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Developer taking orders for new waterfront condos (update, 7 photos)

Monday, April 28, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

Updated with additional photos of the demolition, link below.

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Toronto-based developer Amit Sofer, president of TVM Group, received a Planning Act exemption from city council Monday, a big step towards achieving his plan to transform the former Plummer Hospital site into a luxurious 40-unit residential development known as Riverwalk Condominiums.

TVM Group bought the surplus waterfront property from Sault Area Hospital last year for $65,000, much lower than the original asking price of $4.9 million.

Since then, the Plummer site has been gutted by TVM.

Demolition has been going on since October.

The former Riverview facility, ambulance bay and old portables will be demolished soon.

The total cost for demolition is approximately $700,000, with the cost of construction estimated at $10 million to $12 million, Sofer told reporters after Monday’s council meeting.

With Monday's unanimous council approval, Sofer said he hopes to begin taking orders as early as Tuesday morning for the units he plans to build.

A sales office will open in mid-June at 756 Queen Street East.

Meanwhile, more details on the condominium and contact information to place orders for condo units may be found by going to theriverwalk.ca 

Sofer told council he plans on opening Riverwalk Condominiums by October 2015, but he is confident units will sell quickly and enable the condominium to open up before then.

"To date, we've had some fantastic response, the response has been overwhelming," Sofer said to SooToday.com.

Riverwalk Condominiums will consist of one, two and three-bedroom units.

Size of the units range from 830 square feet to 1800 square feet.

Prices will start at $224,900 and top price will be $389,900, Sofer said. 

There will be a common area for residents, comprised of a fitness room, sauna, a TV room, a community kitchen and a rooftop terrace for barbecuing and planting.

"Because it is a redevelopment we don't have to wait until spring to start (constructing the units)," Sofer said.

"We can begin construction at the beginning of November, December or February because it's all indoor construction, so that can cut up to six months out of any time delay…again, the response we've had is nothing short of fantastic and I can anticipate we could do better than October 2015."  

"As we approach two-thirds of the units being sold we would then begin to go into the construction phase," Sofer said.

Sofer received a Planning Act exemption from Council Monday in regards to development of the site because the property fits in with municipal zoning bylaws and the building itself is structurally sound.

Council and staff are especially pleased that Sofer has agreed to donate property which will widen the Hub Trail near the site, along with property at the southeast corner of the site for public use.

Phase 1 of the redevelopment process involves only the original five-story component of the Plummer site.

Phase 2 will involve transformation of the former Plummer site's renal clinic into a combination of residential and food-oriented space (a restaurant and grocery store combination) for both residents and the general public to enjoy, Sofer said.

Sofer estimated Phase 2 would start "probably two or so years from now, once we've got Phase 1 complete and buttoned up and everybody is in there and impressed with what they see."

Sofer told council he is currently in discussions as to what to do with the former General Hospital site, "but there is nothing concrete at this point."

Sofer said hazardous substances such as lead and asbestos have been removed from the old Plummer site.

"There were no surprises…we've done it before in another hospital so we knew what to expect." 

Sofer was greeted with applause from council, and councillors Susan Myers and Terry Sheehan expressed their appreciation that Sofer has decided to develop the Ward Two property.

Sheehan said he took a tour of the old Plummer site interior and said the demolition work done was “phenomenal," commending Sofer's team with accomplishing a complete gutting of the building without the usual noise associated with demolition and construction.

Sofer told council he has done several other large-scale projects in relation to transforming old sites into new residential and commercial sites, with "as much experience as anyone in Ontario at this point."

One of those projects is the refurbishing of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in Peterborough into a 30-unit luxury residential facility.

"We've done this before and expect to exceed all expectations," Sofer said.

Sofer said he is "dedicated to heritage" and likes to specialize in refurbishing of old buildings instead of building new structures.

In regards to the old Plummer site, Sofer said "it would be impossible to duplicate a building of that strength…the integrity of the structure could never be replicated."

