Editor’s Note: Global Kingston mistakenly reported that two Princess Street businesses, Hakim Optical and Rahim’s Cuisine restaurant would be demolished to make room for the apartment. The development at 576 to 600 Princess Street is, instead, located on the site of a former used car dealership and car rental business. We apologize for the error.
At a time when the city’s vacancy rate has dropped, there could be encouraging news for new housing developments in Kingston.
Two apartment projects are planned for different areas of the city.
The first one is proposed in Williamsville, near the downtown.
The six-storey building includes 176 residential units, with retail space on the ground floor, located at the corner of Princess Street and Albert Street.
“They were asking for a lot of variances, and getting some pushback from the community,” says Williamsville Coun. Jim Neill.
“But they’re good developers. They’ve done some reputable work around town.”
Williamsville district, much like the rest of the city, is in need of more housing.
But Neill says his district needs something more affordable to renters.
“The problem is that what we need is affordable housing,” he says.
“What goes on in the Williamsville corridor of Princess Street is primarily student housing, which is anything but affordable.”
On the other side of town, another apartment-style development is planned.
The site is an unused piece of land behind the Petrie Ford dealership, on the northwest corner of Bath Road and Centennial Drive.
“What they’re proposing is four buildings, each with 60 units in it, for a total of 240 units,” says Tim Park, director of planning services for the city.
“That has a total of 384 bedrooms in it.”
This development is located right across the street from the Frontenac Mall, where a large-scale housing development was recently unveiled for the commercial property, and still needs approvals.
These latest rental housing projects come at a time when Kingston’s vacancy rate plummeted to 1.4 per cent, the second-lowest in Ontario, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing figures for 2021.
New developments like these could help ease the strain on renters trying to find a place to live.
“For a lot of people within Kingston, buying a home is no longer an affordable option,” says Park.
“So by at least providing some more rental units, that helps free up some space.”
Both proposals will go before the city’s planning committee Thursday night, with staff recommending approval of their respective zoning bylaw amendments.