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Plummer redevelopment: From operating rooms to opulence (2 photos)

Friday, April 25, 2014   by: Michael Purvis

The developer behind a new condominium project at the former Plummer Memorial Hospital site says his company could begin taking orders as soon as Tuesday for 40 planned luxury units.

A request for a Planning Act exemption involving subdivision of the lot - which developer Amit Sofer told is typical in a redevelopment situation like this - is set to go to council at Monday night’s meeting, after which, TVM Group hopes to be able to begin a ‘soft launch’ which will see it begin selling the units.

“The suites are likely to be something that is unfamiliar to the Sault,” said Sofer, TVM Group’s president. “We’re bringing a very high-end quality lifestyle availability that we couldn’t find when we looked around and we feel we’re bringing it at the best location.”

Toronto-based TVM Group picked up the surplus waterfront property from Sault Area Hospital last year for $65,000 after the asking price for the nearly 20-acre site plummeted from a high of $4.9 million.

Since then, TVM has been busy gutting the former Plummer portion of the property - removing non-load-bearing walls, mechanical and electrical systems - to make way for the condos.

“It’s just a shell at this point,” said Sofer.

He said the former Riverview building is expected to be torn down within the next two weeks.

As for TVM Group’s decision to go high-end with the Plummer site, Sofer said the company assessed the market and saw a need for high-end residential, which is what he said will emerge on the property.

“It’s beautiful. It’s right on the water. It’s beside a gorgeous hub trail,” said Sofer.

Units will range from about 830 square feet to just under 1,800 square feet and will include one, two and three-bedroom suites, with high-grade appliances, quartz countertops and as many as three washrooms.

The building will include a movie-screening room for residents, sauna, steam room and exercise/yoga room with units starting at $224,900.

Sofer said TVM Group has asked the city for approval to apply a “significant” tax incentive that is part of its Downtown Community Improvement Plan to condo owners’ residential taxes, which would last for the first four years.

As part of the development, TVM Group has offered the city a roughly six-metre swath of green area along the hub trail, which is expected to allow for enhancements to the trail.

“We feel that’s a win for everybody. For us, for the residents who are going to be in the units, for the city and for anybody who uses the hub trail,” Sofer said.

A sales centre is slated to open at 756 Queen Street East in mid June and Sofer said a number of people have expressed interest in purchasing units.

Phase 2 of the site’s redevelopment is likely to cover the former renal clinic, on the east end of the property, and could include a “higher-end food-oriented” component for the section overlooking the water and residential for the rest.

Sofer said that project is “some years away.”

He said action on the General site is also years away, with no firm plan in place for that building as of yet.

“We’re exploring a variety of ideas, but at this point it hasn’t been determined what we’re going to do there,” Sofer said

“We look at it as a 10-plus-year project to get it to point where all of the work is done and completed,” he said.


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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
avocet 4/25/2014 5:59:49 PM Report

Great idea for this site.
Mr. Poster 4/25/2014 6:13:16 PM Report

Are there that many people that can afford those prices? wow
thera 4/25/2014 6:29:47 PM Report

"the company assessed the market and saw a need for high-end residential"

That's interesting - because there are soooo many jobs in this city that support that kind of high-end housing...
Wisenheimer 4/25/2014 6:30:01 PM Report

Yes .. 6 mos. South , 6 mos. North.
Wisenheimer 4/25/2014 6:30:53 PM Report

You see the Sunshine list ?
stakeholder 4/25/2014 6:39:59 PM Report

good chunk of change to take in for $60000 -tax payers were robbed!!!-shame
anapeg 4/25/2014 7:04:04 PM Report

Both old hospital sites are riddled with asbestos. It will easily cost seven figures to make it acceptable unless government turns a blind eye. Once the walls are opened all services need be updated, more millions, the list is endless.
Dixiepup 4/25/2014 7:05:53 PM Report

I wouldn't be giving anyone a down payment till I saw it done. The way investors have screwed this city in the past i.e. Garforth and brewery site, I'd be afraid they would take money and bail out. Caveat Emptor my friends!
chech 4/25/2014 7:16:05 PM Report

