City announces partner for Baker District redevelopment

An artist rendering showing what the Baker District redevelopment could look like once redeveloped.

Preliminary artist rendering of what the Baker District redevelopment could look like once developed.

Guelph, Ont., July 17, 2018 – The City of Guelph is pleased to announce Windmill Development Group as the preferred partner to lead the planning, design and development for the Baker District project.

The Ottawa-based real estate development company was named last night during a special meeting of Council at which staff presented an update on the project.

“Windmill’s proven development experience, financial strength, ambition and award-winning design excellence align with the City’s vision and objectives for this important downtown project,” says Scott Stewart, deputy CAO of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise.

He adds, “Awarding this project marks a critical milestone in the Baker District redevelopment project as we’re able to move forward with development concepts, getting us closer to revitalizing this underused urban space.”

“We are delighted to have been selected for the Baker Street District redevelopment project. Our entire team is very excited about the potential of this pivotal site and is keen to engage with the City of Guelph and stakeholder groups in a collaborative manner to become your partners in creating a lively mixed-use community,” says Alex Speigel, partner, Windmill Development Group. “Using the One Planet Living framework as a guide, we aim to deliver transformational sustainability to Guelph’s downtown.”

The development team, led by Windmill, includes Diamond Schmidt Architects, DTAH, and Urban Equation Corporation. The companies, who have successfully worked together before, will work closely with the City and Guelph Public Library to arrive at a final plan for the development.

“We’re confident that Windmill, and their team, has the necessary experience to develop Baker District, and in particular a library building that will meet the expectations of the library board and our community,” says Steve Kraft, CEO of the Guelph Public Library.

Last spring, the City invited four shortlisted development teams to submit proposals. Selecting the preferred partner was done in accordance with the City’s procurement process and the governance framework for capital projects.

Over the coming months, the City will negotiate a development plan with Windmill and their partners. This plan will be presented to Council for consideration and direction in 2020.

Background

The Baker District redevelopment is a City of Guelph development project aimed at transforming the existing parking lot and properties fronting the north end of Wyndham Street into a unique mixed-use development, including a new main library.

The Downtown Secondary Plan envisions the Baker District redevelopment becoming a model of urban intensification that drives visitors to the downtown and encourages business to thrive within its boundaries by combining residential and commercial spaces.

Windmill will own and develop the residential and commercial components, and partner with the City in developing the public components (e.g. library, parking and public space). The City will support the development of the site by completing technical studies, environmental site preparation and upgrades to off-site infrastructure. The City will also consider whether support for the development project is available through Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan grant and loan programs.

There will be multiple opportunities for the community to participate in the development of the Baker District, both through the Guelph Public Library as it develops the new library space and programming, and the City as the Baker District design concepts are developed and refined. Opportunities for engagement will be shared with the community as this multi-year project progresses.

About Windmill Development Group

Windmill is a visionary real estate development company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices using the triple bottom line approach of people, planet and profits. The company harnesses innovations that optimize the use of land, water, air, energy and building materials towards a goal of zero ecological footprint buildings. All of Windmill’s projects have achieved LEED Platinum certification.

For more information, visit guelph.ca/bakerdistrict.

Media contacts

Scott Stewart
Deputy CAO, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3445
scott.stewart@guelph.ca

Vakis Boutsalis
Senior Account Director
kg&a
416-537-0954
416-578-1741 (cell)
vakis@kga-inc.com