Zehr Group buys former Ratz-Bechtel property to expand major redevelopment site in Kitchener’s core

KITCHENER (Jan 4, 2016) – A group led by the Zehr Group has purchased the historic Ratz-Bechtel property in Kitchener creating a large, five-acre redevelopment site at the heart of the city’s fast-growing transit and technology hubs, the company announced today.

“We’re very excited about the potential for this entire site and it will certainly attract broad interest,” said Don Zehr, CEO of Zehr Group. “It will play a key role in the ongoing transformation of Kitchener’s downtown core, right next to the light transit rail line, the region’s new multi-modal hub and other major tech companies in the area.”

The property at 621 King Street West will add almost two acres to the three acres already owned by the Zehr Group at 607 King Street West. The combined 5.11acres could accommodate over 875,000 square feet of development opportunity.

The site will extend Kitchener’s core rejuvenation – located diagonally opposite the Region of Waterloo’s future Multi-Modal Transit Hub, the Breithaupt Block (where Google and other key technology companies are based), and along the future light rail transit line.

Zehr Group will be working closely with the City of Kitchener as it starts formulating plans for the site.

Well-known for revitalization projects across Kitchener-Waterloo, Zehr Group expects to finalize its development team soon that will assist in creating the vision for these properties.

Historic funeral home Ratz-Bechtel closed its doors just prior to Christmas. The 118-year-old building is listed on the city’s heritage registry, which means some of its 19th-century character will be preserved. First constructed as a private home in 1897, the Victorian-style mansion reflected the success of Kitchener businessman Jacob Kaufman.

“We’re very respectful of the history of properties we develop and expect this will be a key focus of plans as we move ahead with the project,” added Zehr.

Prior to the acquisition of 621 King, Zehr Group had begun planning for the redevelopment of 607 King, which had development potential of 550,000 square feet of retail, office, and residential suites.

Locally, Zehr Group is well-known for working on high profile projects, including Belmont Village, The Tannery, Breithaupt Block, Red Condo and Northfield Station. Northfield Station is a project in Waterloo directly next to future light rail transit platform. This site includes adaptive reuse of a 14,900 square foot industrial building and new construction of a three-storey, 66,000-square-foot Class A office building.

Northfield Station has attracted a strong tenancy mix including Cineplex Digital Solutions, MNP LLP, FedDev Ontario and HollisWealth. The site is currently 92% leased.

About Zehr Group

In addition to working with clients, Zehr Group has redeveloped numerous properties on its own and with Joint Venture partners. We have contributed to the reshaping of Kitchener’s downtown core and Innovation District into an active and attractive technology sector. Although based in the Waterloo Region, Zehr Group has undertaken projects across Canada.

We specialize in creating and managing clean, contemporary spaces which respect the history of the property and its surroundings. We pride ourselves on balancing aesthetics and function, incorporating green technology wherever possible, working within budget, and meeting project deadlines. Our dedication has helped us achieve industry awards including GVCA’s Building Excellence ‘Game Changer’ award, and many features in local newspapers and magazines.

More information can be found at their website: www.zehrgroup.ca

Media contacts:

Zehr Group
CEO Don Zehr
519.576.2233 x224