People of Downtown Kitchener – Loft Life 11 April
People of Downtown Kitchener – Meet Dan Forsey
Cellist, Small Biz Owner, Entrepreneur, Downtown Kitchener Resident
Dan Forsey’s world is vibrant. Dan works, lives, and plays all in a five block radius of downtown Kitchener. Each work day is full of music and hectic scheduling. When he needs quiet, he goes to where he can immediately find it – behind the front door of his nearby home. He was one of the early adopters of Downtown Kitchener condo life and he has no regrets. He moved into the Arrow Lofts with his partner after struggling with a century home on Queen. He says, “It was a great house, but too much upkeep.” The windows needed updating and the basement was starting to leak; it was an easy decision with no downside.
Tech meets Music
The entrepreneurial spirit attributed to the revival of downtown Kitchener is what attracted Dan to the core. He works in one of Canada’s hottest tech clusters. Next door to his small business, the Communitech Hub and surrounding region are home to 1000+ tech companies, generating over $30B in annual revenue. Living beside the “tech mother ship” has had a positive impact on Dan’s low tech company. He runs the Tannery School of Music, boasting well over 100 students. Dan started his music school about ten years ago and continues to scale with growth. The mix of tech workers and artists in the downtown is the very embodiment of Richard Florida’s creative class. The city is culturally blooming with inspiring events and Dan loves that there is always something happening. One of Dan’s favourites is NightShift Waterloo Region, a dynamic event for everyone to “explore an unconventional showcase of arts, technology, bright ideas and nightlife on foot.” Living steps away from all the action means you can participate conveniently, sometimes when you are just walking home late from work.
While he enjoys the vibrant downtown culture, Dan says his favourite part of living in downtown Kitchener is the walkability. This advantage is only underscored lately with the extensive road construction. According to Walk Score, the Arrow Lofts at 112 Benton Avenue has a walkability score of 89 out of 100 compared to the average Kitchener score of 47.
The appeal of an urban lifestyle close to “everything” is what is drawing Dan and a growing number of people into the downtown core. The latest stats from the city of Kitchener “estimated number of residents and jobs in the city’s downtown rose from 155 people and jobs per hectare in 2013 to 167 per hectare in 2014.”
Dan says condo life is about lifestyle. He calls his vertical neighbourhood friendly and kind. There are many empty nesters in the Arrow Lofts and they make the place homey. Thanks to them, the rooftop herb gardens are well maintained and Arrow owners share the fruits of their labour.
Dan appreciates the tight knit group that shares a Facebook page to promote internal activities. However, like many small business owners, he is exhausted at the end of the day and often can’t wait to walk through his door to relax.
At the end of the day, it was the inside of his condo that sold Dan on the Arrow lofts. It is bigger than most condos on the market and he knew he’d never find the old factory pillars and high ceilings anywhere else in the Region.
Dan says one of the best places in the condo is the roof top patio. There, he and his band once performed, putting on a show for friends and Arrow neighbours. He hopes to make it an annual event.
Live at Arrow Lofts
There are many changes happening in the downtown and for urban livers like Dan are embracing it. Dan is really excited about the rising arts and tech culture in the core and continues to be a part of the movement through his music.