hectares (12.7 acres) on the former Canbar lands, will be built by London-based Auburn Developments, which is also developing the Arrow Lofts in Kitchener.
Waterloo city hall approved the plans last June. The project will include highrise apartment buildings, condos, townhouses and retail and office space.
The office space could include a corporate company head office, Pidgeon said.
The project will include two hotels -- a 140-unit all-suite hotel and a 140-unit short-stay hotel often used by people attending tournaments.
Both hotels are expected to be run by one operator, Pidgeon said.
He would wouldn't name the potential hotel operators.
The all-suites hotel will be a premier executive-style hotel, Pidgeon said."It's something unique."
Representatives of the nearby Perimeter Institute and the Centre for International Governance Innovation said they desperately need a high-end hotel for delegates coming into the area for conferences.
The first part of the project likely to get started in the spring is the 21-storey apartment building along Father David Bauer Drive.
It could take up to seven years to complete the entire project, Pidgeon said.
About 1,000 underground parking spots will be available and 400 spaces above ground.
Auburn Developments bought the property in 2005.
The property, which was once home to the Canbar fibreglass and plastics manufacturing business, underwent an environmental cleanup and passed a Ministry of the Environment audit.
Pidgeon said the project has a Toronto feel with mixed residential, hotels and retail space.
"We think this city is ready for this,'' he said.
New hotel for Waterloo
July 20, 2009
LIZ MONTEIRO, RECORD STAFF
A boutique hotel is coming to Waterloo.
Domain Hotel, an eight-storey, 160-suite hotel, will be located in the BarrelYards project at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive.
Domain Hotel will be owned and operated by Decade Group Inc., a real estate development company which owns the Station Park All Suite Hotel in London, Ont.
Construction of the $25-million high-end hotel is expected to begin next year. The hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2011, councillors were told at a recent meeting.
Last September, Waterloo politicians unanimously approved the $250-million downtown development with two condo towers, apartments and the hotel.
The project includes 1,000 residential units on the former Canbar lands.
"This will be a landmark destination," Bob Siskind of Decade Group told councillors.
Siskind said travellers to Waterloo, including business people, will have a facility that will accommodate short stays as well as long-term stays.
Chris Pidgeon, an urban planner for Decade Group, said market research showed that Waterloo is a strong market for a luxury hotel. The hotel will accommodate business travel with groups coming to the local universities, RIM, Sun Life, the Perimeter Institute and the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
The 130,000-square-foot hotel property will feature a conference room that can accommodate up to 300 people for conferences or wedding receptions. It will also include a pool, a restaurant and patio, spa and fitness centre and underground and surface parking.
The first phase of the BarrelYards project will include the construction of two apartment towers, each 21 storeys high, and 10 brownstone townhouses. The second phase will include the hotel.
Pidgeon said he hopes building permits will be approved by the city by the end of this year.
A luxury hotel good for Waterloo
July 23, 2009
Waterloo Region in general and the city of Waterloo in particular have grown in population and profile far beyond what they were just a decade or two ago.
Particularly since the speedy rise of the computer industry, Waterloo Region and the city have become magnates attracting powerful brains from around the world for both long-term and short-term visits.
Just look at a short list of some of the institutes and companies that draw people to this area: the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Perimeter Institute, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Research in Motion and Open Text.
Regrettably, up to now the city of Waterloo has not been able to provide luxury accommodation to serve the growing market. At present, Waterloo’s hotels are designed to suit travellers on more moderate budgets. The current hotels, of course, serve their market well but they do not particularly cater to the top end of market.
To be sure, there have been many attempts over the years to build a top-notch hotel, but the plans never got beyond being plans.
As recently as the spring, Gulf Development Corp. dropped its proposal to build a luxury hotel on Willis Way between King and Caroline streets. Gulf Development wanted Waterloo council to make more of a financial commitment to the project than it was willing to make.
Now, however, Decade Group Inc. has announced that it wants to build a hotel in the BarrelYards project at Erb Street and Father David Bauer Drive. The hotel would be part of a large $250-million development announced last year for the former Canbar property. In addition to a hotel, the development will also have condominium and apartment units.
Bob Siskind of the Decade Group said the company wants the hotel to be a “landmark destination.” The Decade Group would like council to approve the hotel by the end of the year. If that happens, the hotel might open in the spring of 2011.
This hotel, assuming the Decade Group succeeds in building it, represents a form of coming of age for the city of Waterloo. It is a significant piece in the redevelopment puzzle of the city’s core, known as the uptown area. A superb hotel would quickly gain a reputation both in the region and elsewhere as being a short-term home for affluent visitors to the region.
Waterloo’s core is a long, long way from the core that was once the home of large manufacturing industries such as Seagram’s and Labatt’s. Furthermore, the new high-tech companies that have moved into Waterloo have more than filled the void created when those firms closed their doors.
