I'm going to have to disagree with you. With the decrepit single homes rented as you described, at least there was the chance that in the future a better project could be integrated here. In the future when Waterloo adopts design control guidelines as dictated by the provincial planning act and as practiced by such cities as Vancouver, recently Edmonton and potentially Toronto very soon.
What you have now is a structure that will last for 40 years+ that will be an eyesore on a major node and area of future intensification. I say screw density when it doesn't interact with the street well, and will be the future ghettoized building of King Street. I don't have any tolerance for sh*tty design. It's nothing more then developers cheaping out and the city letting then get away with it. Look to the new Laurier residence two blocks north of this. 1000 times better, and something that will age well.
Now if you want to talk materials, we could about the stucco. Stucco belongs on single family homes... and even there it's showing age already. Never... I repeat...NEVER on a high-rise building. It looks sooo tacky when it's done.
Anyways... the bright side? sure density I guess... The only bright side I can see is that someone buys it off Shembri and revives the old design. Or, that in 10-15 years from now, it's rettro-fitted with a new exterior, windows, the whole 9. That's about it.
Cities are the most extraordinary human creation. They are this phenomenon which has unbelievable capacity to solve problems, to innovate, to invent, to create prosperity, to make change and continually reform. - Ken Greenburg