New high-rise for Northdale
On the corner of King St. N. and Columbia St. W., a new 22-storey building is to be built, with the deadline being around July 2014. Developed by Schembri Property Management, the building is scheduled to be built by SRM Architecture and will hold 74 units.
Gordon Schembri, of Schembri Property Management, said that he has “owned the property for six years, but have reassigned it to the new design I’ve been working on for about a year and a half.” As with many buildings under Schembri Property Management, the building will be used for student housing.
According to Gordon, the building promises to be more extravagant than stereotypical student accommodations. “It’s going to be a higher-end building with excellent finishes, with granite to road. There’s going to be an abundance of amenities in it. There are three elevators, not the typical two,” he said, adding that the elevators will also be high speed. “It’s going to be a smart building. There’s going to be a lot of wireless features.”
High-rise developments and revamped student accommodations have been common in the revitalization of Northdale, a mainly student-occupied area that is bordered by King St., University Ave., Philip St. and Columbia St.
A plan to redevelop the area was approved by Waterloo city council in November of 2011. The following April, a new bylaw came into effect that limited the number of people in one rental home to three in most instances. Concerns were raised at the time about lack of affordability in housing as a result of new construction.
The apartment is going to be priced at $675 a month and will include amenities such as bike racks and parking, a lounge, included utilities and personal ensuite bathrooms.
Zainulhaq Sayid, a student from Waterloo University who has seen the design, expressed concerns about the influx of people it will bring. The building has a full capacity for 370 tenants. “There might be too many students in the area,” she considered.
Derek Kohlami, another student from Waterloo, added that he wouldn’t pay for the building, based on rent alone. Said Kohlami, “No way, that’s way too much money. I couldn’t afford that.”
Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran had a few comments about the building as well.
“The property has gone through a couple of concepts and changes through time,” said Halloran. ” The concepts, while some being different from today, would have started more than two years ago.”
She added, “A project of this scale usually takes about 18 months to complete after construction has started. Waterloo continues to be a place for developers to invest in and build.”