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New downtown apartment building gets $25M loan from federal government

Six-storey building on the former grounds of Tara Hall will contain 108 rental units when completed next year

A new 108-unit apartment building in downtown Sault Ste. Marie is the recipient of a $25-million, fully repayable low-interest loan that’s being provided through the federal government’s Apartment Construction Loan Program as part of its National Housing Strategy. 

Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan, who was on hand at the construction site Friday to make the announcement, said rental units are an important part of a “healthy, strong and inclusive community.”

“Today’s announcement is more than just bricks and mortar,” said Sheehan. “It’s about creating a stronger economy, it’s about helping our communities become stronger, and it’s about ensuring more people have a place to call home.” 

Phil Perzia — who spoke on behalf of his father, Toronto-based developer and property owner Steve Perzia — called the forthcoming six-storey building a “phoenix rising from the ashes” of Tara Hall, an apartment building that was situated at the very same location until it was decimated by fire in 1987

Perzia said his father expanded his design building consulting company to the Sault in the 1970s, building more than 1,000 rental units locally, primarily in the city’s downtown area. “My father’s vision was always to honour Tara Hall with a new apartment building worthy of its legacy,” he said. “This means so much to my father and to our family.” 

The new apartment building will house a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and studio units, with a number of them planned to be designated as affordable rental units. It will also include energy-efficient design and construction, with high levels of insulation, triple-glazed windows and heat recovery ventilation, with chargers for electric vehicles provided in dedicated parking spaces.  

Sault Mayor Matthew Shoemaker acknowledged the need to develop more projects like 110 Pim Street given the latest figures from Statistics Canada, which show a 5.2 per cent growth in the city’s population over the past three years — the highest recorded population the Sault has seen since 1996. 

“If we want the Sault to continue to grow and flourish, we’re going to need to continue to have people make the choice to move here. To unlock our full economic potential we need a renewed labour force, we need the job opportunities that exist now and that will continue to exist in the future,” the mayor said during Friday’s announcement. “But if we’re going to capitalize on that opportunity, we need developments like this for people to move into.”

Shoemaker said the ongoing construction project on the former grounds of Tara Hall is “exactly what’s going to help our downtown.” 

“We talk about the downtown security patrols, we talk about the need for a downtown police presence — but the greatest deterrent to the type of things that make people feel unsafe in the downtown is having more people down here,” the mayor said. “When you bring lots of people downtown, it creates a vibrant city and a feeling of security that simply foot patrols and police presence cannot ever do, no matter how much they increased.”

Construction of the apartment complex is anticipated to be completed by the spring of 2025.

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James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday in Sault Ste. Marie
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