Construction woes move businesses
The initial plan to build a 25-storey condominium building at the corner of King Street and University Avenue across from Wilfrid Laurier University has seemingly come to a halt. On the land directly north of the local Starbucks and Pizza Pizza now sits a fenced-in hole filled with mud.
Tanem Developments Ltd., the owners of the land for both sites, refused an interview when contacted by The Cord. A representative from the company only stated that the project was on hold.
Danielle Ingram, a development planner with the City of Waterloo, did confirm that “[Tanem Developments] do have site plan approval. They did get all of their development approvals in place so it went through all of the processes necessary to go ahead and build.”
Last year, The Cord reported that Tanem Developments Ltd. had hoped to begin construction this past spring. The new stores, including the salon Spabar, moving in to the existing building suggest otherwise.
Starbucks and Pizza Pizza have remained in the plaza and currently show no sign of relocating.
“Currently, there’s no plans to move anybody, that all fell to the wayside,” said Jeremy Wright, manager of Starbucks.
The prospects of the condo has had its effects on many businesses that previously existed in the plaza.
Locally owned MacDonell’s Village, a favourite restaurant of many students, closed and moved last fall, reopening at an uptown location this summer under the name Ish & Chips.
Rogers and Runner’s Choice also moved to the nearby 255 King St. Plaza. Although Booster Juice renovated a new location at the same plaza, the original store remains open at King and University.
Wright also referred to the new businesses that have appeared neighbouring Starbucks, stating, “I can tell you the building here is under new ownership and all the buildings are being refilled.”
Ingram explained that any drastic alterations to the plans for the site, notably with the zoning requirements, would not be a simple process to get changed. “What the city council ended up approving on the [initial] application was pretty tight,” she said.
If plans have changed, “it could be a zoning change process or it could be a minor variance process. It all depends on the proposal that’s coming before us,” Ingram stated.
Following the planned relocation of the existing businesses, construction was originally estimated to take between 12 and 18 months to complete. While that timeline no longer appears applicable, the representative at Tanem Development Ltd. speculated that more information regarding the site will become public in the next month.