Fresh start

Students and residents who frequent the corner of King Street and University Avenue, will be pleased to hear that in the first half of 2012, that hole beside Starbucks will finally be filled and in its place a new commercial building will be erected.

Election and Park Real Estate Capital Inc Property and Management Services purchased the space in September 2010 and are currently the acting agents for the property. “So we’ve really owned it for a year and a bit,” said George Georgiatis, principle with Election and Park Real Estate Capital Inc. “And in that time we’ve just been doing our own diligence to determine what we’d erect on that site. We’ve decided to move forward with a commercial building.”

The new space will is expected host a variety of proposed stores, restaurants and other commercial businesses. “We’re trying to make the corner or king a University a destination place for dining and other student services,” Georgiatis said. “We wanted to ensure that we were offering a building that would cater to a student community, and to the city at large. [We] thought providing a building for commercial [use]— largely restaurants and some other ancillaries, would be the most ideal thing for that area.”

The lot space on King Street has been empty for about two to three years, becoming nothing but a large swimming pool for ducks and geese during most of that time. Before the hole became a common aspect of everyday life on King Street, there was a building in its place, which was eventually demolished by Tandem Development.

“Really [the building] was taken down because there was a proposed development that was going to go up there,” explained Mike Weber, vice president of Tandem Development.

“Basically, working through the whole process we had decided against proceeding with [our own] development.” Tandem Development had planned to create a 25-story mixed use commercial, retail and residential building.

The decision to abstain from going forward, according to Weber, was due to a number of reasons, including cost, time and unsuitable economy.

The rumour that no developer could proceed with construction due to the fact that the Starbucks on King and University refused to relocate during reconstruction, was found to be false.

Mike Weber explained, “When we bought the plaza, we bought the plaza where Starbucks is as well. The day we bought it, we assured the existing tenancies there that we weren’t demolishing anything, that we’re keeping everything there and that we’ll be reinvesting in the area and the building.”

“I’ve kind of heard the same thing you’ve heard,” added John Zurbrigg manager of Starbucks on University Ave.

“I don’t know if it has anything to do with what’s beside us rather than the plaza development.

“It’s nothing that I could really speak of specifically. But I think the whole thing was up in arms because they didn’t necessarily have buyers for this plaza originally. I feel like everything was kind of up in the air but obviously this plaza’s all revamped now and they’ve found owners for it everything’s good to go and now that’s why it’s released.”

Construction on the 10-12 thousand square foot lot is estimated to begin during the first half of 2012.

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