As we noted last month, the city’s social services and housing hub springing up at 230 Talbot Street has run into what city manager Wendell Graves calls a “soft” business case concerning Phase 2. Phase 1, well underway, includes office space for the social services department and 28 residential units. Phase 2 was to include a childcare facility and 24 additional housing units on the second and third floors of the building. In a report to council in June, Graves warned: “preliminary cost estimates for the construction of the proposed Phase 2 project are high.” He added, “At this point, the actual business case for the Phase 2 project is soft and the cost per residential unit is projected to be fairly high ($290,515 per unit).
With just 99 days until the federal election, you might very well be wondering who the Liberal party has tasked with attempting to unseat incumbent Karen Vecchio in Elgin-Middlesex-London (EML) riding. Well, the short answer is no one. The nomination meeting was originally scheduled for January and here we are midway through July with no designated candidate although we know Lori Baldwin-Sands has filed papers. Will she be acclaimed at some point in the very near future? A phone call to David Goodwin of the federal Liberal riding association should result in some answers. “They haven’t called the nomination yet,” advised Goodwin.
Exactly four years ago, we wrote at length about workplace harassment at city hall, referring to it as a “toxic environment.” At that time, we postulated the City of St. Thomas, as a corporation, should be held to a high standard of excellence with regard to a workplace environment. The issue in 2015 involved a city employee we identified as ‘Dave’ and his allegations of verbal and physical abuse involving fellow employees and managers. In a conversation in June of that year with human resources manager Graham Dart, he conceded “As an employer, we don’t have to guarantee a harassment-free workplace, because we can’t do that. “There is no expectation or requirement of that. But there is an obligation on our part — especially under the Occupational Health & Safety Act — that we address harassment in the workplace.”
Alma College, 1891. Photo courtesy Elgin County Archives.
Exactly one year ago today (Feb. 20), the journey to what is hoped to become the revitalization of the Alma College property began in earnest. That afternoon, Michael Loewith of Patriot Properties, met for the first time with members of council and staff at the regularly scheduled reference committee meeting to introduce his proposal for the site of the former school for girls at 96 Moore Street. Currently owned by London developer Gino Reale, the property is bereft of all but a few vestiges of its former life. Patriot Properties is seeking the go-ahead to construct a trio of residential towers on the Moore Street property. The development is to be completed in three phases over several years and, when finished, will be comprised of 430 apartment units.Continue reading →
The first report of the city’s site plan control committee for 2019 will be presented to council Monday (Jan. 21) and it deals in depth with the application filed by the Sierra Group of Companies for the proposed Alma property development. The Sierra Group is the consultant for Patriot Properties which is purchasing the site and seeks to build a trio of residential towers on the Moore Street property. The development is to be completed in three phases and, when finished, would be comprised of 430 apartment units. Following a pair of site plan meetings in November and December, the committee passed a resolution recommending council consider the application for final approval. Patriot Properties has not yet purchased the 11-acre site from London developer Gino Reale, pending completion of soil remediation work and removing what remains of the former buildings. The residential development would occupy approximately seven acres.
Michael Loewith of Loewith-Greenberg Communities made an impressive presentation to city council Tuesday, outlining his proposal for developing the Alma College property. There have been proposals in the past for the site of the former school for girls, so is this latest presentation the real deal? “He (Loewith) is the right guy,” insisted London Developer Gino Reale, current manager of the Moore Street property. “It took a little while to find him. But, I think we found the right guy . . . I’m not a builder, but if I find the right guy then that’s who is going to buy it. And this guy, in my books, is the right guy.” Loewith has a conditional offer to purchase the property, as Reale explained earlier this week. “There are conditions on the offer until April. As far as he (Loewith) is concerned, it’s a done deal. Until he sends me the paperwork and says he waives the conditions – which was primarily this meeting with council and a couple of other minor things – it will solidify or fall apart by April.” Continue reading →
Members of St. Thomas city council got their first look Tuesday at a proposed development on the Alma College property. Michael Loewith of Loewith-Greenberg Communities outlined his plan for three, seven-storey residential towers on the site of the former private school for girls. One of the structures would replicate the front facade of the main Alma college building. The development would entail 400 units of various configurations geared to young families and empty-nesters alike. Much of the land on the 11-acre Moore Street site would be devoted to green space and pathways. Continue reading →
The city is eager to begin remediation at 230 Talbot Street, site of the proposed “social services and housing campus” on a parcel of land purchased last year from London developer Shmuel Farhi. The winning tender for cleanup will come to council Tuesday for approval. And, it comes in significantly above the anticipated range of $400,000 to $600,000. At Tuesday’s meeting, council will be asked to endorse the tender submitted by All Season Excavating at $728,819 for remediation of the large tract of land. The work includes removal of all contaminated materials in preparation for the new social services building and construction of a new parking lot to replace the existing lot on the northwest corner of the site. Continue reading →
What lies ahead for the Alma College property might very well come into sharper focus this fall. London developer Gino Reale is optimistic such is the case. Speaking to him from his home Friday, Reale was upbeat. “There have been a lot of positive discussions. We’re getting close to some resolutions. But nothing has been inked.” While he was unable to reveal details at this time, Reale said discussions are underway with a group on the possibility of constructing a small recreation centre on the Moore Street property geared to seniors. Part of the green space could be utilized for a community garden, suggested Reale.Continue reading →