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Wrecking ball considered for Ontario Works building

Albert St. landmark will either be demolished or receive a large addition

David Ellis Architect Inc. has won a design contract that, one way or the other, is expected to significantly change the Brock Street/ Albert Street neighbourhood downtown.

District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSMSSAB) is working toward consolidating its three current offices  at 390 Bay Street, 540 Albert East and 180 Brock  into one building at or near the three-storey Ontario Works building at 540 Albert.

Ellis's first task, to be completed in less than a month, is a cost analysis to determine whether an additional 19,000 square feet should be added to the existing Ontario Works structure, or if the building should be instead be demolished and a new tower with up to 35,000 square feet erected around the corner on the site of the former Barton & Kiteley funeral chapel at 165 Brock.

As SooToday reported last year, DSSMSSAB bought the Barton and Kiteley property for $155,000 for use as a parking lot.

A contract, which also includes preparation of drawings and specifications needed to tender and complete the project, was awarded to Ellis at a meeting Thursday of Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corp.

Ellis will be paid five per cent of the total project cost.

Unsuccessful bidders were TAL.VT Architect Inc. (7.74 per cent) and IDEA - Integrated Design Engineering and Architecture (6.25 per cent).

Preliminary construction documents will be due Nov. 30, finalized plans by Jan. 29, 2021.

In other news, the housing corporation awarded further contracts for:

  • furnace cleaning - to Henderson Metal
  • furnace replacement - to S&T Electrical Contractors
  • rotational furnace cleaning - to Henderson Metal and S&T Electrical Contractors

A contract for carpentry services was awarded to the third- and fourth-lowest bidders, My Home Renovations (a division of Terrance Group Inc.) and Paul Davis of Sault Ste. Marie.

Capco Construction submitted what was easily the lowest bid  $14 an hour less than the two successful bidders  but was rejected because the company is owned by an immediate family member of a Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corp. employee.

"As one of the responsibilities of the property manager is to issue and approve work to rotational contractors ensuring the monetary value of work is evenly distributed, it is in the best interests of the corporation not to proceed with the low bid submitted by Capco Construction," said Jeff Barban, director of housing services.

The second-lowest bidder, First General, was rejected because Paul Davis and My Home Renovations ranked higher on scoring documents.