Developer chosen for Guelph’s Baker District project

Preliminary artist rendering of what Guelph's Baker District redevelopment could look like once developed. City of Guelph / Supplied

The city of Guelph is partnering with Ottawa-based Windmill Development Group for the redevelopment of the Baker District in the downtown core.

Windmill was chosen out of four contenders and councillors signed off on the partnership during a meeting on Monday night.

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“Windmill’s proven development experience, financial strength, ambition and award-winning design excellence align with the city’s vision and objectives for this important downtown project,” said deputy CAO Scott Stewart in a statement.

The anchor of the redevelopment will be a new main branch of the Guelph Public Library and also feature retail, residential and commercial spaces.

Councillors were told the project will create 950 jobs during construction, 190 permanent positions once the work is complete, 500 new residents, $7 million in retail spending per year and approximately $900,000 in annual property taxes.

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“We’re confident that Windmill and their team has the necessary experience to develop Baker District, and in particular a library building that will meet the expectations of the library board and our community,” said Steve Kraft, CEO of the Guelph Public Library.

The project has been in the works since 2007 and the city hopes shovels are in the ground by 2023 or 2024.

In the meantime, the city said it will negotiate a development plan with Windmill and their partners. The plan will be presented to council in 2020.

The city said the overall investment in the Baker District redevelopment will total approximately $315 to $360 million.

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Before signing off on the partnership Mayor Cam Guthrie said it was one the proudest moments in his time on council and as mayor.

“This is extremely great for our whole community,” he said. “This is not just for the library, this is not just for Baker Street, this not just for the downtown core. This is going to impact positively our whole city.”

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