The City of Kitchener says The Boathouse will open this summer as a live music venue operated by Bill MacTavish, owner of downtown Kitchener restaurant Imbibe. 

MacTavish plans to "almost double" the seating capacity at the venue, improve its washrooms and install new light and sound systems, the city said in a release on Monday.

The city will be investing $400,000 for "typical landlord responsibilities such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and accessibility requirements." MacTavish will be spending $168,000 on renovations to the venue, including a new kitchen, new bar and sound equipment. 

 "The city's put in a good chunk of money for lease hold improvements which allows us to use our money to improve the building as a restaurant and live music venue," he said.  

"We want to bring local art, local music, local food, local beer to the Boathouse. We just want to make it comfortable, we want people to be able to relax there."

"There's a lot of work to be done, but so much to look forward to,” he said.  

The city has been looking for a new operator for the venue after the previous one, Kevin Doyle, was forced to leave in September after falling behind on rent and utilities.