Plans for development of Riverwalk Condominiums Phase 2 have been put on hold indefinitely.
“It’s primarily the economy,” said Toronto-based developer Amit Sofer, speaking to SooToday Wednesday.
Sofer's TVM Group bought Sault Area Hospital’s surplus waterfront property in 2013 for $65,000, much lower than SAH's original asking price of $4.9 million.
That purchase included the old SAH Plummer site, the Plummer site’s old renal unit and the former SAH General site, with land for parking and further development facing the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront.
“We haven’t been as successful as we hoped to be with respect to our sales (for Phase 2), they’ve been softer than we thought, and we don’t want to continue to not be clear with our delivery dates…we’ve decided to set it aside for a bit,” Sofer said.
TVM had hoped to build 59 condo units at Phase 2.
Sofer said 25 buyers had put down deposits for Phase 2 units.
All deposit funds have been returned to those buyers, Sofer said.
Sofer told SooToday in October 2016, marketing for Riverwalk Condominiums Phase 2 units was low key as TVM struggled with various challenges to open Phase 1.
Riverwalk Condos Phase 1, situated on the former SAH Plummer site, is now open (after many renovation and construction delays), with 37 of its 40 units now occupied.
Sofer said TVM is retaining ownership of the former SAH General site.
“We’re not running away.”
“Phase 1 took a lot longer than I thought so that added to my decision to defer Phase 2. We’re going to take a little bit of time and regroup and wait for the right time and market conditions and come back with Phase 2, and follow that with phases three, four and five (which would include redevelopment of the old SAH General site and land south of Phase 1, close to the waterfront).”
“We still own a lot of land there…we’re not leaving,” Sofer said, adding TVM is entertaining different ideas regarding redevelopment of the remaining Riverwalk property.
Riverwalk’s sales office at 756 Queen Street East “will be closing shortly,” Sofer said.
Anyone interested in purchasing one of the three remaining Phase 1 units for sale may contact Regent Management Services at 705-949-4085, Sofer said, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s genuinely been a pleasure to do business up there (in Sault Ste. Marie)…there have been some difficult times and some easier times,” Sofer said.
“In the long run, we are vested at that site and I know the knee-jerk reaction is ‘oh yeah, they’re taking off,’ but we’re the first outside developer in a very long time to actually finish something in Sault Ste. Marie and we will continue to be that developer. Anything I start will get finished no matter what,” Sofer stated.
City leaders, including Ward 2 city councillor Susan Myers, expressed enthusiasm when Sofer first announced his plans to develop the former SAH property.
“It is my hope that this private sector developer will bring forward a project that will enhance our community at some point in the future as he deems appropriate,” stated Myers in an email reply to SooToday Wednesday.