Wonder if I could get the same space where my Mother died. Or my Aunt or Uncle or Grandparents. Sorry but I think this is a bad idea. Just not right. But then again, life goes on and only death is final
itsme29 4/25/2014 8:06:39 PM Report

anapeg you are right about the aspestos they've hired a small local company over the last 6 months to remove it and demolish whats left of non essentials in there...crackheads work cheap! and don't mind sucking up some asbestos!
zartan 4/25/2014 8:08:16 PM Report

Condo fees and taxes, i'm guessing about $800 per month, if not buying outright add another $1100 for your mortgage, wow, they are high end.
guard1 4/25/2014 8:19:23 PM Report

And this group has asked city council for significant tax incentives for the purchasers of these high end condos? If they can afford to purchase these high end condos do they really need tax incentitives.
And the common homeowner, pensioner, low income people, young families that have a hard time to make ends meet have to fight tooth and nail for a tax break.
anapeg 4/25/2014 8:20:02 PM Report

Itsme; We were contracted to remove vermiculite from a few attics in the Soo. We charged 600 to 900 dollars an attic. We had to take sample and send them to Montreal as I recall for testing and if they came back containing asbestos the cost of removal went to 22,000 dollars plus for the exact same job.
We did not remove it, another licensed company did. The government is supposed to police the job because of health concerns, crack heads notwithstanding. They must be licensed, anything less is illegal and unhealthy.
TOOLY 4/25/2014 8:37:16 PM Report

At a boy anapeg you tell some of these armchair know it all's. Some of them have there mouth in gear before brain is connected.
I would be reasonably sure there are many guidelines to be followed on a project of this size.
Timbob 4/25/2014 8:58:54 PM Report

"We look at it as a 10-plus-year project"

That's a definite warning signal as far as I'm concerned.

Any good real estate development company wants development done as fast as possible to maximize revenues. The longer you wait, the longer your capital is out there swinging in the wind.
anapeg 4/25/2014 10:05:45 PM Report

Tooly; I was not really trying to be mean just making a point, although I am painfully aware of what you speak and therefore my posts are less than they were.
anapeg 4/25/2014 10:07:20 PM Report

Timbob; I confess to not having read the piece hence my query, is there government monies involved?
wolly 4/25/2014 11:29:35 PM Report

So fed up with whiners in this city complaining about the lack of jobs. There are lots of good paying jobs for skilled individuals.

News flash, $250,000 is the new norm for a decent house in a decent neighbourhood. This is an average mortgage for a double income family.

The hospital site was an environmental liability and we should be glad that someone bought it.

We, as a city should be more cautious about assuming that everyone is a Garforth. This developer has already been actively working, and paying local businesses for a year. We need to be more welcoming to developers like this. Cities don't advance and prosper all on their own.
joshua_r_b 4/25/2014 11:34:37 PM Report

I wish I could pick up just 2 acres of prime waterfront real estate for 60000$$!!!!! Sounds some back room palm greasing to me. Hopefully I'm wrong.
prodigal son 4/26/2014 6:49:30 AM Report

It's probably not a bad investment opportunity for someone who can afford it. Buying in at 225000 with the minimum downpayment...waiting 10 yrs. I wouldn't be surprised if the value of the suites appreciates by over 100 000 by the time the 10 yrs. is up. If the development falls through you'd get your downpayment back with the interest it accrued...probably only 1-2%/yr. or so.
prodigal son 4/26/2014 6:49:30 AM Report

It's probably not a bad investment opportunity for someone who can afford it. Buying in at 225000 with the minimum downpayment...waiting 10 yrs. I wouldn't be surprised if the value of the suites appreciates by over 100 000 by the time the 10 yrs. is up. If the development falls through you'd get your downpayment back with the interest it accrued...probably only 1-2%/yr. or so.
sportsfan17 4/26/2014 8:03:06 AM Report

Amen Wolly, amen!
rockbanger 4/26/2014 8:42:08 AM Report

No way...
All that money for an apartment in 10 years?

Maybe River View complex should also be renovated?
That property has the ghosts of many souls still hanging around. More hauntings than City Hall.....

