Developers break ground on geothermal-heated building in Kingston

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A cornerstone laying ceremony was held in Kingston this week for the first large-scale geothermal residential building, the Geo. The stone was laid by City of Kingston Mayor, Bryan Paterson. The residential building is also the first in Kingston designed to Fitwel Certification status, promoting best-in-class occupant health and wellness.

“Our team is focused on leading positive change for lower carbon buildings. This is Kingston’s first large-scale geothermal building, but it will not be the last”

Kingston was the first municipality in Ontario to declare climate change as an emergency back in 2019, and the Geo was inspired by the declaration. Working to improve energy efficiency and reduce reliance on fossil fuel, the building will utilize geothermal energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by the building by over 70 per cent, which also lowers the utilities cost.

“As a city, we’re committed to demonstrating leadership on climate action, but we need everyone in the community involved to make an impact. The Geo is a big step forward towards a low-carbon future for Kingston and I’m excited to see this project be completed,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.

“Podium is leading the way with this development and has set the bar for new, environmentally conscious construction in Kingston.”

The Geo is a partnership between Podium Development Corp., Secure Capital Partners Inc., and Blue Vista Capital Management LLC, together with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit pension plans.

“Our team is focused on leading positive change for lower carbon buildings. This is Kingston’s first large-scale geothermal building, but it will not be the last,” said Bernard Luttmer, Podium Developments’ managing director.

“Our portfolio of new multi-family projects planned in Kingston and throughout Ontario are all being designed with innovative technologies to help us reach a net-zero carbon future. We were able to celebrate this ongoing work at the Geo this week.”

The Geo will have 344 units and 20 per cent of car parking will be equipped with EV charging capabilities. The building will also have private outdoor terraces, a rooftop terrace, a two-storey gym with a squash court, and 344 dedicated bicycle parking spaces.

“From the earliest stages of planning, we wanted the Geo to be the first Fitwel certified building in Kingston. Resident well-being has always been a high priority for us, but this pandemic has truly magnified the importance of health and wellness in our buildings,” added Luttmer.

A redeveloped Brownfield infill site, the Geo is centrally located at 575 Princess St., just a short walk to both Queen’s University and downtown Kingston. Once complete, it will rise to 10-storeys and feature ground-floor retail as well as a corner parkette at Princess St. and Frontenac St.

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