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May 13, 2023
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As a side project I've been modelling the future skyline of KW, inspiration for it was originally taken from pancanadianskylines on Instagram, who after discovering UT happens to be @ericmacm. Since the last post about the model for KW there's been a bunch of additional proposals that have popped up. There's roughly 30 or so buildings throughout Kitchener alone and a similar amount for Waterloo. As some people might know Kitchener has been working on updating their zoning bylaw in MTSAs for roughly the last year, this has now passed at council meaning there is now no parking minimums, and the zoning is now divided into 4 zones which are reflective of different densities, there is SGA-1 which has a max height of 4 floors, SGA-2 which has a max height of 10 floors, SGA-3 which has a max height of 25 floors and lastly SGA-4 which has unlimited height. None of these zones have FSR restrictions. Everything is regulated via built form restrictions and set backs now (max podium heights, max lengths, set back requirements etc) and each zone covers roughly 25% of the MTSAs. Through the process there was a bunch of proposals and concepts that were made public for the first time, those of us involved in the industry have known about some of these concepts for awhile so now that they are public I have included them in my model.

The massing for the projects is as accurate as I can get with the publicly available documents (CoA, ZBA/OPA), if the height isn't known for the project I generally assumed 3m per floor, however if a developer tends to use a different floor to floor height I used that instead. The models themselves aren't all that detailed at least compared to others models, so if a building has stepbacks as it gains height those aren't included, for KW this only occurs for a few small set of projects.

I have yet to import this into Google Earth so existing buildings and terrain aren't present, the next step is to make an interactive map that includes metadata for the project with @kalis0490 helping with that.

Within the model there is 184 buildings in Kitchener and another 102 within Waterloo, these are a combination of both towers and various midrise projects throughout the city. 49 of Waterloo's buildings come from 4 different master planned projects which all are stuck at the OLT for various reasons or are heading to the OLT so nothing is really progressing in Waterloo.

In general projects are moving through the approval process significantly quicker in Kitchener than Waterloo, just by looking at the skyline and counting tower cranes this becomes apparent (2 up in Waterloo vs 12 in Kitchener). Many of the projects Kitchener has approved in the last 2 years are starting prep work with numerous projects having applied and been issued Demolition permits (459 Mill, 1001 King, 787 King to name a few projects), there is also a handful of projects that currently have applications in place for Foundation/Shoring, and Balance of Construction permits (926 King, The Metz, 88 Queen, Station Park D and a few more).

In the model everything is colour coded to distinguish between the various stages each project is at, Green means the project is complete, Yellow means the project is under construction, Orange means it has approval in some form (OPA/ZBA or SPA), lastly Blue and Pink are proposed projects.

Downtown Kitchener:

Screenshot 2024-04-04 001043.png

Here's a similar photo of the current view (Taken in early 2022 so it has changed with the completion and construction of a few buildings). Duke Tower in the photo is the building that sticks out like a sore thumb, in the model however it blends in with everything it's Green and roughly in the center:

Downtown Kitchener from the Hwy 7/8 interchange (6-57 floors);
Screenshot 2024-04-04 002051.png

Uptown Waterloo (6-30 floors):
Screenshot 2024-04-04 002304.png

Northfield/Conestoga Mall area (52 buildings ranging from 6-35 floors):

Suburban Kitchener is also getting some large projects and surprising density,

Fischer Hallman/Bleams intersection of Kitchener (11-32 floors), up until a couple years ago this was roughly where the city ended as both of these properties were corn fields.
Screenshot 2024-01-15 012252.png

Sportsworld area of Kitchener, ION phase 2 will run along King St in this section with Sportsworld station located directly in front of the cluster of buildings on the left, these buildings range from 8-30 floors:
Screenshot 2024-04-04 003112.png
Hello All,

I'd like to introduce the Waterloo Regional Project Database: This is a collection of over 550 residential and commercial buildings in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Our project map can be found here:

We differ from UT's project database because we
  • Include legacy projects from the past 25 years of urban development
  • Include midrises that are <6fl
  • We track stats for each tower rather than for the whole development complex
  • We track info like the amounts of bike/ automobile parking
Documentation of the project is accessible here:

Special thanks to several WRC members including @ZEBuilder for their contributions to the project map.

In addition to the core project database, I also track

  • Non-optimal uses of land in the region using Openstreetmap's api, (Note the full layer is too large for Google mymaps, and the full layer is available upon request))
  • Exclusive Route-by-route-ridership data of GRT from the last available year (2019) that is not found in standard open data sources.

Additionally, I have experimented with Microsoft's 3D Map Maker to create simple 3D skylines directly from the database - This is a slideshow of some of the views across the region. The long term goal remains to create a 3D interactive map similar to as mentioned in the previous post.

Feel free to message me if you'd like to contribute to the project as we are continuing to add more projects in Cambridge and the suburbs