Conestoga news

May 7, 2024 2:10 PM

Downtown Kitchener building blends modern amenities and historic elements

Conestoga’s latest building in downtown Kitchener is entirely new, but the old building that once stood at the corner of Young and King streets is echoed in its unique design features.

1 Young.jpg
Conestoga's newest location in downtown Kitchener is the region's first new mass timber building.

One Young Street is the first new mass timber building in Waterloo Region. It has all the character of a century brick and beam building with exposed wood and tall ceilings, but with all the modern amenities. The expansive windows are decorated with custom translucent images of the Mayfair Hotel’s brickwork, paying homage to the site’s history while also sharing uninterrupted views of Victoria Park, city hall and the downtown core.

Conestoga took over all but the ground floor of the newly designed building, which required all the finishing work inside to turn it into a learning environment.

The nearly $8-million project is being done in two phases. Phase 1 included the lobby and second floor, which opened to students in January 2024 after work began the previous October. The second phase - floors 3, 4 and 5 - will open in May.

Each floor includes four classrooms, except the top storey, which includes a lounge and gathering space. There’s also space for employees as well as many spots for students to socialize or study. The exposed wood ceilings, columns and beams are featured on each floor.

“One Young Street is yet another example of Conestoga investing in facilities to provide the very best learning environment for our students,” said Peter Thomson, director of Capital Development. “The building is bright, wonderfully designed and the wood structure brings a warmth to the space. Being located in downtown Kitchener, students have access to many amenities, transit and housing options.”

Landlord Ridgewood Holdings Inc., a Kitchener company leasing commercial office space, is excited to welcome the college to the building, located across from city hall with the Ion light-rail system at its doorstop along with Carl Zehr Square and its many community activities.

Ridgewood is proud of the region’s first new mass timber office building. “It’s sustainable, historical and state of the art. The columns, beams, floors and ceilings are made with Canadian grown renewable wood,” said developer Bernie Nimer.

“The ghostly image of the historic Mayfair Hotel demolished 2015 is forever captured to scale in fritted glass and reflects differently based on shadows and direction of the sunlight. The nighttime lights up the beautiful wood skeleton of columns and beams visible through its glass envelope.”

Fritted glass is printed with ink containing small particles of ground-up glass, which is called frit.

Ridgewood is pleased to share this award-winning building with the students and staff of the college, Nimer said.

“Conestoga‘s continued growth in our city provides benefits far beyond the occupancy of a space. This building is unique, as unique as the students who graduate from it.”

Primarily business, computer science and digital media courses are being taught at the new downtown Kitchener site, which is an extension of the Kitchener - Downtown campus on Frederick Street.

“Combining the history of downtown Kitchener with the latest technology, 1 Young is an excellent place for Conestoga’s business and computer science students to learn,” said campus manager Sara O’Donnell.

“The expansive windows provide an exciting view of the buzz of downtown Kitchener; I’m sure it will be hard to not be distracted by the beauty of this building. Our students will love learning in this renovated space.”

Construction at Conestoga

This is part of an ongoing series highlighting construction and renovation projects at Conestoga’s campuses. Continue reading about the college’s investments in the communities it serves here:

Construction summary

Waterloo redevelopment

Guelph - Speedvale renovation

Milton - Steeles Avenue