A pair of city grants worth more than $1.5 million could soon be dished out to two businesses investing in the city.

The first is for a downtown location many will be familiar with. The former Fish Market and Loop complex on Chatham Street is under new ownership and work is underway to refurbish the ground floor for possible commercial and residential use.

“We’re stripping it out, bringing it back to the bare walls, called vanilla box," said Dino Maggio with St. Clair Rhodes Development Corp.

The upper floor is also being renovated and will house nine to 11 high-end loft apartments.

“The top floor, I don’t think that we’re going to have a problem leasing out the lofts, we’re doing something of a special nature,” Maggio said.

Maggio remained tight-lipped about what sort of tenant may move into the commercial space on the main floor.

"Of course now we’re going to go out, we’re speaking to several tenants as of right now. No commitments,” Maggio said. “There’s several things that are in the works, and we do have a lot of interest in that main floor.”

The developer was before the city's planning committee Monday night looking for a grant under the downtown Windsor enhancement strategy.

If approved by council -- the applicant, St. Clair Rhodes Development Corp, could receive a $365,000 tax grant-- and $95,000 grant for facade improvements and other interior work.

“We started this project on the pretense that we were going to get a tax abatement and that’s what triggered it,” said Maggio.

Maggio hopes to complete the project in 2018.

"That's why they're giving us this incentive. We're hoping to be the catalyst, first guy on the block to come up with a great building and hopefully people will follow."

City grant money cited as key factor

At the same time, council will also consider an application for a new development at a brownfield site off Central Avenue near EC Row.

The planning committee tonight recommended a $1.26-million tax grant under the economic revitalization community improvement plan.

If approved by council, the grant will help bring G. Bareich Import Export Inc. from Amherstburg to Windsor.

The manufacturer currently employs 14 people and produces water-based coatings for the automotive industry. GBIE hopes to add another seven jobs on site with the investment.

The manufacturer plans to build a 60,000 square foot facility on 5.7 acres of land at the Grand Central Business Park.

Their clients include the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes – and the local business needs to grow its footprint to expand into new markets and hire more staff.

Business owner David Bareich says the move to Windsor will make the business more efficient – and notes the tax grant helps a great deal.

"The CIP grant helps us tremendously; there are definitely a lot of costs involving with coming to the city,” Bareich said. “The CIP grant, in the end is a good persuader."

Bareich also believes a move to Windsor will solve some logistics issues and make travel easier for employees.