Manulife plans 25-storey building in downtown Kitchener parking lot

Manulife Financial has big plans for what’s now a parking lot at the corner of Charles Street and Water Street in downtown Kitchener.

The City of Kitchener has received Manulife’s site plan application for a 25-storey building, which details a ground-floor retail space, five storeys of offices and topping off with 20 storeys of residential space, along with parking.

Beverley MacLean, the director of external communications with Manulife said in a statement, the company is evaluating the potential to redevelop part of the parking lot at 85 Charles.

“We have also begun to gauge interest in the proposed project with potential office and retail tenants to determine feasibility of the project,” stated MacLean.

“At this time, no decisions have been made with respect to redevelopment of the property. Manulife is committed to Kitchener and Waterloo, the home of our Canadian headquarters.”


Janine Oosterveld, the manager of site development with the City of Kitchener, told CBC News there is a good mix of proposals for mid-rise to high-rise buildings scheduled to be built downtown.

“There’s a positive energy in downtown Kitchener both from an economic development perspective, in terms of…high-tech businesses locating downtown,” said Oosterveld.

“We also have a downtown exemption to our development charges that’s going to be expiring in 2019. There is an interest in getting development applications through the door so they can get their approvals done ahead of time.”

The site plan is one of at number of projects the city is reviewing in the downtown core and area. Other projects going through a site plan application include:

  • 345 King St. W. for a six-storey office building
  • 114 Victoria St. S. for an office and residential property
  • 24 Gaukel St. which includes 31-storey residential building with ground floor commercial
  • 54 Water St. which is Manulife’s project that includes Francis and Charles
  • 1 Queen St N. 3 storey addition to the existing building (residential units with ground floor commercial)
  • 334 King St. W. 2 storey building with ground floor retail and upper floor office
  • 51 David St. 6 storey residential building
  • 112 Benton St. 15 storey residential building. That is a second building for Arrow Lofts which is has received final approval.
  • 399 Queen St. S. Barra on Queen is a 6 storey residential building
  • 607 King St. W. Sixo (which is a zoning amendment / official plan amendment – no site plan yet
  • 20 Breithaupt St. (which is also a zoning amendment / official plan amendment – no site plan yet
  • 64 Margaret Ave. – (3 and 6 storey residential buildings)