Ohio-based company 'fiercely focussed' on development of former Grace Hospital site
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor city council has chosen an Ohio-based company to develop the former Grace Hospital site.
Fairmount Properties has been selected to develop six acres at the corner of Univerity Ave and Crawford Ave.
“The property along University Avenue was the site of a former iconic hospital, which served the community for almost a century and while that building closed to the public in 2004, it was demolished in 2013, its memory remains imprinted on many Windsorites,” says Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.
In those nine years, the old hospital was derelict and one of the worst cases of urban blight until the city bought the property and demolished the buildings.
Dilkens says council unanimously approved Fairmount’s proposal because it fits their vision for revitalization in that neighbourhood.
“Our goal is to actually transfer the property, and sell the property to fair mount, so council selected fair mount as the proponent to work with,” says Dilkens.
However the mayor won’t divulge what the selling price is, saying its part of negotiation phase of the project.
Randy Ruttenberg, CEO of Fairmount Properties, says they are fiercely focused on making sure their development becomes reality.
“We’ve looked at this very carefully and decided to pursue it at the exclusion of many other opportunities, so we’re fiercely focused on executing this vision,” says Ruttenberg.
This is the Ohio-based company’s first project in Windsor but they will be using local companies, Architecttura and Oscar Construction to design and build the mixed-use development.
Scott DeGraw, Canadian partner for Fairmount Properties admits the site has a controversial past.
“This is a community that has been let down on a couple of things with respect to health care and things like that.”
When their contracts are signed, Ruttenberg expects to have spent two months on community consultations, followed by four months for design work and hopes to have a shovel in the ground within the year.
“We don’t start many things, and get to the point of being selected where we don’t actually execute,” he says.
The current plans, which could change, include housing, commercial, retail and open spaces.
Dan Amicone, with Architecttura says they will “respect” the residential neighbourhood as they design the final plans.
“There’s also going to be a health care component on the site, there’s currently ongoing discussions with a community-led primary health care provider.”
Ruttenberg says they will now organize community consultations.
“We are never so bold to know what’s exactly right for any particular community, we listen more than we speak, we ask questions, we will embrace some ideas, however we will not be bashful about challenging others,” he says.