Major projects in downtown Windsor get planning committee support
Monday, May 14, 2018
Massive investments could be coming to Windsor's downtown core if city council approves three major projects unanimously supported by the planning committee Monday night.
Last October, city council approved an economic development policy to promote residential development downtown.
Investors of three new projects are hoping to take advantage of the policy that will give them a total of $5.9 million in grants and tax rebates.
"New dollars in the downtown. This is great," says councillor Bill Marra. “It's a win, win situation."
Marra is excited about three proposed developments that he feels will help revitalize Windsor's downtown core.
The first project involves renovating a vacant building on Pelissier Street with 18 residential units.
The ground floor will be used for commercial space.
"I think by taking the worst building on the street, we're really going to turn it around," said Phil Fernandes of Philip Fernandes Designs Inc.
"It's a nice repurposing of a building that's had a lot of challenges along the way,” says Marra. “I remember that building as the old Don Cherry’s and before that I think it was the Chicken Court."
The second project will transform the parking lot at the intersection of Park and Victoria Streets, where a 16 storey, 120 unit residential building is planned.
“The fact that the university and St. Clair College spent tens of millions of dollars in a downtown campus, which means thousands of students, hundreds of faculty. It means people want to live downtown eat downtown,"says Marra.
That investment alone is worth $32 million, qualifying for $4 million in grants, rebates and reduced development charges.
"Mr. (Parkash) Ramshandani believes in the downtown core and really believes if we build it, they will come," said Shelley Gould, a spokesperson for the project. "I think it will bring people to the core that we need."
The third proposal is the renovation of the old Radison hotel on Riverside Drive, owned by Farhi Holdings.
"Mr. Farhi who's had a strong history of investing in this community is investing millions more in the hotel industry creating permanent jobs," says Marra.
The hotel will be converted into a Double Tree by Hilton, with a combination of regular rooms and 45 luxury suites.
"We're expecting this will be nothing short of the best hotel in Windsor," said Tyler McDiarmid, the CEO of Ironwood Management Corp.
If the three major developments are approved by city council, it would add an estimated $52.1-million in investment to the downtown core.
Planning committee chair Bill Marra says if council approves all three applications, the Downtown Windsor Enhancement Strategy and Community Improvement Plan will only have $287,000 remaining.
Another massive project outside the downtown, on the outskirts of Windsor, also received the committee's recommendation Monday evening. Council will review an application to build a $50 million, six storey condo development featuring 261 units at the corner of Walker Road and Ducharme Street.