(PHOTO: view of the fifth floor of the Riverwalk Condominiums development, currently in demolition stage at the Plummer site April 29, 2014. SooToday.com/Kenneth Armstrong)

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Comments
47
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
eadiecougs 4/29/2014 12:20:56 AM Report

who the hell can afford these they should of turned them into seniors complex.The sault has a shortage of seniors appartments and with the aging soo residents thats what we need not pricey apartments.
Dead End Kid 4/29/2014 12:42:23 AM Report

"Hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos have been removed." That's enough of a "buzz killer" for me. No thanks.
Dead End Kid 4/29/2014 12:51:06 AM Report

The photo looks more like a psyche ward than a condo.
Dead End Kid 4/29/2014 12:53:53 AM Report

No one move there, the joint will probably be haunted!
Mr. Poster 4/29/2014 6:06:17 AM Report

I started rolling all my pennies as I work my way towards the down payment. I have no doubt it will be sold out. Despite what folks think there IS a lot of money in this little "town"(not really a city anymore).THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT CAN AFFORD IT.
What we need next is a developer willing to put up new apartments at decent prices and perhaps condos in the 125-150 thousand dollar range.
B Boy 4/29/2014 6:28:48 AM Report

People are buying homes here for the same prices. When you figure the ever increasing costs such as home maintenance, PUC, property taxes then these costs really aren't different from condo fees. The condo also has a sauna & fitness room which covers the monthly cost of a gym membership.
Typical Sault, always complaining.
James O'Brien 4/29/2014 7:04:04 AM Report

I think that the first three responders to this story were up past their bedtimes.
superior87 4/29/2014 7:06:45 AM Report

Wow, the comments to this story are dumb. No wonder businesses don't want to come to this city if that's representative of the hick thinking.
Berian 4/29/2014 7:25:22 AM Report

Is $65000 a misprint? The old hospital in Sudbury sold for 2 million, surely this didn't sell for $65 000.
Berian 4/29/2014 7:30:50 AM Report

Nevermind, I searched again and found the original story. Seems really low to me even for an "as is" condition. I am curious why some of you who have ideas on what should be done don't run for mayor or council position?
LAWL 4/29/2014 7:39:38 AM Report

Berian is te only commenter to see that the city sold the property for $65,000? That property was stolen. I would love to be in the loop.
tba 4/29/2014 7:44:43 AM Report

Yes.....it sold for $65,000.
Had it NOT......the following month would have seen the property re-assessed for property taxes. Since the facilities were owned by the SAH,they would have had to pay $1 MILLION dollars PER MONTH.Better to sell when they did,just to get out from under that kind of burden. The property was no longer exempt from municipal taxes,when it was no longer a hospital. That, Is my understanding, and it was necessary. Now, the property will yield real estate taxes as a residential development,complete with private funding to demolish certain areas,and grounds clean up!

Really sad to see posts from the ne'er do wells who have NO clue! Deadend kid.....is an apt name for ALL the jerks who decry new development?Why should anybody bother to construct anything,anywhere it's not appreciated.
Hats off to Amit Sofer.It is a gamble, but what are the alternatives.....if it was not residential.
Slim Shady 4/29/2014 7:48:30 AM Report

@B-Boy & @Mr. Poster

Correct points. He is aiming for a upscale clientele.

It is a great development proposal, it will keep the waterfront in tact and with the Hub trail extended through his property, it will allow the Citizens of the Soo to enjoy the waterfront and promote active, healthy living.

@Berian

The number of $65K is correct. It may seem low however it absolves the City from any environmental clean-up costs. Also keep in mind that this property goes from a Hospital site owned by the city which doesn’t pay taxes to a revenue generating property with high end, higher tax units. This revenue stream will last for a long time/forever. Smart move on the City’s part… The sale of the land is peanuts compared to this revenue stream.

