Four apartment buildings proposed for a former cinema site

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Extensive residential redevelopment is proposed for the former cinema property on London Road in Sarnia.

Dave Hannam, senior partner at Zelinka Priamo Ltd., said his client, Southside Construction Management Limited, purchased the property in December 2021.

“In mid-January, we had a formal pre-consultation meeting with city staff for a residential redevelopment of this property,” Hannam said. “Since that time, Southside has worked diligently to undertake the required environmental investigations and prepare supporting technical reports, architectural materials etc. Most of the time there was a slight delay in this regard, due to COVID and the processes took longer than normal.”

Hannam requested, and was granted, a one-year development charge credit extension, estimated to be approximately $330,000 based on current costs.

“We recognize that under your dc (development tax) regulations, credits are only available for five years upon issuance of building permits. In this case, that would mean that the five years expire in mid-July this year and obviously it won’t be possible for Southside to get the necessary approvals or building permits before then.

The property, at 1450 London Road, has been vacant since 2013 and the former Famous Players cinema and restaurant, known as Norm’s Pub and Grill, were demolished in 2017.

“They (Southside Construction) intend to submit an official plan amendment and rezoning application later this month,” Hannam said. “As you can see from the concept rendering, it’s going to be redeveloped into four, six-story, apartment buildings for a total of 324 units. They will be a mix of one, two and three beds.

Hannam said they hope the development approval process will go smoothly and that permits will be offered for the residential development by the second quarter of 2023, with construction expected to begin shortly thereafter.

“I hope everyone can recognize that the redevelopment will meet a number of key strategic goals and initiatives for the city in terms of increasing the rental housing stock and generating significant growth in evaluation through densification. »

Hannam told council that development costs for the residential project itself could be as high as $3.5 million.

Councilor Bill Dennis said he was excited about the project and happy to support the application.

“As a city, I’ve always felt that we should facilitate development and make it easy and transparent to invest in Sarnia,” said Dennis. “I also want to sincerely thank Southside Construction for their continued interest in our city with this project.”

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