Downtown merchants see lifeline as Waterloo OK's twin towers

WATERLOO — Downtown merchants are beaming after Waterloo council approved controversial condo towers soaring 11 to 24 storeys above King and Regina streets, at Bridgeport Road.

"Something like this seems like the first sign of a lifeboat showing up on the horizon," chef Nick Benninger told council. He operates four downtown restaurants.

"We've gone through some hard times over the years," he said. "We need people, or we don't survive."

"I wish there was 40 more of those projects," retailer Alnoor Keshvani said in an interview. He operates Loop, a clothing store. "It's a great opportunity for all of us to thrive."

"It's incredibly exciting if you're a merchant," restaurant operator Kirk Vines said in a statement. He operates Beertown Waterloo.

Merchants anticipate up to 367 more residents who will eat and shop downtown, after lengthy road and transit construction scared off customers who have yet to return.

They anticipate selling to other people who are expected to visit a science and culture centre proposed in the towers at 70 King St. N.