@eadiecougs, @Wandering

These units are not designed towards the low income sector. Nobody wants units on the waterfront that attract people with four broken down cars in the driveway and a toilet for a flower planter! Does the Soo need low income housing? You bet. But the expensive of repurposing a building such as this is cost prohibitive for a low income development.



thumbs4208 4/29/2014 8:04:30 AM Report

This just proves how far the City has its head up its own.........
blackspruce 4/29/2014 8:16:26 AM Report

Good to see, looking for a place to retire in by the waterfront.
Wisenheimer 4/29/2014 8:16:38 AM Report

Wow .. the financial I.Q. of this blog is vestigial at best. Think .. no tax revenue to big tax revenue. Simple enough ?
Berian 4/29/2014 8:18:57 AM Report

Thanks for your replies. I think now that it is a smart move that the city moved the hospital from the waterfront. Especially that it doesn't collect taxes from it. Developing a condo on the waterfront is more revenue generating than condo's in the bush I think. All those shops downtown must be excited to have very well-off people living within walking distance. Not saying poor people aren't welcome (I am poor), but the point is well-off people spend more money than I would (theoretically anyway).
TFinn 4/29/2014 8:32:41 AM Report

I think it's a good plan and idea...however the property is very large, there should be more like this available same site ..which in turn could reduce costs and taxes somewhat? BTW 200+ to $500,000 is not really out of sight. However if there is no underground or covered parking …. then it's not for me..!
TFinn 4/29/2014 8:36:35 AM Report

I would also make damn sure to research this Toronto Company ...we have seen very poor results and dealings with out of town companies in the recent past. There would have to be guarantees in place first and foremost backed by the cities and legal teams.
right wing 4/29/2014 8:38:35 AM Report

tba & Slim Shady

Dittos.

right wing 4/29/2014 8:40:27 AM Report

TFinn

Really?
Read the article.
Demolition is well under way.
A web site is up.
The building was paid for.
A completion date set.
Paddlenut 4/29/2014 8:52:07 AM Report

If you visit their website (TVM Developments) you will see this is a very reputable company with a solid track record of successful projects in southern Ontario. This is an excellent example of re-purpose development, much like St. Mary's Paper. While I agree affordable housing is needed, there are not too many private developers out there looking to break even or lose money on providing it. This is the next best thing. And there is plenty of opportunity to provide additional housing opportunities on that site after these condos are developed. If those who would care to research prior to commenting, you will see that this developer also specializes in assisted living and other special needs housing.
TFinn 4/29/2014 8:52:39 AM Report

right wing 4/29/2014 8:40:27 AM

I did read it ....

I meant I personally would research them "if" I considered a purchase of a condo ..!!
Stevie-E 4/29/2014 8:52:49 AM Report

I have to shake my head at the naysayers complaining about this development. You guys need to leave town because your mentality is toxic to the growth of this community.

Why should lower income individuals have the ability to afford PRIME waterfront property. It's like going to the Keg with change in your pocket!

I believe tbc and Slim (and a few others) hit the nail on the head with their comments. Time to start cleaning up this town and if the lower income households (a large percentage leeching off TAXPAYER dollars I might add) are pushed outside the city, so be it.

Do you really think that price alone is the reason why people go to places like Petoskey and Traverse City? Not for me! Actually, the pricing isn't all that much different, when you factor in things like exchange rate, travel, food and accommodation costs. We go because...well, it's nice to visit a place where people give a damn about how things look; a clean city where you don't have to worry about crime, etc.

That could be us, but it takes one resident at a time to care and collectively, we can get to that level.

I don't enjoy seeing sh*thole properties around town. It looks bad for those visiting from out of town and local government should be pushing for continual improvement to the downtown and Great Northern Road areas.

The negativity will only be the black cloud over progress. My words to the leaders of this city...tell those to get on the bus or be run over by it!

