Happy Holidays from the MHBPNA Blog

For 2010 the MHBPNA Blog has posted 57 entries (this is #58). Some of these have been short announcements and others have been longer posts on events in our neighbourhood. In 2009 there were 50 posts. In addition to the articles there is a calendar to the right which announces events like NMA meetings, Breithaupt movie night etc.

Readership numbers vary, for example during the recent election we sent questions to the candidates and they responded and that stirred a fair amount of activity on the site. Over the past few months we have averaged around 200 readers per month and we thank all of you for stopping by.

There is also a MHBPNA Facebook membership. This was created largely to be able to post links to the Kitchener Facebook page when we have added a particularly interesting article. If you are on Facebook you should "friend" the city of Kitchener and you will receive many interesting announcements of local events.

The BLOG versus the WEBSITE

The Blog's purposed is to report events as they happen and announce what is going in in our area. MHBPNA also has a Website hosted by Google Sites here, and it is a collection of documents from various committees, meeting minutes and documents that describe the history of our organization. The website will be updated next week to include information about the Annual General Meeting this fall.There is also an archive of old newsletters on the website.

The BLOG is YOU:

Please send us photos of neighbourhood events, or sending an email to mhbpna@gmail.com if you have an event you would like advertised.  Consider writing an article about something, or someone, in our neighbourhood. So if you, or someone you know, has something to say about our area, then let us know!

Skating is good for you: If you would like to know about the "Free" skates and public skating in general, the City of Kitchener has a page devoted to that and it is here.

Have a great holiday season and a wonderful 2011!


"Inside" the Breithaupt Block

As faithful followers of this Blog will have read here, on November 13th and 14th 2010, the Breithaupt Block hosted an art show. Sonya Lewis from the KPL gave an excellent talk on the history of the building, and Craig Beatty, from Perimeter Development Corporation, gave us a tour of the building.

You fortunate readers get to see some of the photos I took with my trusty iPhone. This is a great chance to see "inside" some buildings you might drive or walk past several times in a month.

Here, Craig is discussing the overall project timeframe, from when they initially purchased the building to when they expect residents to move in. Remember, click on any of the images to see a larger version.

This was the perfect time for a tour because the large equipment, that filled many of the rooms, has been removed, but the refurbishing has not yet started and nothing is currently rented. I attended the Tannery's open house a few weeks ago, and one of the developers took us on a short tour, but because many of the spaces were rented, we could no longer walk through those areas. But with the Breithaupt Block tour, Craig took us from one end of the buildings to the other and up to the third or fourth floor (I cannot remember how many steps we climbed).

Here is an example of what much of the inside looks like. Craig said one of the great features of these structures is all the high ceilings that you just don't get with today's buildings. The first phase of the renovations will focus on one of the buildings in the middle. They want to get a number of smaller clients into the space initially and then create more custom spaces for larger clients as the building's "vibe" grows:

This is the inside of the building which is next to King street so you can probably recognize the orange coloured window panes. Most of the buildings will be renovated into smaller offices, but the owners would like this building to house a major tenant who will use the entire space.  Initial occupancy of the first office space is more than a year away.

Hey look, some more high ceilings and beams. It is interesting to think of how the buildings will be transformed from a large, empty, industrial site with broken windows, to a set of functional office buildings with a mix of tenants. This is a great development for the area and will get synergy from the Tannery, Pharmacy and medical centre.

Imagine if you will, a high tech company, or group of accountants, or several enterprising business people engaged in ________ sitting in this space and looking out the very large windows. They might even be surrounded by several 4-D screens displaying the future of the universe!

Craig Beatty explained how some of the walls have had large areas cut out where the former owners moved in huge machines. The developers can take advantage of these "cutaway" walls by replacing them with floor to ceiling glass to give that space a different look and feel.

And if you have gotten a little dirty at the end of the day, perhaps a quick shower will freshen you up before heading home on your Segway!

When Perimeter bought the property they thought it was in a great location and that the buildings looked very good. But they weren't sure what each one was really like because there was so much equipment that filled the rooms. When the equipment was removed they got some great surprises like this room with the beautiful wooden joists and beams.

After our 40 minute walk though the several buildings making up the "Breithaupt Block" it was nice to get back to the hum of civilization and the art show.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into the interior of this development. We will be watching it transform over the next months and years.

Ted P.


King Street design wins International Community Places Award

This is a press release from Kitchener City Hall. The MHBPNA Blog really likes how downtown Kitchener has been re-developed. It's pretty cool.

KITCHENER – The City of Kitchener and the IBI Group were recently awarded a prestigious Community Places Award at the International Making Cities Livable Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

The award recognized King Street’s sustainable streetscape, as well as the innovative design for flexible, summer/winter sidewalks, which have succeeded in drawing more people downtown.

Other features of the new streetscape include:
Wider sidewalks;
Flexible parking options with Euro-style removable bollards which improve the core’s capacity to host more special events;
Improved lighting;
Myriad of environmental features, including more than 120 new street trees, sustainable planters that filter storm water before it enters the sewers;
Additional bike rack and bus stops.

“We are delighted that our newly redesigned King Street has been selected for the 2010 Community Places Award,” said Cory Bluhm, Kitchener’s manager of downtown community development. “The city is not just building a street; it’s building a vibrant people place.”

To be eligible for the award, projects were required to meet the following criteria:

Well designed
Provide a beautiful addition to the fabric of the city
Carefully planned and constructed
Contribute to the character of the place
Improve the overall quality of the urban environment
In addition, this year’s submissions also had to show a strong contribution to bringing people - youth in particular - back downtown.

So far this year, events held downtown have enjoyed record attendance. In fact, since 2003, the number of pedestrians on King Street alone has doubled during a typical day.

“This project has also re-energized existing businesses; many of them are looking at ways they can contribute to the new look and feel of the downtown,” Bluhm said.

The International Making Cities Livable Conference hosts hundreds of the world’s leading planners, architects, urban thinkers and community builders from North America and Europe. Previous winners of this award include: Jamieson Square in Portland, Oregon; Lakeside Master Plan in Chicago, Illinois; and hTo Park in Toronto. For more information about this award, please visit: www.livablecities.org and search 2010 design awards.