By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Pending final approval from council, the developer and owner of the former Genosha Hotel are ready to get back to work.
A new proposed ownership agreement presented by Richard Senechal, the current owner of the hotel and Tracey Christie, the president of Bowood Properties, the company responsible for the restoration, passed through the Development Services committee following a brief closed door discussion.
And while the new agreement doesn’t match the city’s original stipulations for the $1.4 million in development incentives to the letter, it does technically meet the requirements.
At issue was the ownership of the hotel, something Bowood was meant to obtain from Senechal by the end of 2015. When that didn’t happen, the city extended the agreement multiple times in 2016 as the two parties wrangled over the final cost of the hotel after Senechal and his company fronted the initial $1 million of work that went into the building last summer. Work has been halted for most of 2016.
The new agreement, while not a complete purchase and ownership of the property by Bowood, sees Bowood purchasing shares in Senechal’s numbered company that owns the historic site and thereby technically obtaining a form of ownership.
Following the meeting, both Christie and Senechal denied requests for comment, simply saying they are dedicated to moving forward with the project together.
“The only thing that we are certain of is that…we want to move forward together and we’re partners in this,” Senechal said.
And while it is not stated in the public agreement the amount of shares purchased by Bowood in the company, sources close to the situation tell The Oshawa Express the contractor purhcased 15 per cent of the numbered company.
The new proposal also eliminates Bowood’s name from the agreement, simply replacing it with “the owner,” and extendeds the final completion date from March 2017 to August to accommodate for delays this year.
“The most important thing is that the project is completed,” says Councillor John Aker, the chair of development services. “If it’s completed within six months or a year, that’s important, but less important. We want the project completed.”
With the wording of the new agreement changed, it would appear to leave several doors open for changes in the project moving forward with nothing binding Bowood to the project. Yet, Aker says he is confident the motion put forward by committee, which will go to council on May 24, and the partnership between the owners will go forward.
“The wording in our motion best protects the City of Oshawa,” Aker says. “We have to respect their good faith in the project.”
It was not shared when work would resume on the former hotel, although the project currently does not hold a building permit and regional council still needs to approve its portion of the incentives provided under its Regional Revitalization Program.