The plan to redevelop the site of the former Kress Hotel in Preston returns to council on Tuesday with a recommendation from staff and a promise from the developer to provide almost $500,000 to the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, if it is approved.
The long-vacant property at 255 King St. E., where mineral spring-fed baths once drew visitors from around the world, could eventually be the site of three mixed-use condominium towers consisting of 600 units.
The towers would be 14 to 16 stories tall and feature commercial and retail uses on the first floor podiums.
Planning staff recommends Council adopt the official plan and zoning changes proposed by the developer, along with a revised Heritage Impact Assessment.
A decision by council on Tuesday in support of the recommendation would send the application to the region for final approval.
The property on the corner of King Street East and Fountain Street is seen as a gateway project for the core of Preston, but it is directly opposite P&H Milling Group, a company that operates a factory next to the Speed River since 1807.
In a letter to the city, the company’s attorney says his client is concerned about the plant and that the viability of its continued operations will be threatened by the introduction of the towers. It also indicates that there has been insufficient consultation with existing industries to ensure compatibility.
Noise complaints from residents in the towers are the company’s biggest concern, but traffic from the development is also a concern.
The applicant is proposing three towers connected by a parking podium to a commercial unit at ground level and would include a total of 652 parking spaces.
Recommended changes to the city’s official plan and zoning bylaws would allow a maximum of 600 units where only 313 are currently permitted, a maximum building height of 16 stories where no height restrictions currently exist, fewer parking than currently required and residential units on the first floor of a mixed-use building. Commercial units would also not have on-site parking provided.
The Region of Waterloo has reviewed a traffic impact study to support the construction of Fountain Street access and supports a plan to make King Street access left-right only access.
In addition to supporting the planned LRT route as it is within walking distance of a future “major transit station”, staff also believe the project aligns with provincial, regional and municipalities and supports affordable housing through the contribution to the reserve fund.
“The proposal represents good planning that contributes to the creation of complete communities with a desirable compact building form that will incorporate a high standard of design,” reads the staff report.
Tuesday’s special council meeting begins at 5 p.m. and will be streamed on the City of Cambridge’s YouTube channel