Owners in old Kitchener neighbourhood plan to convert two houses into 10 rental units

KITCHENER – The owners of two houses on Roy Street plan to convert existing office space into rental units.

The Kitchener buildings – Roy St. 61 and 65 – have three residential units and two offices each, which are currently vacant.

Co-owners Windermere Apartments Inc. and Roy Street Investment Inc. are proposing a total of 10 rental units for the homes near Queen and Weber Streets, just steps from the main Kitchener Public Library.

The application rests with the city because the current statutes provide for three residential units, not five in each apartment.

City officials have been collecting public contributions from the neighborhood and the comments have been positive, said Kitchener planner Tim Seyler.

The owners are not proposing any changes to the exterior of either building and the impact on the area will be minimal, he added.

“All (public) comments were technical in nature such as parking lots, garbage disposal and all amenities on site,” he said.

There will be 10 parking spaces, one for each unit, and some outside spaces like a BBQ area and bike rack.

The two houses will remain intact and not demolished, Seyler said.

A city report says the proposal, which sits near the Grand River Transit and Ion bus stops and not far from the city center, is “a convenient location for additional density and modest intensification.”

The neighborhood known as the Civic Center area is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Almost two thirds of the houses were built between 1880 and 1917. Many were inhabited by owners, managers, or workers of some of the key Kitchener industries at the turn of the century, such as the Lang and Breithaupt families.

Many of the houses in the neighborhood are residential, some have been converted into commercial and office uses. The report says the buildings were well finished and well maintained, with little impact on the quality of the street scene.

The properties on the south side of Roy Street are part of the city’s office-residential conversion carried out in 1994 for the secondary plan of the Civic Center.

The intention of the renovation is “to serve as a transition and buffer between the expected higher usage densities along Weber Street and Queen Street and the interior of the district that is to be preserved”.

The report states that the proposed development will respect the physical character of the neighborhood and will “have no impact on the neighborhood’s cultural heritage”.

The five units at 61 Roy St. are expected to be between 475 square feet and 770 square feet. The area at 65 Roy St. will comprise five residential units ranging from 510 square meters to 700 square meters.

In the next steps, the owner applies for a site plan. The development proposal will be submitted to a council committee for approval in the fall, Seyler said.

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