Waterloo’s core might have suffered a rather embarrassing setback because many Waterloo residents criticized the city’s council for the way it planned the public square at King Street at Willis Way. Some residents — particularly skateboarders — saw the square as nothing but a skateboard park. But most of the critics are quibbling with what council decided to do with the land, not whether it should have done something to try to enhance the core. They just wish the city had implemented a different plan in what is clearly a subjective field.
Significantly, the Decade Group announced its intention to build its hotel during a recession. That decision can be interpreted in no other way than as a vote of confidence in the future of the city and the region.
Of course, this recession has hurt many businesses, but, apparently, the Decade Group believes that this part of Ontario has great potential to become even more prosperous than it is. No development company is going to build a luxury hotel in an economically depressed area.
For the sake of the city and the region, let us hope that the Decade Group’s plan does become a reality and that a first-rate hotel opens it doors in 2011.
Domain Hotel Media Release 1
Domain Hotel Media Release 2
Last edited by Spokes; 07-15-2010 at 06:38 PM.
Wow, I'm surprised a thread for this development hasn't been created yet. Thanks for setting this up leaffan.
Yeah I really like this development and think it would be amazing for the Waterloo core, but I like most people are starting to have my doubts whether it will ever be more than a dream. I do have a few complaints about the project besides the never ending timeline. I wish the hotel had more of a street presence along Erb, and that it had a unique look to it, unlike the suburban feel that it does have. I would have liked to see some trails running through the project to connect to Waterloo Park (as discussed at the Uptown waterloo visions meeting). I don't know about anyone else but I also like that office building render that is on the sign in front of the lot, maybe a little more glass but I think it looks fairly unique for this region. But at the same time I like the atrium that connects the two mixed use buildings. I just hope the project happens, for one thing it will add a lot of residents to the uptown core, it will add a tremendous amount of height to the uptown skyline, and it gives uptown a key mix use project. I would like to see what sort of green initiatives they are planning. This is the type of development big enough that they should be trying for a green source of power (like solar, or geothermal) to power a percentage of the project.
One other thing is the development is so massive and so important to Waterloo but Auburn hardly has any information available on their website about the project. I also find it odd about Auburn that there is no condo sales office set up on the site, or no details about the different layouts, prices, amenities available at the buildings (very similar to The Arrow Lofts project). Also the hotel plan changed drastically from two seperate hotels for long and short stays to one hotel, so I am hoping if any other details of this development change that they are positives.
I know...I almost don't want to get my hopes up..I agree the hotel design could be better. Also they say they will have a branded restaurant in the hotel but no detail on what that will be. "Hopefully" this starts in the spring. If they are worried about the condo sales why don't they just build the apartment buildings first. They will rent out with that location.
Also maybe one reason they are delaying the office section is that they can't line up a major tenant.
They are planning on doing the apartment buildings first, not the condo buildings. That's why we haven't seen a sales office. (same with Arrow....rentals)
You're right though, this project is far from the pinnacle of urban design. Any street presence the buildings seem to have is on the streets within the project. Buildings are oriented in, rather than facing Erb for example.
Well to be fair the mixed use office buildings on the corner or Erb and Father David Bauer have a decent amount of street presence, but the project expands such a large area that the street presence brought by these two buildings seems insignificant , I think anyways. But even if the apartment buildings are constructed first, you would think they would start trying to sell units ahead of time because two 25 storey condominiums hold alot of units, which is great for Uptown or atleast advertise the price range and unit sizes or something to give people who are interested in buying at the property an idea of what they are looking at. But then again maybe they plan to build capital funding for the rest of the project through renting on the two 21 storey apartment buildings. I have really no Idea, but I would like see and hear more action out of the developer about this project soon.
I hear ya. I'd love to hear something. Anything
You're right, there is more street presense then I gave credit for. I forgot that the office buildings will be mixed use, which makes a big difference. It'd be nice to see some of the apartment/condo buildings be mixed use as well.
Although this doesn't mean much, and at first I thought I was seeing things. Signs of life?
Hopefully they actually plan to get things going on this. I would really like to see them start the highrises.
Hopefully this is a start to something. Probably for the Hotel but it would be nice to see a apartment building start also
The dozer is there to plow down the "Now Leasing" sign.
Today when I drove by, there was a back hoe moving some dirt around, with another worker present, I hope this is another sign that things are going to get moving on this project.
This is from the "Waterloo's State of the City Address | March 5, 2010 "
If you want to talk about significant transformation, let’s talk about the Barrel Yards on Father David Bauer Drive. A construction value of more than $200 million. Two new 21 storey residential units. Two 11 storey office towers. Two 25 storey condominium towers. And an eight storey hotel. Beginning later this year, construction activity on this site will be constant. What a tremendous addition to our core this well be!
This would be fairly big change to the previously discussed plan, elimination of the 18 and 12 storey apartments, and 6 and 8 storey retail and office buildings and replaced with two 11 storey office towers. This is very interesting. Id like to see the 18 storey apartment kept as well as the additon of the two 11 storey office buildings, but who really knows whats going on with this project at the moment.
I am wondering if this was said mistakenly.