The concept drawing for the former Grace Hospital site, courtesy of Fairview Properties.The concept drawing for the former Grace Hospital site, courtesy of Fairview Properties.

City announces new project for former Grace Hospital site

When Windsor City Council viewed the proposal, Mayor Drew Dilkens said it was unanimous. Council wanted onboard.

Dilkens announced a significant new project for the former Grace Hospital site on University Avenue West Thursday morning in a zoom meeting with members of the media.

grace hospital, demolition, windsor, essex county file photo of Grace Hospital site Feb. 15 2013.

Grace Hospital closed in 2004 and was demolished nine years later. Since then, plans have come and gone for the site.

This time, Dilkens thinks Fairmount Properties out of Shaker Heights, Ohio, has a winner.

"We all looked at this and said, this is exactly the type of partner and partners that we'd like to work with, and we see the vision here really helping to spur other development in the area," said Dilkens.

He anticipates new development downtown, along University Avenue, and on the riverfront due to this project.

It would include multiple storey buildings, including residential units, retail, restaurants, and green space.

Beyond that, it will be up to the community.

Randy Ruttenberg of Fairmount Properties told the meeting his company believes public consultation is essential for any major project planning.

It will be up to market forces and the surrounding community to decide what amenities they want to see. Public consultation will dictate how many units are designated for affordable housing and how many will be purchased or rented. Ruttenberg envisions a multi-cultural and multi-generational community that attracts students, seniors, and families.

The city is in negotiations with Fairmount Properties for the purchase of the land. That figure has not yet been made public. The cost of the project itself will depend on the final design.

Ruttenberg believes public consultation will take up to two months. The design phase could take another four to six months. He would like to have shovels in the ground as soon as possible and does not anticipate delays because of the pandemic.

"It will take 18-months to two-years. And, we're looking to build something in a single phase," he explained. "It will be built in a way that is accommodating to the surrounding the neighbourhood, and is staged in a way that will have the least amount of disruption."

Architecttura will design the development, and Oscar Construction will build it.

Oscar Construction's latest large project was the new Windsor City Hall.

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