By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
With a new owner and a new hope for completion of the ailing Genosha Hotel, the City of Oshawa is waiting for the final details in order to extend it’s incentive package, worth over $1 million, to the latest development.
Recently, it was announced that Richard Summers who previously attempted a renovation project on the hotel in 2009, is back with a new partner in TT7 Inc. and together the pair are looking to convert the historic hotel into 102 “luxury micro style apartments” according to an initial press release in August.
Then, in a special meeting, Oshawa council approved a motion to recommend the Region of Durham for incentives under the Regional Revitalization program to the new project. The previous regional incentives had expired under the previous owner.
However, according to Paul Ralph, the city’s commissioner of development services, council has not yet turned their minds to the city’s incentives. This package, approved by council for the previous redevelopment attempt, expires at the end of September if certain criteria are not met. Ralph says he needs further clarification before making any decisions.
“This is what I need clarification from Mr Summers, I need to know what the nature of the project is today,” Ralph says.
The city’s current incentive package includes nearly $700,000 in tax breaks over the next 10 years and a $750,000 facade improvement grant.
“They’re in place until the end of September and I’m waiting for more detailed stuff from Mr. Summers on what the nature of the project (is),” Ralph says, noting that if any changes to the project alter the conditions that council imposed with their incentives then the decision would have to return to committee and council.
For Councillor John Aker, the chair of the development services committee, he’s determined that won’t happen.
“Council has delegated any future extensions to the commissioner of development services and he will be, of course, extending it,” Aker says. “I believe reconstruction will be underway in September.”
According to Summers, he says he is working diligently with his staff and with city officials to finalize all the details needed to get the project moving forward. He notes that a meeting with the city is set for sometime in mid-September.
“Bottom line, this project has been sitting empty and derelict for almost two decades so the city, us, hopefully the citizens, everyone knows it needs any available incentives or programs that the region or city has to ensure its success and completion,” he says.
Currently, Summers is working with his architects to revise the drawings of the building and determine the final number of units they have planned for the redevelopments. An elevator contractor has already been retained to install the new lifts in the building and Summers has also worked to bring in other local tradespeople to help with the project.
In the meantime, Summers says they are working to get the building cleaned and ready for when the permits are issued.
“It’s the same as any project, until you have your approved drawings submitted and approved you can only do so much, so we’re doing all that,” he says. “As much that can be done, we’re doing it.”