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Costly luxury condos coming to Uptown Waterloo

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The latest condo development in Waterloo comes with quite the price tag.

Anyone who wants to live at the new Isabella Residences at 28 Dorset Street must be willing to pay at least $1.8 million.

The 11-storey building will have 29 units ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 4,800 square feet. Units feature spacious 10 to 14-foot ceilings, with large rooftop terraces and balconies. According to the development’s website, the building will also have a golf simulator, a coffee house, and two commercial spaces on the ground floor.

Representatives tell CTV News they are hoping to attract empty nesters.

“Probably a couple, you know, kids are grown up, [and] they likely have grandchildren. They travel a lot - have other homes around the world perhaps,” realtor Collen Whitney said.

Interior designer Alison Habermehl explained the condos will be steeped in a luxurious style.

Sales centre for the Isabella Residences at 28 Dorset Street in Waterloo. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener)

“The inspiration is definitely a New York European Beaux Arts style,” she said. “Also a lifestyle inspiration where you go to a really great hotel and travel to a great restaurant.”

The Beaux Arts style takes cues from classic architecture and is known for its decorative flair and sense of grandeur. Many famous buildings in New York City share a similar aesthetic, including the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Artist's rendering of the Isabella Residences at 28 Dorset Street in Waterloo. (Source: WHITNEY & Company Realty Limited, Brokerage)

When completed, the new building will overlook Waterloo Park.

“There were two old, dilapidated homes on the site that had been taken down,” Whitney said. “It’s near the library, near the Perimeter Institute. It’s Uptown Waterloo, so it’s walkable.”

Although the price tag will be out of reach for many residents, the team behind the development believes it is exactly what Waterloo Region needs.

However, anyone with the cash to spend will have to wait to move in. The building isn’t expected to be move-in ready until 2027.

Artist's rendering of the Isabella Residences at 28 Dorset Street in Waterloo. (Source: WHITNEY & Company Realty Limited, Brokerage)

Luxury vs. affordability

The development is facing criticism as some people in Waterloo struggle to find suitable housing.

CTV News asked the City of Waterloo if these types of luxury builds are encouraged.

“The city continues to encourage and provide incentives to increase the supply and mix of affordable housing solutions as we implement our Affordable Housing Strategy,” Michelle Lee, the executive officer to the CAO, said in an emailed statement. “We are moving forward with the plan to use city-owned lands to create affordable housing, and we are making $1.1 million in funding available through our Affordable Rental Housing Grant Program to support the creation of affordable rental housing project.”

Lee added that the city is looking at options like inclusionary zoning to require affordable units in private developments, where possible. The zoning stipulation would require the inclusion of up to five per cent affordable housing units in new, multi-unit housing developments. Kitchener recently passed a similar requirement.  

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