On March 26 2012, Keefer Developments Ltd. (KDL) successfully completed the acquisition of the real estate portfolio formerly known as Historic Niagara Development Inc. The portfolio including more than 40 sites holds approximately 200,000 sq. feet of retail and office space along with 60 living units.
Building upon the strong foundations put in place by the former ownership, KDL intends to make several changes to better connect the Queen St. District to the residents of Niagara Falls and the greater Niagara Region at large. We intend to become a "downtown for locals”, KDL will act as a catalyst to help repatriate the downtown into the hearts and minds of the Niagara Falls community.
Working with a strong local team of advisors with financial support provided by the Royal Bank of Canada we believe the timing is right to complete this goal. "We are grateful to RBC for stepping up to be the primary funder of this important project taking place literally on their Queen St. branch doorstep. They believe in the importance of downtowns and supporting this renewal” states Phil Ritchie, President of KDL.
Our historic downtown cores have a role to play in the transformation of Niagara. These precious spaces offer rich history, and a sense of place that define communities and are part of the fabric that makes us who we are as Niagarans. Our downtowns are walkable, filled with unique architecture, and are scaled to make us feel comfortable as we interact with the environment. All of our downtowns offer charm and significant potential. Interesting shopping dining and entertainment opportunities can be found across Niagara.. In our view, downtown Niagara will return to be a focus of local community life. While big box developments will continue to dominate retail, people are yearning for a more intimate and unique retail experience that is so well accommodated in a downtown environment.
We IMAGINE a vibrant locally focused downtown, the heart of the Niagara Falls community, a place where tourists will seek to mix with our local residents drawn by our authenticity, great value, and service.
We BELIEVE our goal will be accomplished following a four point plan;
- Renovate and add residential development.
- We intend to renovate and add 60 new living units to the downtown within the next six months
- Sell a number of buildings to "hands on" entrepreneurs to broaden the diversity of ownership and infuse new ideas and energy
- Lease retail and office spaces at affordable rates dramatically reducing current vacancies
- Work collaboratively with the BIA, City, and other stakeholders to foster new ideas and action to deal with issues that face all downtowns, such as parking, promotion, signage, and property standards enforcement.
The Queen St. district ...also known as "the Q" is undergoing a massive revitalization. There are numerous new developments underway such as;
- The opening of successful niche retail and dining experiences such as; Paris Crepes, Taps Brewery, and Cupolo's
- Ongoing municipal infrastructure investments to enhance public areas such as; walkways, street music, public art, gateway signage, green spaces, and distinctive arches at key Queen St. intersections
- Improved transit connections to the immediate area starting in June 2012 with the addition of the People Mover system connecting Queen St. to Clifton hill, the Great Wolf Lodge and Fallsview areas
We believe that downtown Niagara Falls does have extraordinary momentum. We also happen to have a small advantage that would be the envy of any downtown... international name recognition, and about 10 million visitors per year located just a couple of kilometres up the street.
Imagine and Believe.