Former Schneider’s site could be a beautiful urban village

Close your eyes as you stand among the ugly former Maple Leaf-Schneider’s buildings between Courtland Avenue and Mill Street and imagine a gurgling creek flowing through a green, urban village.
That’s the preferred planning vision for the huge 11-hectare (27-acre) site which can accommodate about 3,000 housing units next to the Light Rail Transit tracks at Borden Avenue.
It’s a vision that was on display at a recent public information and one I would like to see start moving towards reality early this fall.
By September I hope councillors, planners and developers will make certain the highest standards of urban design are used on a development where Schneider’s first established its historic meat-packing plant 91 years ago.
Planners are considering a mix of residential, light commercial and other uses on the site.
Some existing buildings will be demolished but I assume the office structure and warehouse could be converted for other uses. Planners are looking at a mix of residential, commercial and institutional and office use along Courtland.
Preferred plans include medium and high-rise residential uses at the back of the site complete with innovation employment sites and possibilities for a brewpub and restaurants.
Best of all on that planning wish list is that Schneider’s Creek, currently buried under the site, could be naturalized and unearthed to create an attractive greenway meandering through what might be dubbed Schneider Village.
All we need as part of such a dream would be some affordable housing.

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2 Responses to Former Schneider’s site could be a beautiful urban village

  1. Chuck Howitt says:

    Has the site been sold yet? Be nice to have some retail in there.

  2. Catherine Owens says:

    Frank – I am not in your ward but follow your blog because you are adjacent to Mt. Hope/Breithaupt and are just as interested as you in the revitalization of areas adjacent to the LRT (I volunteered to sit on the RIENS project). I agree that the Schneider’s property is a wonderful opportunity not only for the City but for potential developers to bring more people into the Core. However I would also offer the suggestion that because of the size of the property it might also be a good idea to promote the idea of single family dwellings. We are seeing an amazing interest in building condos, multiple family dwellings (Mid Towns on Louisa, Sixo, Barra Castle, Charlie West, ODC site beside the cementery on Moore Ave and ultimately the condo buildings in the Regional Transit Hub) in the downtown/mid-town areas but the demand remains for single family dwellings … developing a site this size for single family homes might alleviate some of the pressure to continue to expand the city limits/ the burbs to accommodate single family homes – not everyone wants to live in a condo or townhouse and we need to be careful that Kitchener doesn’t become a sea of high rise buildings with no tenants (like the student mess in Waterloo). We want to bring families to the core and this might be one way to do it. Just a thought …

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