Let's band together and build this city...maybe on Rock and Roll!!
TFinn 4/29/2014 9:06:28 AM Report

Stevie-E 4/29/2014 8:52:49 AM

Ooooops ...You stuttered ..lol

I agree 100% tho ... there are many from this city that do ....!!
Sam C 4/29/2014 9:53:39 AM Report

Wow! Something very positive is happening, and people are still upset!

The prices for these units is very much within the average range for this city. And, when tenants move in they will be leaving their current - likely smaller - homes and apartments to do so. THAT is how affordable housing comes to be, by people "moving up."

Btw... The lead and asbestos have been removed. When they say the building was "gutted", they meant down to nothing but the walls... And even interior walls were removed.

I was at the Doctor's Bldg last week, and you can clearly see how much demolition has taken place.
ThinkAgain 4/29/2014 9:55:12 AM Report

If that's what affordable housing is going to cost today so be it.
I think its just smoke & mirrors, for the developer to make a fast buck.
Sam C 4/29/2014 9:57:53 AM Report

@Slim... Well said!
Tag33&1/3rd 4/29/2014 10:03:03 AM Report

Don't forget condo fees and taxes! I might buy 2 or 3! NOT!
yomamaissofat 4/29/2014 10:26:48 AM Report

THE GOOD NEWS IS... Those that are being negative on this forum more than likely cannot afford these units!!! Makes it all that much more appealing!!!
TFinn 4/29/2014 10:51:56 AM Report

yomamaissofat

I believe you are correct....that's the norm..!!
eadiecougs 4/29/2014 11:33:13 AM Report

slim shady did I say low income I said seniors complex read and u shall find
Stan12 4/29/2014 11:44:08 AM Report

Did they remove ALL the asbestos and ALL the hazardous material, what about latent bacteria and viruses...the place is still standing so evidently not! The thought of living in a place where so many people died, including many friends and family members does not turn me on!
riverman 4/29/2014 12:07:45 PM Report

Citizens of Sault Ste. Marie should stop hoping for a private developer to construct and maintain a geared-to-income apartment complex. Why would a developer take that direction? Put yourself in a private developer's position. You have the choice of investing millions of dollars on the construction of a multi-unit residential building to either a) sell the units off as condos and make a profit right out of the gate or b) rent the units out to low income earners who require housing subsidies to afford them. Which direction would you take? Geared-to-income housing is a necessity. So who builds and develops these complexes elsewhere? Municipalities themselves. Municipally owned and operated housing units for the city's low income families is what people should be clamoring for.
Slim Shady 4/29/2014 12:10:29 PM Report

@eadiecougs

Why should Seniors get subsidized housing on prime waterfront realestate? In my opinion it would be a waste. If a Senior wants to live by the waterfront, he or she can pay for the true value of it - just like the rest of us.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a need for subsidized housing in this city. People shouldn't feel entitled to live in a Taj Mahal because they can't make ends meet. The rest of us work our entire lives to try and afford the homes we live in.... Nothing was given to us.
eadiecougs 4/29/2014 12:28:56 PM Report

Slim shady u will be a senior one day or you already are I hope they screw u too buddy.There is a shortage of seniors housing in this city it would be nice to have it on the waterfront but5 of course it has to do with making a profit and greed ,forget the seniors eh after they worked their butts off for this country.
Slim Shady 4/29/2014 1:09:50 PM Report

@eadiecougs

I am not trying to be disrespectful. No I am not a Senior, but I helped take care of my parents in their retirement - not the taxpayer. I am not counting on any government help in my retirement either. If you worked your entire life, you need to save for your retirement by living within your means.

I agree with you... It's nice to live by the waterfront.... I'd like to live there now but I am too busy raising a family and saving for my retirement. In the end a home is a safe, warm, dry roof over your head that you can afford - not scenery.

