Business owners worried about redevelopment of Kitchener plaza
Big changes are in store for a busy retail plaza in south Kitchener.
An application to redevelop the plaza at Homer Watson Boulevard and Pioneer Drive has been filed with city hall.
Janine Oosterveld, the city’s manager of site development, said Wednesday that the city has “just received” the application.
The application called for a 130,000-square-foot plaza to replace the existing stores.
According to Oosterveld, the redeveloped plaza would include a “primary anchor” store standing on its own, with other retail units around the perimeter of the property.
Typically, it can take six to eight months before a redevelopment proposal like this one is approved.
No construction can occur until that happens – but demolition is possible, and that has some owners of existing Pioneer Park businesses concerned about their futures.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Minh Tran, the owner of the Ming’s Dynasty restaurant, said in an interview.
Like other business owners in the plaza, Tran has heard that demolition could start in October, but might be postponed until the spring of 2017.
He says he doesn’t expect his employees to stick with him through a prolonged closure for construction, and thinks that “unless some miracle happens,” his business will close.
“It takes a long time to rebuild,” he said.
Next door at Pioneer Hairworks, owner Shelby Tillker says she’s “heartbroken” by news that she’ll have to move out of the plaza, even if it is only temporarily.
“They would like us back in the plaza, but we don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
“I plan on continuing, no matter what … but it’s going to be a rough road.”
In an email to CTV News, the owners of the property said that they plan to redevelop the site to improve the shopping experience for customers of the businesses there.