KW Oktoberfest building to undergo transformation
KITCHENER -- The KW Oktoberfest office in downtown Kitchener is getting a facelift through a joint redevelopment venture, the festival announced in a release on Monday.
KW Oktoberfest will move its headquarters to 2 King Street West in Kitchener, the former BMO building.
The festival's current building at 17 Benton St. will be purchased by Hans Haus Inc. for $1.3 million as part of a joint project between Woodhouse Group and mortgage firm Brightpath Capital Corporation.
Oktoberfest executive director Alfred Lowrick said while he's sad to leave the building, it's the right move for the festival's future.
"We have this infrastructure built up, and for what? For a week and a bit? It made no sense economically, so we had to make some changes," Lowrick said. "You know, the economic situation that we're in, we had some losses over the last number of years. So it came to us in saying here's an opportunity to gain some capital."
According to the release, the plan is to reveal more of the building’s century-old brick and beam character. The castle facade of the building is also expected to be stripped.
Brightpath will occupy offices on the second and third floors, while the main floor and basement will be renovated for a restaurant or retail space.
“It’s welcome news that this recognizable property in downtown Kitchener is being renovated and redeveloped to serve the community and its tenants in new ways,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic in the release.
Construction is set to begin in early June, with occupancy expected early next year.
The change comes as the 53-year-old festival prepares for its second year of virtual programming amid the pandemic.
"What's likely is that we're going to see something that we had last year with some enhancements," said Lowick. "We can pivot. I'll call it a month's notice."
This year’s festival will run from Sept. 24 to Oct. 11.