HIP Developments ready to deliver on Cambridge Gaslight District
“It’s going to be the place you are going to want to live, work, play and raise your families.” : Greg Durocher, Cambridge Chamber president of Commerce
Typical ground breaking ceremonies involve helmets, gold shovels and dirt, so what do you do when your project sits on bedrock and there is no dirt? If you are HIP Developments you figuratively “blast some rock,” which is what happened Sept. 27 for the launch of the next phase of the Gaslight District development on Grand Avenue.
Using the 150-year-old, stone buildings as a backdrop, HIP staged a groundbreaking event that was part rock concert featuring the Phil Naro Band, and part Cirque du Soleil extravaganza with acrobats, fireworks and pyrotechnics.
It also marked the launch of sales for the second condominium tower and its 196 units, drawing about 3,100 people over the course of the night.
Joel Doherty, HIP’s director of development tells the Times: “By the end of the night, Phase 2 sales reached nearly 80% sold and eclipsed $42 Million! It was another statement of the confidence in the Gaslight District and Downtown Galt.”
Meanwhile the sales team is continuing to market the remaining one and two bedroom units while working through a number of appointments scheduled this week.
“We now have all our permits and all our permissions and now we don’t have to ask anybody for anything to start breaking ground and delivering on the Gaslight District,” HIP president Scott Higgins told Friday night’s crowd.
In September 2017, HIP Developments staged its Day in the District event, where it launched the sale of units in the first tower. An estimated 10,000 people attended and within three days 90 per cent of the 197 available units had been pre-sold with roughly 90 per cent being Cambridge residents.
“This is going to be a game changing development,” Greg Durocher, president of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce told the crowd. “This is going to be the place, where no matter where you live in southern Ontario it’s going to be the place you are going to want to live, work, play and raise your families.”
Duorcher also announced that the chamber will be opening a satellite office in November at Grand Innovations, which is next door to the Gaslight District.
Mayor Kathryn McGarry told the crowd: “Old is meeting new in an incredibly exciting development. This is where it is coming together.”
For HIP Developments the Gaslight District is a dream project.
“Where else could you get 150-year-old buildings on five acres in a downtown area, next to a river with a theatre next door,” he said.
Those 150-year-old building are what makes the project unique and HIP is investing about $50 million in their adaptive reuse, where Doherty says they will “blend the old with the new.” Work began on the three buildings that make up the U-shaped Southworks industrial complex over a year ago.
The largest is the Fraser Street building. It will become home to the head office of Energy+ sometime in the next 18 months, meanwhile construction crews are toiling to complete Tapestry Hall, a massive 20,000-square-foot space for The Gaslight Events Company. With seating for 650 people and standing room for more than 1,100, it will have kitchen facilities, bar, bridal lounge, a stage, 20-foot-wide video screen and a large art installation over the main entrance. It will open in November and its first event is the Google Christmas party.
Gaslight Events will also operate the Tap Room, with seating for up to 150 people and windows overlooking the new brewery.
The Foundry Brewing Company will also open before year’s end. It will be Galt’s second craft brewery and plans to specialize in lager beers.
The upper two floors of the Fraser Street building are being converted to office space. One floor is already leased, while the top floor is still available.
The second building, on Grand Avenue, will be home to the Foundry Tavern on its ground floor, while HIP Developments will be moving its offices to the second floor.
The last wing of the “U” has seen the most alteration. The building’s west end was partially demolished to make way for one of the two towers. A portion of the east end of the building will also be dismantled to create a courtyard and major entry to the plaza being dubbed Gaslight Square.
The massive cobblestone courtyard will feature a large platform stage for outdoor events, seasonal outdoor kiosks for food, arts and crafts as well as several art installations and video screens. It will be a space where people can meet, interact and enjoy themselves.
The last stone building will house The MRKT, a boutique food market; the Underwing Whisky Bar and lounge; an unnamed restaurant; and more office space.
In the next phase of the project the two residential towers will be built with retail space at ground level of the first tower, five-storey parking structure and number of artists’ studios. Plans for the second tower also include artists’ studios on the ground floor, 196 condo apartment units, and five-storey parking structure with sixth floor terrace. It is anticipated that the bulk of the Gaslight District will be completed by 2022.