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Polocorp to build 5-tower, 1,500-home project in Kitchener

A rendering of Polocorp's five-tower development planned for Ottawa and Mill streets in Kitchener, Ont., just west of Toronto. (Courtesy Polocorp)
A rendering of Polocorp's five-tower development planned for Ottawa and Mill streets in Kitchener, Ont., just west of Toronto. (Courtesy Polocorp)

Polocorp Inc. has 45 years of integrated land development experience and the Kitchener-based firm has just received approval for its most ambitious project: a hometown, five-building mixed-use community with approximately 1,500 residential units.

Polocorp was founded in 1978 by Paul and Louise Puopolo and was primarily a greenfield developer of single-family-home subdivisions in its formative years.

That’s still a major part of its business, but it has also expanded into infill and high-rise development.

While Paul remains chairman and senior counsellor and Louise secretary treasurer, their sons Joseph and Mike became co-chief executive officers just over a year ago.

Polocorp also provides single-family residential rental units, a small amount of leased office space and more than 500,000 square feet of industrial warehousing, as well as property management services for more than a million square feet.

“We're a boutique company, but we really try and punch above our weight,” Joseph Puopolo told RENX. “We work with a lot of different partners and a lot of different groups. 

“We're really interested in design and trying to create high-quality space. We're really interested in working with the community. We do a lot of different work with different groups in terms of philanthropy."

Polocorp’s iPlus (Integrated Planning Land Use Solutions) division specializes in optimizing large-scale land-use opportunities to bring projects to fruition. It works with multiple shareholders to resolve issues in the design, approvals, construction and sales phases of a project.

“We try and embody the notion of being community builders in every sense of the word," Puopolo said. "It's not just about building the physical spaces, it's about understanding people's relationships with them.” 

Mill and Ottawa development

Polocorp has assembled six homes and two industrial buildings from 455 to 509 Mill St. from individuals, as well as Delta Elevator, over the past 10 years for its new long-term development.

It will be constructed at the corner of Mill and Ottawa Streets.

“We had no residents give any opposition and we got a unanimous vote from all the council members at planning committee,” Puopolo said, noting strong support for the project which continued when it received final approval from city council.

The site is next to the Mill Street light rail transit (LRT) station and the development will offer new access to it as part of an “entry park” that Polocorp will partner to build with the City of Kitchener.

The proposed Mill and Ottawa development’s buildings will range in height from 15 to 44 storeys, providing approximately 1,500 residential units and approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial space for which daycare, pharmacy, small grocery, restaurant and supplementary retail tenants will be targeted.

There will be a mix of condominium and purpose-built rentals and 50 of the units will be designated as affordable housing.

The unit mix will be approximately: 70 per cent one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-den; 25 per cent two-bedroom; and five per cent three-bedroom.

Buildings will have rooftop patios and amenities and likely a unique amenity in each podium that will be accessible for all residents.

“We want to create a full community where people don’t feel isolated from each other, but have the ability to interact with each other,” Puopolo said.

Additional public park space, a commercial promenade and a community centre are also included in the plans. Polocorp has committed $250,000 over 10 years to be put toward programming for the community centre.

There will also be parking spaces for 1,141 vehicles and 1,150 bicycles.

The development will be built in phases and is expected to take more than 10 years to complete. 

The first building to be constructed will be the 44-storey tower that will integrate with the LRT stop. Sales are expected to launch in late 2024 or early 2025.

Past Polocorp developments

Polocorp’s past Southwestern Ontario projects include: 

  • Barra On Queen, a just-completed 110-unit mid-rise/townhome infill community at 399 Queen St. in Kitchener;
  • Vista Hills, featuring 250 single detached homes that were just completed on Sundew Drive in Waterloo;
  • Beechwood Estates, featuring 85 single detached homes on Royal Beech Drive in Waterloo;
  • Norwich Pines, featuring single and semi-detached homes on 54 lots in Norwich;
  • Vista Ridge, featuring 40 single detached homes on Langton Drive in Kitchener;
  • Huron, featuring single and semi-detached homes on 40 lots on Old Huron Court in Kitchener;
  • Woolwich, featuring 20 single detached homes on Woolwich Street in Waterloo;
  • 379 Queen Street South, a 16,000-square-foot heritage commercial building in Kitchener that houses Polocorp’s head office and other businesses;
  • and Highland Place, a 25,000-square-foot commercial space in Kitchener.

Polocorp’s other current and future developments

Aside from the Mill and Ottawa development, Polocorp’s current projects include:

  • Southpoint, featuring 308 single detached homes and condo townhouses at 1261 Dundas St. in Cambridge, which is about halfway through construction;
  • Viva, featuring 106 one- and two-bedroom townhomes on an infill site at 33 Mill St. in Kitchener that just finished servicing and is in the pre-sale stage;
  • Forbes Estates, featuring more than 150 single detached homes and condo townhouses at 171 Guelph Ave. in Cambridge, which is awaiting draft plan approval and site servicing;
  • and Niagara, featuring 107 single detached homes and townhouses on Sodom Road in Niagara Falls, where site servicing will begin soon.

It’s too early to talk about any potential future developments with longer time horizons, according to Puopolo, but he said Polocorp is investigating several sites.

“Our bread and butter is within Waterloo Region because it’s our background and we're very strong in this market. But I would say a larger percentage of our portfolio is now looking all across Southern Ontario and also into Muskoka.”

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