Schneiders property sold; massive redevelopment planned
Published Tuesday, October 3, 2017 10:26AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 3, 2017 7:17PM EDT
One of the most prominent symbols of Kitchener’s past is poised to become a big part of the city’s future.
The former Schneiders plant on Courtland Avenue has been sold to Auburn Developments for an undisclosed purchase price.
The plant, which sits on a 27.6-acre site on the fringes of downtown Kitchener, went up for sale in 2015 after Maple Leaf Foods ended production at the facility.
Although specific plans for the site have not been finalized, CBRE – the company which handled the sale of the property – says it contains enough space for 150,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 2,000 residential units.
“It’s such a fantastic location in the heart of the city, close to (an) Ion station,” CBRE senior vice-president Peter Whatmore said in an interview.
“We had lots of interest in it, but the right buyer at the end of the day is who bought it.”
In a press release announcing the sale, Auburn Developments president Jamie Crich said the company’s plan for the site includes “a range of housing forms and densities” as well as office space, commercial uses and parkland.
“We will create a vibrant neighbourhood and do our best to pay tribute to the history and legacy of the Schneiders operation on Courtland,” he said.
Auburn was behind the redevelopment of the former Arrow shirt factory into condo units, as well as the Barrel Yards development in Waterloo.
For nearly a century, the Schneiders plant produced bologna, sausages, hams and other meat products which were sold across the country.
Some of its employees were regular customers at Fitzgerald Motors, a car dealership located across the street.
Syed Aman, Fitzgerald’s president, hopes the site’s redevelopment will lead to another boom in business.
“I think it could have a positive impact in terms of sales and service,” he said.
Neighbouring homeowners could see a positive impact too. Upon hearing the news Tuesday, real estate agent Drew Dickinson decided to drive down some of the streets around the plant.
“People are going to be looking at these properties,” he said.
“These values, overnight … have skyrocketed.”
Although any actual redevelopment is likely several years away from being a reality, Dickinson pointed to the promise of work happening and the proximity of an Ion light rail transit station as two factors likely to drive up the value of homes in the surrounding neighbourhood.
“Homes that are worth about $300,000, $325,000, they’re probably going to be worth about $375,000, I anticipate, overnight – just because of the rumour of what’s going to be here,” he said.
The first stages of redevelopment work are expected to begin in 2018.
With reporting by Stu Gooden