Craig Beattie, a founding partner at Perimeter Development Corporation (Perimeter), has a B.A from the University of Waterloo. It wasn’t until he returned to the city with First Gulf, a commercial building-and-property management company, to lead the Waterloo Towne Square redevelopment that he began to fall in love with the place.
“It was a challenging project,” Beattie said. “It took us from 05-09. It took a long time for approvals. We wanted to do it right. I had a lot of involvement in the community and met a lot of people.”
When Beattie, in partnership with First Gulf’s CEO David Gibson, decided to launch his own building-reconstruction and management company in late 2009 his first thought was to develop the company in Waterloo Region.
While Beattie and his team were living and working in Toronto at the time, they tackled the rehabilitation of an old building on King St. in Waterloo. Today, that building, the home of Coffee Culture, stands as just one example of the Perimeter look.
“Then we acquired the Breithaupt Building (in Kitchener) in late 2009, and now we had to ask ourselves, ‘Where do we want to operate our business?’ ” he said. “It made sense to be here (in Waterloo). It’s a great community.”
As Perimeter focused more and more on Kitchener and Waterloo projects, Beattie grew tired of the commute from his office in Toronto’s Liberty Village to work sites 90 kilometres away.
In 2012, Beattie moved his company and family to Waterloo Region. Beattie lives in the East Ward of Kitchener now.
Since then, the company has thrown itself into the community. Beattie and his partners, Gibson and Stewart Barclay, have joined local boards and are fixtures at local events.
Beattie and his team even hosted their own party last year. An article Beattie read about laneway parties in Austin Texas inspired Tame the Lane, a downtown Kitchener street party.
“I was reading the article, looking at the pictures and immediately thought of Halls Lane,” he said. “I asked our team: ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to put on a party for our friends? A big tech and creative party.’ ”
Beattie threw around the idea to a few downtown companies, including Thalmic Labs, Vidyard and Communitech.
Everyone said yes.
Last year, 600 people filled up Lot 9 in Halls Lane at Ontario Street. This year, the event returns Thursday, July 16. Beattie hopes to see about 1,000 people come out.
“There are already lots of events out there, but there isn’t something focused for the arts and tech companies that are working downtown,” he said.
Beattie envisioned a non-networking, non-agenda party that focused on music, food and people.
Tame the Lane is free, although there is a fee for the BBQ cooked by TWH Social, and the drinks from Block Three Brewing and the Elora Brewing Company.
This year, the Tame the Lane planning committee, headed by Perimeter Development in partnership with Thalmic Labs, TWH Social, Vidyard, the City of Kitchener and Communitech, has added a rock-climbing wall and a cotton-candy machine to last year’s dunk tank, live music and DJ.
Beattie looks forward to the party. He loves seeing companies like Vidyard, MappedIn, Square and Hagon Design build their companies in his refurbished buildings. Throwing a yearly celebration lets those companies and other downtown corporations, restaurants and stores spend time together in a fun environment.
“People are investing in downtown,” he said. “We need to help to contribute to it.”
Tame the Lane is eight days away. Luckily there are other awesome events to keep you entertained until then. I see and hear that . . . the Ultimate Frisbee Tech Social is taking place this Thursday, July 9 in Waterloo Park, at the Band Shelter, 50 Young St. W., Waterloo. Show up at 7 p.m. with $2 cash and get ready to play some ultimate Frisbee . . . Nerd Nite KW hosts a special event this Friday, July 10, at the Communitech Hub, Suite 100, 151 Charles St. in Kitchener. Nerd Nite welcomes Dr. Julielynn Wong, a Harvard-educated, award-winning public-health physician, innovator and educator. She’ll be giving a talk entitled, “How 3D-Printing Fosters Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Community, Empowerment and Sustainable Innovation in Global Health.” Tickets are free but limited, and registration is required. Doors open at 7 p.m . . . It’s already HackerNest Kitchener-Waterloo’s July Social. This Monday, July 13, the HackerNest team will hang out at Vidyard, 3rd floor, 119 King St. W., Kitchener. As always, the informal evening focuses on conversations, drinks and a good time. The night starts at 8 p.m. and features an agenda-free time to socialize with new and old friends.