Proposed project would turn derelict Walkerville building into apartment complex
WINDSOR, ONT. -- New life could be coming to an old neighbourhood in Windsor’s Walkerville.
The wheels are in motion to revive the shell of a burnt out building on Argyle Road left in shambles after a 2018 fire into an 81-unit apartment complex.
“This is exactly the kind of growth that we want to see in the community,” said city councillor Rino Bortolin.
On Monday, the city’s Development and Heritage Standing Committee approved a three-year tax break for the property under its brownfield tax assistance and rehab grant program, saving the Market Square owners who purchased the property, upwards of $426,000.
“This is a brownfield site that was contaminated so it needed to be cleaned up, it has heritage value and so they’re preserving the heritage value in the building,” said city counc. Rino Bortolin.
Bortolin called the project a win-win-win-win situation, not just for Walkerville, but the city as a whole.
“This is really indicative of where the market is and how our incentives have really jumpstarted that,” he said.
Bortolin said as the community grows, it’s important to ensure there’s housing options across the community.
Roger Wurdemann, owner of Juniper Books on Ottawa Street, knows first-hand the demand for housing in the neighbourhood having recently bought a home nearby.
“We had a heck of a time I mean I wanted a house in the area because of the area because of the bookstore here in Walkerville and we had a heck of a time finding a place,” he said.
Wurdemann believes Walkerville’s Ottawa Street is comparable to Wyandotte Street, but less gentrified and more affordable.
“I think that there’s merit to this being a hidden gem because the prices are a little lower for rent, it’s more affordable,” he said.
Wurdemann hopes affordability remains a theme for the proposed apartments.
“From a small business perspective it’s great news and it comes at a time when we can really use some great news,” he said.
Bortolin said the grant still needs approval from city council, and likes that the proposal, like several others creates a new tax base without having to create new infrastructure.
“These units that are going up on argyle we’re not building any roads we’re not building any sewers we’re not doing anything here and so even whatever grants they’re getting, once those grants lapse, you’re going to have dozens if not hundreds of units now paying taxes online,” he said.
Officials hope the $21 million project will be complete by spring 2022.