Developer ready to relaunch Admiral 0
COLLINGWOOD -- Plans to build a residential and commercial project at the gateway to Collingwood's downtown could be in front of the municipality next month.
Steve Assaff says he would like to start the site development process by midFebruary on Admiral Collingwood Place, with units going on sale as soon as May.
On Monday night, council started the process of clearing the deck for the development, directing planning staff to prepare a report looking at dissolving the existing approvals for the project, which would allow the developers to come back with a new plan.
The property at the corner of Hume and Hurontario has languished for the last three years as a water-filled hole; the previous council rescinded the town's approval of the Heritage Impact Assessment for the project in January, 2007, and in spite of negotiations to get the project underway in a different form than originally proposed, the land has remained vacant.
The original proposal called for six stories; a negotiated settlement at the Ontario Municipal Board in the summer of 2007 resulted in final approval for five stories.
Mayor Sandra Cooper, during last fall's municipal election, made a commitment to get developers Steve Assaff and Scott Strandholt back to the table. She told the Enterprise-Bulletin last month she had met with Assaff, and the intention was to possibly see a new plan by the end of this month.
Those meetings were "very positive," she told the newspaper, noting the developers have some new ideas based on the marketing of the previous project, and what appeared to sell, "instead of what we think (the customers) would like."
"We told them what we need to get going," Assaff told the Enteprise-Bulletin. "Right now, we have no sales and no (commercial) tenants on the ground floor, and we need help if we're going to successfully relaunch."
In 2006, when Assaff presented the project to the town, he had leasing commitments from a national drug store chain and a bank; a majority of the units were also sold prior to town council's decision to pull the approval for the HIA.
He says the commercial tenants are no longer on board, and he also needs to relaunch the sales of the residential units.
"We're essentially starting from scratch," he said.
Assaff said he was unsure what the final look of a building would be, or whether it would be three stories, or as high as the originally-proposed six; he expressed a preference for the six-storey proposal approved by the council of 2003- 2006.
The town currently holds about $750,000 in securities on the project, including $660,000 the developers paid the town, under Section 37 of the Planning Act, in order to lift height restrictions and allow a building taller than three stories in the downtown.
The town is also holding an $800,000 letter of credit from Assaff.
He hopes that money -- especially the Section 37 payment -- can be refunded; Assaff wants to invest that into the development of a project sales office in the Royal Bank plaza -- which he also owns -- across the street as soon as possible.
That sales office could also include a model suite.
"The worst thing we can do is come to an agreement in the spring, and then sit there for two or three years waiting for sales," he said.
Assaff said the tone of the meeting with the mayor and senior municipal staff was "unbelievable
During the council meeting, Councillor Ian Chadwick asked whether that money would be refunded to the developer; the town's Chief Administrative Officer Kim Wingrove indicated there were "a number of issues at play," including the issue of the Section 37 payment.