Kitchener site of Downtown Auto, Kava Bean Bistro sold to developer

Local developers plan to build a 25 storey condo at the location where the Downtown Auto and Kava Bean Bistro property are located.

25-storey condo to be built at current site of Downtown Auto and Kava Bean Bistro

25 storey condo residential tower with ground floor retail will be located at the Charles and Guakel location in downtown Kitchener. (Joe Pavia)

A 25-storey condo residential tower with ground floor retail will eventually take over the property at the corner of Charles and Gaukel Streets in downtown Kitchener where Downtown Auto Centre and Kava Bean Bistro now operate.

The half-acre property has been purchased by Momentum Developments, who are working in partnership with Zehr Group.

"This is a continuation of a series of buildings that we've been a part of over the last 5 years. 100 Victoria is a partnership we started with Zehr Group about a year ago and this is the next phase. We're moving a little more into the core," said Brian Prudham, principal with Momentum Developments.

The deal is set to close in the fall of 2017. During that time the developers will work on the planning approvals and site cleanup, which could mean shovels hit the dirt in about 18 months. 

The location is nestled in between Kitchener City Hall to the north and Victoria Park to the south, directly on the Charles Street LRT line. 

The developers are part of other builds in downtown Kitchener including the six-acre condo site at King and Victoria and the former Ratz-Bechtel funeral home. 

"We're big on trying to create an opportunity where someone can live, work and play, all within walking distance of each other," said Zac Zehr, manager of development with the Zehr Group.

Zac Zehr with the Zehr Group and Brian Prudham with Momentum Developments stand outside the newly purchased property at Charles and Gaukel Streets in downtown Kitchener. (Joe Pavia)

Downtown Auto to open new location

Downtown Auto owner Greg Pilecki plans to look for a new location to open up shop somewhere outside of the downtown Kitchener core.  He became owner of the location in 1991, six years after he started working there.

Pilecki admits the LRT construction led to a decline in business. But around the same time he was approached by a developer who wanted to make a deal.

"We were approached by a builder and asked if we were interested in selling the property," said Pilecki. " Me and Leanne, my wife, talked about it, came up with a deal and we talked to the kids and family and thought, this will work out."

As for Kava Bean Bistro, Pilecki said the site's new owners proposed that Kava Bean take a hiatus while the development is being built and be given first dibs on a new Kava Bean at that location.

Pilecki plans to have a new auto shop location opened by February of 2018.