Princess St. in downtown Kingston is a lively high street replete with everything from used record shops to brewpubs and 130 eateries, and according to the local business improvement area, it’s ripe for new residential development.
“We’ve been advocating for residential intensification for a number of years now and for a number of different reasons,” Rob Tamblyn, director of economic development for Downtown Kingston! BIA, told CREW. “We’ve got 130 restaurants and eating establishments right in this area—and that’s one of the highest per capita in Ontario—there’s Leon’s Centre where the Kingston Frontenacs play, and hopefully will again in the fall, and a number of acts come through there as well; we have festivals in the summer time; we’ve got a skating rink. All these reasons are why we’ve been advocating for residential intensification for so long. We have all the amenities right in the heart of everything.”
Turns out, the BIA is getting its wish. Crown Condos, a nine-storey 182-unit residential tower with grade-level retail, is tentatively slated for occupancy in September 2023, and according to its developer, IN8 Developments, younger end users have expressed the most interest in purchasing there.
“It has great panoramic views of the water, and the location is fantastic, which is why it has a 97 walk score. We have a massive list of people registered who are Kingston end users, and they range from mostly millennials to baby boomers; they’re all people who see value in living downtown,” said Darryl Firsten, IN8’s owner and president. “They see the value and efficiency of living in a condo over a detached house, and they see the value of walking out their front door to all the amenities that Kingston has to offer.”
The city is enjoying a farm-to-table renaissance, added Firsten, with a lot of chefs relocating to Kingston from larger cities, and people are taking notice. All of a sudden, Kingston is the place to be, he says.
Crown Condos is mostly end user-driven but it has also received a fair bit of investor attention, which makes sense considering there haven’t been too many new developments in the area recently and nearby Queen’s University has a student housing shortage.
Downtown Kingston’s recent condo developments attracted older buyers, many of whom, says Tamblyn, are snowbirds. Conversely, Crown Condos is teeming with permanence and that’s good news for Princess St. establishments.
“We can’t wait for construction to start because it’s going to be a huge boost for the downtown economy 12 months of the year,” he said. “It’s a younger demographic than what we already have downtown, and part of the issue with past projects is that they’ve focused on an older demographic, and they’re usually off to warmer climates in the winter. But it’s going to be different with the demographic for this building and it’s very exciting.”