Heritage Foundation releases details on design settlement with IN8

Drawing of proposed 9-storey building at 223 Princess Street. Image provided by the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.

The long debate over the height of a proposed residential building at 223 Princess Street has finally been settled.

IN8, the developer of the residential building proposed for 223 Princess Street, Building Kingston’s Future Inc. (BKF) and the Frontenac Heritage Foundation (FHF) signed Minutes of Settlement earlier this week for a nine-storey condominium building at the address, according to a release from the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, dated Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021. The development proposal will go before Kingston City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021. Approval by Council would result in the settlement being presented to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in the coming weeks to allow the developer to proceed with the downtown Kingston condominium project, the Foundation said.

 According to the Heritage Foundation, the three parties have agreed to:

  • A 9-storey building that is 28.5 m high,
  • 182 units,
  • A 39 degree angular plane with the building extending a small distance beyond the angular plane from floors 6 to 9,
  • Building stepbacks at the 6th and 8th floors,
  • A minimum of two storage spaces per floor with at least 34 storage spaces in the building,
  • A ratio of 0.5 parking spaces for each unit,
  • Bicycle parking to include spaces for ebikes and scooters and to provide a work bench for bike repairs and individual bicycle lockers for at least 10 per cent of the required bicycle parking, and
  • A heritage easement to be placed on the Princess Street facade and theatre marquee.

A community benefit of $61,000 is to be used to finance a study, to be presented to Council before the summer of 2022, on how to improve the public realm on Queen Street between Division and Ontario Streets, according to the release. Recommendations could include improvements to street lighting, sidewalks, active transportation routes, and the planting of trees and plants.

For IN8’s President Darryl Firsten the settlement is a welcome step forward. “I am very pleased as this has been a positive experience in working with people from BKF and FHF who have shown a true spirit of collaboration in arriving at this solution that will see much needed housing built in downtown Kingston,” he said in a statement. “It is rewarding to be a part of something where both sides in a dispute can work cooperatively together for the betterment of all.” He is hoping that, with Council’s and the Tribunal’s approval, construction can begin in early summer.

For the two community groups that appealed the taller building proposals, the settlement proves the value of the community coming together and standing up for Kingston’s unique human-scale downtown and the Official Plan policies that protect it, they expressed.

“It was important to the Frontenac Heritage Foundation to defend the heritage fabric of Kingston’s downtown,” said Shirley Bailey, president of the Foundation. “A nine-storey building respects the city’s planning documents while providing IN8 with a viable development. We appreciate working with a developer who was ready to negotiate a solution for an important site in our historic core.”

Building Kingston’s Future’s president, Samantha King, said that her group had strong financial support from many people in the community.

“People want the policies in the City’s Official Plan to be respected. The settlement for a 28.5 meter tall, nine-storey, building, is only three meters more than called for in the City’s planning documents. We’ve all agreed that that’s very reasonable,” she said.

The Minutes of Settlement have been posted on the City’s website (here) today as part of the Council agenda for its April 6 meeting.

Update: At the Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021 meeting, Kingston City Council voted unanimously to endorse the settlement reached between the developer, IN8, and the two local groups, Building Kingston’s Future Inc. and the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, that had appealed the previous proposal.

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