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Owner of Square's new Kitchener HQ hopes to revive 'dead zone'

The developer who owns Square's new Canadian headquarters says he hopes to 're-inject some life' to the area, which he says was a dead zone for many years

Tapas and wine bar, juice bar soon to open at 305 King St. W.

Craig Beattie, one of the founding partners of of Perimeter Development Corp., which owns the Kitchener building that will house mobile payment system Square's new Canadian headquarters. (Andrea Bellemare/CBC)

The massive office building at the corner of King and Water streets that will house mobile payment company Square's Canadian headquarters will soon be home to a pair of ground-floor eateries, part of what the building's owner calls an attempt to bring some life to a "dead zone" in downtown Kitchener.

Square, the brainchild of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, announced Tuesday it signed a lease for the location at 305 King St. W.

"We've already started to see a nice mix of different types of tech companies. So they're just going to add to that mix," said Craig Beattie, founding partner of Perimeter Development Corp., which owns the building.

In an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition on Wednesday Beattie said two new eateries, Gilt, a wine and tapas bar, and Pure, a juice bar and cafe, will be opening up on the ground floor of the building.

"One of our priorities when we acquired that building was to really re-inject some life to the ground floor at the corner of King and Water Street. It's been a bit of a dead zone for many, many years. The previous operation didn't bring any life to that corner at all," he said.

The previous tenant, a bar/restaurant called Honest Lawyer, occupied the ground floor, which was a large space. 

Instead of trying to find one large restaurant operator to take over the ground floor, Perimeter elected to split up the space and lease it to the two eateries, Beattie said.

"We've wanted to create a bit of variety there," he said.

Perimeter is still "plowing ahead" with cleaning up the building as it seeks more tenants, according to Beattie.

By and large, tech companies have expressed interest in the vacant space, but some existing tenants in the building are expanding, he said.

The building has 120,000 square feet of space. When Perimeter acquired it, at least 60,000 square feet were unoccupied, said Beattie. So far, Perimeter has filled 20,000 square feet.

"We're thrilled with where we're at. We're ahead of our schedule," Beattie said. 

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