Kingston’s ‘Capitol’ condo developer gets approval for second building in nearby location
The same developer behind the controversial Capitol condominium project in downtown Kingston has won approval to construct another high-rise in the city’s midtown.
City council recently gave IN8 Developments Inc. the green light to construct Sage Prestige, a 10-storey ‘luxury’ condo building located on a triangular-shaped lot on the south side of Princess Street between Victoria and Nelson Streets, site of the former Keg restaurant.
“It’s a great project for the city,” said chief municipal planner Paige Agnew.
Agnew, whose department recommended the project to council for approval earlier this month, says staff’s support followed over a year of technical reviews, building design refinements, plus staff and public feedback.
“Significant changes were made to the building in terms of the design along Victoria and Nelson. It helps to make the building fit better within existing single-family neighbourhoods,” she explained.
City councillors approved Official Plan and zoning bylaw changes to the property covering at 652 and 662-670 Princess Street and 551 Victoria Street. It will include residential units and some ground-floor commercial space.
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“I voted for the Sage project,” said Coun. Jim Neill, who represents the Williamsville district where the condo is to be built. “I wouldn’t have supported the initial design but the developer was given 10 ways to improve the project and they bought into every one of those.”
The developer altered the building design to reflect municipal and public input. Among the key changes;
- the upper floors are stepped back from the street level,
- balcony layout has been revised,
- a low-rise limestone heritage building on the corner of Princess and Victoria will be retained,
- street fronting terraces are narrowed to improve the pedestrian experience,
- new greenspace and seating areas are proposed in the rear yard,
- surface parking has been reduced with a proposed mechanical car stacker underground, and no additional parking will be provided off-site.
“From a design perspective it’s ideal. It’s implementing the vision of the Williamsville plan,” said Agnew, referring to the comprehensive Williamsville Main Street plan that sets out rules governing development along the 1.7 kilometre long Princess Street corridor between Division Street and Bath Road.
READ MORE: Kingston's fast growing midtown corridor
Coun. Neill also applauded the developer for its willingness to work with the city to stick to the plan covering building heights, street setbacks, massing and amenities.
“Finally we have developers who are living up substantially to the Williamsville corridor plan and the existing zoning. There’s appropriate setbacks, stepped back heights and no more than 10 stories.”
IN8 president Darryl Firsten first unveiled the project to a skeptical neighbourhood in a meeting in April 2017, noting the proposed condo is within walking distance of Queen’s University but won’t be marketed to students alone. “We think the student market is a big part of Kingston. We want something that would cater to students and many other people in the community.”
Firsten has also tried to ease neighbourhood concerns about noise, litter and traffic.
“We don’t want to build a student ghetto in the sky,” Firsten stated, adding, “I hate to use slang but there ain’t going to be no keggers here.”
The developer has indicated plans to sell studio, one, two and three bedroom condo units, some of which may be rented out to students. About two-thirds of the 325 residential units will be one-bedroom. There will also be over 300 residential and commercial parking spaces.
“The proposed development represents intensification within an area of the city intended to be developed in a pedestrian-oriented form providing increased residential densities and commercial uses to serve local neighbourhoods,” according to the developer’s urban design study.
Agnew says the Sage project, coupled with the recently approved 10-storey Podium building, represents an “exciting” time for Williamsville. The midtown area has been dotted with vacant storefronts and empty lots in recent years.
“It’s going to create taxation and assessment growth for the city and create much needed units for the market.”
She says Kingston’s rental vacancy rate is currently 0.7 per cent, one of the lowest in Ontario.
The fate of IN8’s other high-profile project, the 16 floor Capitol condo located further down Princess Street, is now in the hands of the Ontario Municipal Board following a two-week hearing earlier this year.
Residents and other groups appealed the downtown condo over concerns with the height, massing and potential negative impact on the downtown’s low-rise heritage buildings.
It’s not known when the OMB adjudicator will rule on the Capitol project.
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