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Union Park Kingston development drawing. Image via Siderius Developments.

A new planned community, Union Park Kingston, has sought City Council approval to develop 40 Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard, the former location of the Prison for Women.

According to a statement from Siderius Developments Ltd., dated Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the $ 143 million development will include senior housing, residential condominiums and a hotel, and the proposal is being uploaded to the development. and the City of Kingston Services (DASH) Hub.

The proposed development has the potential to establish a cornerstone of the Portsmouth Village community, providing housing, employment, and neighborhood business and retail services that would allow seniors to age in place and create life-work-play-age opportunities, the developers said. Union Park’s overall vision, according to the release, is to create a compact, carefully designed community with a healthy mix of uses, pedestrian-friendly public spaces and context-sensitive buildings.

Requests to amend the official plan and zoning by-law, as well as a draft plan of subdivision have been submitted to the City of Kingston. These multiple requests require City Council approval, which will include public engagement. Submitting these nominations is just one of the first steps to take and, the developers said, Union Park looks forward to connecting with the community throughout the process.

The 8.1 acre property is located at 40 Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard. The property is bordered by Union Street to the north, Sir John A MacDonald Boulevard to the east, King Street to the south and the village of Portsmouth and the harbor to the west. It will be adjacent to Duncan McArthur Hall at Queen’s University and the Correctional Service of Canada Museum. The site was once home to the Prison for Women, which opened in 1934 and closed in 2000.

Union Park is located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat. These lands are also now home to a diverse community of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. This recognition is a sign of recognition and respect for the Aboriginal people living in this region.

About the project

“Union Park Kingston will reinvent the potential of this site by creating a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood for the benefit of all of Portsmouth’s existing neighbors, Kingstonians in general and the hundreds of people who will live and work in Union Park,” said Nate Doornekamp with Siderius Developments. “The Former Women’s Prison is an important historic building that is functionally obsolete and has been on contaminated land for twenty-one years. We respect the history of this site and intend to develop it in a sensitive and responsible manner. The opportunity now exists to transform this property into a storefront that will enhance and add to our community for many years to come.

According to the statement, Union Park Kingston will rejuvenate a historic and significant property in the village of Portsmouth, close to downtown Kingston, Portsmouth Olympic Harbor, major roads, Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and the hospital campuses, to name a few. The developers said the proposal would strike the right balance between providing much needed community services while respecting the history of the site and the region.

“Our plan leaves three-quarters of the land in open space, including public parks, footpaths, expansive yards, streets and sidewalks for the enjoyment of the public, including the most coveted part of the site with the best views. on the water, ”added Doornekamp. “We believe this plan is appropriate for the neighborhood in terms of scale and proposed mixed uses and will be a positive addition to the Village of Portsmouth. This proposal would provide the village with much needed housing, small retail and commercial services, parks and other benefits.

Project amenities

During the three planned phases, the development will include:

  • a community of continuum of care for the elderly,
  • residential condominium units,
  • hotel,
  • a park and a connecting path between Union Street and King Street,
  • a healing garden,
  • commercial space on the ground floor,
  • a public art wall, and, in the last phase,
  • a future mixed-use residential building.

“Our proposed retirement community offers seniors more than just a place to live – it gives them a place to enjoy life,” said Steve Strong, COO of Signature Retirement Living. “We want our residents to feel right at home, whether they are renting one of our fully self-contained apartments with a variety of age characteristics, or living in our full service retiree residence with a lifestyle all inclusive that has been designed to meet their needs. Needs. Our mission is to provide an enviable level of service in a positive, dynamic and caring environment that is as beautiful as it is welcoming.

Strong added, “We have enjoyed our experience building and managing our retirement residence in West Kingston. It has been well received by the community, and we are delighted with this opportunity to meet the housing and care needs of the elderly in downtown Kingston.

Union Park Kingston development drawing. Image via Siderius Developments.

Redevelopment process and considerations

The City’s review and approval process is expected to take a year. Meanwhile, Siderius will continue to engage with residents, landowners and neighboring businesses; heritage groups in the Kingston area; the Memorial Collective of the Prison for Women; and other community groups.

“As the current stewards of the property, we continue to listen to those who have had an experience at the Prison for Women to create a healing garden with their help and involvement,” Doornekamp added.

The Union Park Kingston team recognizes that this property has heritage attributes that must be fully considered as part of the development process. To this end, Siderius engaged two well-respected heritage consultants – John Stewart of Commonwealth Historic Resource Management and Barry Padolsky of Barry Padolsky and Associates – to develop a heritage strategy for the property and heritage impact statements for each building. , according to the press release. .

“This is a unique and special property, and everyone involved in the Union Park Kingston project wishes to respect and protect the heritage and history of the property,” said John Stewart. “We are working with Siderius and the City of Kingston to ensure that the plans meet the heritage objectives of the City, the requirements of the Ontario Heritage Act and the heritage requirements of Parks Canada.

A website,, and an electronic newsletter have been launched to provide information on Siderius’ plans and opportunities to provide feedback to the community.