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Plans for boutique hotel go up in smoke — for now

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A week after announcing plans to turn a 115-year-old building into a 23-room boutique hotel, Graeme Thompson was awakened to news his building on the corner of Parent Avenue and Wyandotte Street was on fire.

“It's really hard to put into words,” the local developer said.

According to Thompson, renovations were underway.

“It's a project I was really excited about and something I think a lot of Windsorites were excited about as well,” Thompson said.

The blaze started at approximately 4 a.m. with fire crews taking a defensive stance early on.

“Crews had heavy smoke showing and we could not make entry because of the heavy fire and smoke conditions at the time,” explained John Smith, acting fire prevention officer.

Despite efforts however, fire crews couldn’t save the building, as the roof collapsed and the floors gave way.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined and the Ontario Fire Marshal has been notified.

Damage is listed upwards of $2 million.

“I would say this is a total loss,” Smith said. “To restructure this or to rebuild this the way it is I don't think it's going to be possible.”

That brought tears to the eyes of Barbara Vigneux, who was one of many who watched the fire take down a Windsor landmark.

“It was just a great place to be,” Vigneux said. “I was looking forward to it being redone.”

Vigneux grew up in the neighbourhood and has personal connections to the building. Her grandfather lived on the second floor, while her mom worked in the bar and she had her baby shower in the building.

“People are going to say that I'm crying over nothing,” she said. “It's a building but it's not.”

Daniel Habib redeveloped a property two doors down, and hopes Thompson can get his development back on track soon.

“It's a nice neighbourhood overall and it's moving in a positive direction,” he said. “Let's hope we keep that momentum.”

“There'll be a number of new hurdles for us here but nothing we can't overcome I hope,” Thompson added. 

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV News Windsor)

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Rob Hindi/AM800 News)

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Dan MacDonald/AM800 News)

 

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Rob Hindi/AM800 News)

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Dan MacDonald/AM800 News)

Windsor fire crews battle a blaze in the area of Wyandotte Street and Parent Avenue on May 24, 2024. (Dan MacDonald/AM800 News)

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