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Inn of Waterloo property owner inks temporary lease with Conestoga College for student housing

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Full-time students at Conestoga College will be able to start moving into the school’s newest housing facility this coming September.

On Tuesday, the college announced it would be temporarily leasing the former Inn of Waterloo and turning it into a residence for roughly 300 students.

In an email to CTV News, a college spokesperson said the school offers housing to all full-time students. The student application portal, she added, will launch soon.

“Rooms are provided on a first come, first serve basis,” spokesperson Brenda Bereczki said.

The Inn of Waterloo closed in December. One of the major reasons cited was damage from a 2021 fire.

A block of the King Street North building will need to be fixed before students can move in.

Conestoga College said it is providing $600,000 to repair the damaged rooms. The work will be completed by Drewlo Holdings – the company that now owns the property.

“The rooms damaged by the fire will be ready for use next January. The other rooms operated by the hotel – not damaged by fire – will be ready for September,” Bereczki said.

Damage to The Inn of Waterloo on Dec. 5, 2023. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener)

Drewlo Holdings has been working with the college for “quite some time” to reach an agreement.

Jerry Drennan, the chief operating officer at Drewlo Holdings, said it’s only a temporary lease as the company is waiting for approval to build multiple apartments, townhouses, commercial and office spaces on that plot of land.  

“It is not anticipated that the necessary planning approvals to facilitate permits and construction will be in place until 2026/2027,” Drennan said in an email to CTV News, adding that the former hotel will eventually be demolished to make way for the company’s planned development. “A three-year lease has been executed with the college.”

Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe believes it’s a good step forward to ease housing pressures felt in the city and region.

“We know we need housing to meet the needs of people at every age, stage and ability and income level,” McCabe said. “Specifically for the Inn of Waterloo, which has been an iconic building in our community for many, many years. It’s a really good repurposing of that space.”

Conestoga College also announced Tuesday it had purchased two other properties in Waterloo – 400 Albert St. and 419 Hazel St – which will also be turned into student housing.

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