Tear that 150 year old dump down and put up a memorial park.
stakeholder 4/26/2014 9:49:51 AM Report

to the point folks-the hospital administrators, the Ministry of Health and Environment and all those folks knew the buildings were an environmental disaster for a very long time-yet they still originally listed the properties with a Realtor for a published price of some $6 million.
Then very quietly the price drops to less than 10% of the initially listed price.
So whats up?!
Basically, either the disclosure was a lie or the Realtor was a fool or we got some smoke and mirrors? Could there be any other explanation?
Regardless you and I the tax payers took the shaft!!!!!
razor25 4/26/2014 10:10:11 AM Report

I say get to it! All these residents will have to pay city taxes based on their assessments too so anything that adds to the city tax base is good. The city didn't get much for the sale, at least they might make up some of it in property taxes.
crashed13 4/26/2014 11:55:14 AM Report

One bed room 830 square foot for $230.000 + "Condo fees" with a long parking lot walk and elevator ride every day.

That is pricey. $230.000 still buys a nicer deal of a house in this town.

Look up Condo fees and they always go up and never go away.
bocca1 4/26/2014 12:29:50 PM Report

The tax incentive is ridiculous. The city lost 4+ million dollars on the property and now there's a request for significant tax incentives for the buyers. If they can afford the condo they can afford the tax which will be needed to expand Queen Street back to a 4 lane to handle the extra traffic. The developers are laughing all the way to the bank while the city tax payers struggle to manage. I assume the gutless wonders at city hall will cave.
guard1 4/26/2014 1:14:15 PM Report

bocca1, you are absolutely right. If I was building a home or purchasing a condo around this time I would be asking for the tax incentive also and see if I would be allowed on the same gravy train.
To city council, quite giving taxpayer money away.
If there are choices for mayor and aldermen in this years election I will vote for change.
asp 4/26/2014 2:06:32 PM Report

What is happening to affordable housing for people in Sault St Marie. Alot of people can't buy condos. Go figure the people that need affordable housing are being forgatten again. Come on Sault Ste. Marie take care of you people, but I guess city councilor don't understand as they get a piece of the action.
Lone24 4/26/2014 2:43:50 PM Report

asp, thats exactly the way it is. Why not do something about affordable housing which is needed. That would be to much like helping your own people out which they couldn't care about. Like we really need more condominiums.
Mr. Poster 4/26/2014 3:59:04 PM Report

Many builders and developers shy away from so called affordable housing due to tenants not taking care of the property.
Lone24 4/26/2014 4:16:51 PM Report

That also happens with other apartments too not just affordable housing.
canadiens_8 4/26/2014 7:18:46 PM Report

Unless this is used as affortable apartments, then it doesn't matter. Too many expensive places in town to live. Would be nice to see ONE entity give this town decent prices to live for a change.
right wing 4/27/2014 10:36:10 AM Report


Good post.
What would life be like if we didn't have the downers when good news is announced....
Pathetic bunch.
Shortz 4/27/2014 5:33:58 PM Report

This is just the Plummer site... there's still the General site to be developed as well.

And why is everyone whining about "the city" losing money? SAH owned the property, not the city.
RobMel 4/28/2014 4:41:17 PM Report

Selling the old hospital property for $60,000 seemed so outrageous to me at the time it sold that I decided to do some research.

Originally the hospital was heated by oil as were most places 40-50+ years ago. These oil tanks (multiple)are still buried on the property. They are dangerously close to the river and they MUST be removed from the initial report sent out. Removing these alone will cost over a million dollars; not to mention the insurance needed in case of an oil spill accident into the St. Mary's River. Then there are disposal fees. Just this cost alone is easily 2-3 million +. So by the time the demo of the building is done, the land is re surfaced and leveled. The cost of property taxes and insurances during this process this company is looking at multiple millions of dollars just to get the property to a place where they can build. Even is they keep the "bones" of the old building, the cost is astronomical. So $60,000 isn't so outrageous when you look at the big picture.
nurse-boi 4/29/2014 2:31:38 PM Report

@ RobMel

It is great to see that someone actual did research before speaking on here! When you look at what it is going to cost to clean up the site of the old hospitals it is not a bargain to get the site for what it sold for. The work that is going to be needed to meet environmental standards is going to be extensive, hence the project time line. What kickbacks do you think the hospital board received for the sale, are you people for real? The hospital board does not own the property or have any claims to the sale of the property, seriously people. Look around Ontario and other cities where old hospitals are awaiting to be purchased, vacant buildings are costly, the city has to maintain those empty buildings waiting to be sold. For those who think that there is no room for high-end housing, take a drive through our city there are many high-end homes and there are people who are looking to build or move. The comment section on here is amazing, I didn’t realize that we had so many detectives, financial advisors, and litigators at our disposal.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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