Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest to sell Benton Street office

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is selling off its iconic castle-shaped building at 17 Benton St. in downtown Kitchener.

In a statement sent to festival volunteers Friday, officials said the building is no longer practical or affordable, given that ticket sales and planning now mostly take place online.

The festival’s board of directors now hopes to sell the office and “capitalize on the current strong market in downtown Kitchener,” the statement said.

“The decision was not made lightly and we are thankful for the foresight of past leadership to purchase and maintain the location so that when the time comes, we can avail ourselves to this financial asset,” said a statement from festival executive director Alfred Lowrick and president Tim Beckett.

Jane Klugman of Whitney Commercial Realty has been hired to oversee the sale of the building at 17 Benton St. The festival’s office has been located there since 1989.

Meantime, planning for the 2020 festival is taking a different shape given the pandemic. Organizers say they plan to take direction from public health “sometime this summer” about how the event might proceed.

“We know that our traditional festival is unlikely to be fulfilled,” the statement said.

The various Festhallen that run under the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest banner will make their own decisions about how to respond to physical distancing guidelines, according to the statement.  

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