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Developer sets sights on OPUC building

In a letter to the city, Loback Structures has expressed its interest in purchasing the downtown headquarters of the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC), with plans to turn it into housing. The city has a lease agreement with OPUC for the property until 2017, with a commitment to extend that until 2019.

In a letter to the city, Loback Structures has expressed its interest in purchasing the downtown headquarters of the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC), with plans to turn it into housing. The city has a lease agreement with OPUC for the property until 2017, with a commitment to extend that until 2019. (Photo by Graeme McNaughton)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

One of downtown’s historic assets has drawn the attention of a local developer.

In a letter to council dated March 11, Donna Loback of Loback Structures expressed an interest on behalf of the company in acquiring the site of the Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC) and converting the site, constructed in 1931, into housing.

“This location is an excellent site for residential development with a restaurant and cafe on the ground floor overlooking Memorial Park. We believe this project would support positive economic growth for the downtown core of Oshawa,” the letter reads.

Requests for comment on this story were sent by The Oshawa Express to Loback Structures, but were not returned as of press time.

The letter further states Loback would like to obtain a copy of the lease agreement between the city and OPUC and possibly tour the building at 100 Simcoe St. S.

“This information would assist us in gaining a greater understanding of the feasibility of this project and developing site plans,” the letter states.

According to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, any talks regarding the site are very premature at this point and the letter was merely developers “exploring” at this point.

Currently, the city has a lease agreement with the OPUC until 2017, with a further commitment to extend it until 2019.

However, that doesn’t mean the city is not open to developing portions of the property in the future, which has been zoned for central business district and better uses.

“I think we can all agree that there is a higher and better use for at least the industrial portion of their property,” Ralph says of the back portion of the property that is used for OPUC vehicles and equipment.

At that point in time, the site would go through the city’s proper procedure for land being declared surplus and would be open to the anyone interested in purchasing it.

“We wouldn’t just deal with one potential purchaser,” Ralph says.