'Mixed-use international village' announced for Windsor's former Grace Hospital site

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Windsor Star/Dalson Chen




The former Grace Hospital site will be the location of a “mixed-use international village” combining residential and commercial buildings, revealed the City of Windsor on Thursday.

Ohio-based Fairmount Properties was announced as the winning developer who responded to the municipality’s request for expressions of interest on the high-profile property at Crawford Avenue and University Avenue West.

“We want this to feel like a fully-integrated community within the city itself,” said Randy Ruttenberg, founder of Fairmount Properties.

Ruttenberg said Fairmount envisions new housing options, “loft living,” “retail amenities,” and “community gathering spaces” on the six-acre site.

There will be “spaces to rent, spaces to purchase,” Ruttenberg promised.

Ownership of the site will be transferred from the city to Fairmount Properties. A monetary figure for the sale has yet to be disclosed.

Windsor’s Architectura Inc. has been retained to design the site.

Dan Amicone of Architecttura said they intend to be “mindful and respectful” of surrounding neighbourhoods in their designs. The development should “not be too imposing” in relation to other residences in the area, he said.

Ruttenberg said he hopes the village will act as a catalyst for further development on University Avenue West.

A tentative timeline would begin work within the year.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens praised Fairmount Properties for their concept, calling it the submission that “most clearly aligned with council’s goals for the property.”

But Dilkens added that there will be community input opportunities, and the plans “are not carved in stone” at this stage.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare with Amico Properties Inc. were one the competing submissions for the site.

Although council ultimately decided upon Fairmount Properties as the winner, Dilkens said the HDGH vision was so appreciated that administration has been directed to work with HDGH to determine if an alternative site in the city would be appropriate for it.

The site was formerly the location of the Salvation Army Grace Hospital, which opened in 1920.

The hospital served the community for more than eight decades before closing in 2004.

The building then lay unused and deteriorating for nine years.

Demolition was finally completed in 2013, leaving a large vacant lot.

More to come.