We want to help startup companies transition from temporary spaces to more permanent office spaces in downtown Kitchener. This program also helps property owners lease out their vacant or underused building spaces to local companies.

On this page:

  1. Program goals
  2. Application
  3. Eligibility
  4. Eligible property improvements
  5. Eligible accessibility improvements
  6. Non-eligible expenses

Note: this program is under review. Please subscribe to this page using the green "subscribe to page updates" button on the right to be notified once complete.


Program goals

Our goals for the startup landing pad program are to:

  1. help startup companies transition from accelerator programs, incubator facilities and short-term lease space into more permanent locations in downtown Kitchener
  2. help property owners and tenants with the financing of interior leasehold improvements and/or accessibility improvements to second storey and higher properties in the Downtown Community Improvement Area
  3. enable us to repair, rehabilitate or improve buildings on land we own or acquire, and to sell, lease or dispose of any such buildings and land for the purpose of creating startup landing pads
  4. implement our urban design and heritage conservation policies
  5. support municipal investments in downtown Kitchener infrastructure

Application

Please contact us to set up a pre-application meeting. This meeting ensures your application will:

  • meet our urban design policies and building guidelines
  • be of high quality
  • include appropriate documentation
  • get a high evaluation score and prioritization

All successful grant applications will be subject to the terms and conditions of our Downtown Community Improvement Plan.


Eligibility

We only consider applications that fit these criteria:

  • in buildings with second stories and above zoned for commercial use
  • startups endorsed by a program partner
  • properties located within the Downtown Community Improvement Area
  • applications must satisfy our urban design and King Street façade guidelines
  • other eligibility criteria as they may apply

If we get more grant applications than we can award, we will rate all the applications based on predetermined criteria.


Eligible property improvements

Either the property owners or tenants can make improvements to the property under our grant terms. We will only issue grants for non-temporary improvements, including the lists below.

Installing, repairing or restoring/re-facing:

  • partitions and rooms
  • plumbing, heating, HVAC, electrical, cable, phone lines, fibre and other service-specific installation
  • interior lighting
  • masonry, brickwork, wood or other architectural features
  • interior platforms, walls and any surfaces
  • windows
  • flooring, ceiling, walls, fixed cabinets and other permanent elements
  • new interior signage or improvements to existing signage
  • restoring historic features

Other changes:

  • entranceway changes that improve the appearance and/or access to the commercial unit(s)
  • redesign and reconstruction of the front of building
  • machinery and equipment if bolted to the floor
  • demolition or removal of fixtures, structural and non-conforming or hazardous materials

Eligible accessibility improvements

Property owners can make accessibility improvements to the building. These improvements can involve amenities, common areas or the entire building to increase accessibility, usability and access to all tenants and guests.

Eligible works include installing, repairing or reinstalling:

  • permanent accessibility devices such as elevators, lift assistance, ramps, railings, and stairs
  • assistive way finding assets such as braille, audio (signal), and other sensory assistive devices
  • accessible washroom, kitchen, shower, and/or storage facilities
  • common-area building use facilities such as shared hallways, stairwells, upper-storey entryways and lobbies, bicycle storage, shared meeting rooms and spaces, and
  • permanent fixtures, barrier-free access and/or the built environment related to improved accessibility
  • non-permanent or removable fixtures
  • furnishings, including office and common-area furnishings, computers, and art
  • intangible assets, such as software, human resources, outsourced services, etc.
  • consumables, such as mats, office supplies, stationery, plants, etc.
  • regular interior building signage such as corporate logos, marketing/advertising, digital signage, etc.
  • items specific to the proposed current tenant which would be deemed unusable or undesirable to future tenants
  • corrections to comply with Building Code, Fire Code or Property Standards orders
  • taxes, levies, interest, permit fees, or other incidental fees

Non-eligible expenses

  • non-permanent or removable fixtures
  • furnishings, including office and common-area furnishings, computers, and art
  • intangible assets, such as software, human resources, outsourced services, etc.
  • consumables, such as mats, office supplies, stationery, plants, etc.
  • regular interior building signage such as corporate logos, marketing/advertising, digital signage, etc.
  • items specific to the proposed current tenant which would be deemed unusable or undesirable to future tenants
  • corrections to comply with Building Code, Fire Code or Property Standards orders
  • taxes, levies, interest, permit fees, or other incidental fees