By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The intricate nature of repairing and remodelling an aging heritage building are proving extensive for the developers of the Genosha Hotel who are still working through the planning stages to obtain a building permit to really take the project to the next level.
“It’s in their court right now,” says Paul Ralph, Oshawa’s commissioner of development services. Ralph adds that the city and developer Richard Summers have been going back and forth in relation to the revised drawings for the building’s redevelopment, which will eventually lead them to getting a building permit to move forward with the more serious work.
“It’s typical in that it’s an existing building,” Ralph says. “We wanted to make sure we do it right from an accessibility perspective so, it’s typical when you’re dealing with older structures.”
In particular, Ralph pointed to the updated Ontario Building Code and the challenges involved in bringing particular aspects of the older building, such as elevator shafts, up to current regulations.
It was in August of last year when Summers, who previously attempted a renovation project on the hotel in 2009, returned with a new partner in TT7 Inc. and together the pair are looking to convert the historic hotel into 86 luxury apartments.
The project has also received strong monetary support from the city in the form of development grants, which are set to be paid out upon the project’s completion. These include a façade improvement loan of $750,000 to be paid out in annual payments of $75,000 over the next 10 years, the money for which will be coming from the city’s Civic Property Development Reserve and funded through $75,000 in annual budget contributions. The remaining incentive comes in the form of an increased assessment grant to be divvied out over the next 14 years, which allows the city to waive all or some of a building’s property taxes for any given year.
In December, Durham regional council approved $564,000 in funding assistance for the project.
Occupancy is tentatively slated for December of 2018.