Kingston’s former women’s prison is set for a major redevelopment

Click to play video: 'A massive redevelopment plan seeks approval from Kingston’s Planning Committee'
A massive redevelopment plan seeks approval from Kingston’s Planning Committee
Kingston's former prison for women is set to be turned into seniors' housing, a hotel and condo spaces in a massive redevelopment if approved by the city's planning committee and council. – Oct 6, 2022

After sitting vacant for two decades, a massive redevelopment is coming to Kingston’s planning committee Thursday night for approval that would give the city’s old prison for women a new lease on life.

The plan would see the former prison administration building and cellblock along Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard turned into a seniors’ continuum of care, a hotel and condos.

“We’re quite excited about the project and we think that we’ve presented a project that’s good for the neighbourhood, good for the city and will be good for the residents of this project in the end,” said project partner Martin Skolnick.

Local developer Siderius Developments Limited purchased the property in 2018. Outside, the property would feature park space, a memorial garden and an outdoor gallery to commemorate the site’s history and the lives and deaths of former prisoners who spent time in the former prison.

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“It’s still front and centre in a lot of people’s minds what happened here so we’re very sensitive to it and we’re working with other people to help advise us on the best thing to do,” Skolnick told Global News.

The former prison has a number of internal items of historic, cultural value, according to the city — including a large cell locking mechanism that will need to be included in the restoration and a representative cellblock.

“We intend to donate one of the mechanisms to the museum, there’s another museum in Ottawa that’s expressed interest so we are waiting to hear back whether they would like one of the mechanisms. The other two will be kept on-site and be incorporated into static displays, one of which will be … we’ll be rebuilding a cell in one of the public amenity spaces with the building,” said Skolnick.

Ahead of the revamp, the developer will need to clean up contamination on the site from its past as a correctional facility. The plan would also allow Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard to be widened to accommodate the extensive plan at a later date.

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