raw design reinvents South Western Ontario rust belt site as playground for new economy business
raw design is infusing new life into an industrial architectural site as part of an ambitious program to rescue two full blocks in downtown Kitchener. The $30-million project will reinvent the historic Tannery site and become a catalyst for urban regeneration in the area.
“New tenants at the Tannery will be voting with their feet, signaling their belief in the urban core of Kitchener. The project will transform a low occupancy underutilized facility into a vibrant new district that builds on the industrial heritage of the site. The Tannery will include contemporary design elements appropriate for the Kitchener-Waterloo technology based business community“, says Roland Rom Colthoff of raw design.
Construction is underway, the sales centre is open and an official launch with the city is scheduled for early next month. Toronto-based Cadan Inc, the developer for the project, is behind the flagship development contributing to the transformation of downtown Kitchener. “By targeting the digital media and biotechnology sectors, we will build on the framework started by the City and attract new business to the area. The City’s planning, building, economic development and heritage staff, have all been incredibly supportive”, says Lana Sherman, Managing Director for Cadan Inc.
The Tannery will become a significant convergence centre including; restaurants, new retail, digital and multi-media studios, bio-technology research space, design workshops and professional offices. Building on the robust turn of the century mill construction, raw design will replace or refurbish the aging infrastructure, including the original steam heating and drainage systems, to allow the re-use of major portions of the building. The project will encompass 20,000 sq ft of retail space, and 130,000 sq ft of new office and studio space. In addition the redeveloped site will create an important link between the new University of Waterloo Health Sciences Campus and the commercial core of the city.
Signaling the emergence of a new era, the Tannery is causing a shift in attitudes and creating a new perception in the way people see the City of Kitchener. The renewal will also include a linked series of pedestrian promenades and courtyards to create a highly accessible public urban space. “The strategic insertion of new structures and sensitive renovations will rescue an otherwise forgotten civic icon from the rust belt era. It will proudly re-emerge and remind people of their civic history and social roots”, Rom Colthoff says. “The Tannery forms a clear link between Kitchener’s industrial heritage and its future growth in technologically based business. New economy businesses and artists will work alongside one another in a space that formerly housed the hides used for soldiers’ boots. Raw design is thrilled to be involved in a project that will change the image of Kitchener from boots to brains.”