You only will get out of Life what you put into it. If you want something bad enough you will work and make the necessary sacrifices to make it a reality.
Dead End Kid 4/29/2014 1:12:08 PM Report

Yomama you're wrong. The good thing is that I can afford the condo with plenty to spare. There is nothing wrong with living in a condo, I was attempting to be funny with my comments but I failed. Lighten up all you good people.
eadiecougs 4/29/2014 1:55:00 PM Report

Agreed slim I wish u the best Sir.
Sam C 4/29/2014 2:40:32 PM Report

@Stan... I didn't go inside, but from what I could see from the outside, the interior was stripped down to the back of the outer walls. I think this contractor knows what they are doing (they have done this before, with old hospitals), so I suspect they have removed ALL the lead and asbestos.

I would be surprised if any "latent bacteria" were to be found.
Sam C 4/29/2014 2:42:04 PM Report

...and indeed, the pictures show an interior that is completely gutted.
Battler213 4/29/2014 3:12:02 PM Report

eadiecougs

Slim shady u will be a senior one day or you already are I hope they screw u too buddy.There is a shortage of seniors housing in this city it would be nice to have it on the waterfront but5 of course it has to do with making a profit and greed ,forget the seniors eh after they worked their butts off for this country.

You're contradicting yourself, somewhat. Profit and greed? People work their butts for profit and to live and/or live comfortably. I, for one, want to earn and make as much money as I can. Am I greedy? Or am I wanting as much as I can so I don't need 'affordable' housing when I retire? Am I greedy? No, I want to be covered and protected when I'm no longer working.

Which brings me to my next question. For those who don't work hard, and don't save and make sacrifices; such as I have, do they deserve to get the exact same as I, who planned and saved? I don't think so. Crap happens. Crap has happened to be, but I make sacrifices so i'm longer in that position. There are programs and plenty of min jobs kicking around for everyone to make a good re-start on a successful life.
LAWL 4/29/2014 3:18:57 PM Report

You people are all arguing over the wrong topic. Question is who signed the papers allowing a company to steal that land for $65,000. They wanted 4.9 million for the property. It is exactly the same if I walked into a car dealership and they were selling a car for $10,000 and I offered $65.00. The scrap value of the car is still $1000.00. This smells like sh!t and someone is getting paid.
LAWL 4/29/2014 3:21:58 PM Report

@TBA

Your are so pathetic. Give your head a shake. Who cares if the property would have been re-assessed. It is an asset! Prime land is never a cost. It is an investment. It would have never cost them a million dollars a year. Gawd, some people are just plain stupid.
Stevie-E 4/29/2014 3:31:19 PM Report

LAWL 4/29/2014 3:18:57 PM Report

You must be one of the stupid ones.

SAH is not in the business of real estate. The reason why it was sold so low was that there is a substantial cost for cleaning up the property...I would say to a tune of 4-5 million all said and done. It would have sat there, rotting, instead a company comes in and injects $10-$15 million into it.

Net result:
1. Local jobs created for construction
2. Hospital can focus on being a hospital
3. Aging population can get into something nice while getting out of a much larger, higher-maintenance home.
4. Less strain on local housing that is worth buying, so those just starting out have more options in the $150k-$200k range
5. A project to shut the arseholes up who wish they could have done what TVM done.

Adios! Thanks TVM for investing in the community!
Battler213 4/29/2014 4:05:17 PM Report

LAWL: Your car dealership analogy is like someone who posted something stupid. Wait, it is someone posting something stupid. (disclaimer: I'm not calling you stupid, just your post).

Clean up and demolition of the property would exceed $5,000,000 if the property had not been sold. It would have been the city's responsibility to uphold and maintain.

In this case, do not look at $65k as a loss of profit - look at it as the city not paying millions of tax payers money. Also, the revenue from taxes going forward is a gain.
Tom_Bom 6/8/2014 11:44:22 PM Report

It will probably be for people with super high paying jobs, like doctors and lawyers and stuff.
Comments
47
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