Hawkesbury town council, during its May 11 session, approved the sale of the property at 571 Main Street East to a numbered company, 9414-9812 Québec Inc., listed in the provincial business registry as belonging to Sylvie Raymond of Grenville. The developer wants to build a 251-unit luxury-class seniors retirement complex on the site.
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Complexe pour aînés sur l'ancien site du Christ-Roi?
“It’s a fantastic project for Hawkesbury,” said Daniel Gatien, Hawkesbury chief administrator, during a phone interview.
The estimated cost for the proposed development is between $40 million and $50 million. The development would include apartments for both seniors who require some assisted living service and units for those who do not.
Nursing staff would be available round-the-clock for those residents in need of assisted living. The project proposal also calls for having an indoor pool, bowling alley, hair salon, café, drugstore, theatre, and gym on the premises long with indoor and outdoor games areas.
When the Conseil scolaire catholique de l’est ontarien closed the school and declared the building and grounds surplus to its needs, it sold the four-acre property to the town for a dollar. The building was demolished in 2017 and the town also spent about $400,000 on soil decontamination along with paying the cost of safe removal of the asbestos insulation used during the original construction of the 80-year-old building.
Now the town has agreed to sell the land for a dollar to the developer on condition that it became the site of a major development. The developer cannot just hold on to the land and then “flip it” later, selling to someone for a huge profit.
“He has to do some kind of major development,” Gatien said. “He has to start construction within two years of (sale) closing, and complete it within four years.”
Gatien noted that the developer has indicated he wants to break ground on the project next spring. First the development proposal has to go through the municipal site plan approval process, zoning review, building permit application, and other processes.
The project, when completed, could provide a very big boost to future municipal budgets. Gatien noted that the potential municipal share of the annual property tax from the development could be several hundred thousands of dollars depending on the provincial assessment evaluation of the facility when it is completed.